Wednesday, 7 January 2015

The Strings of Murder de Oscar de Muriel

Penguin UK - Michael Joseph (12 février 2015)
Paperback, 407 pages

I thought the cover was really great, wasn't it? Yep, one again, the cover got me! And the Ripper case. And the victorian era. And Scotland! With all that, the book could only be great, right? 

What's the blurb?

Jonathan Strange meets Jonathan Creek in this blistering crime debut set in Victorian Edinburgh.

Edinburgh, 1888. A virtuoso violinist is brutally killed in his home. But with no way in or out of the locked practice room, the murder makes no sense.

Fearing a national panic over a copycat Ripper, Scotland Yard sends Inspector Ian Frey to investigate under the cover of a fake department specializing in the occult. However, Frey's new boss, Detective 'Nine-Nails' McGray, actually believes in such nonsense.

McGray's tragic past has driven him to superstition, but even Frey must admit that this case seems beyond reason. And once someone loses all reason, who knows what they will lose next...

What's good about it?

It's not always the case, but in this book, the characters are not what interested me most. It's the plot, which is well done. The dead comes one after another without logical reason, to a well-designed end and an explanation that is not only plausible, but well explained. This is the big advantage of this book because I have to say I was a little scared at the start of a book with a lousy supernatural explanation (as it was question of a closed room and a Department of mysterious case).

The characters, meanwhile, are well characterized. They each have their own life and differ much from each other. Unfortunately, I disliked the main character, Ian Frey, who happens to be a man imbued of his person, racist against the Scots and cultivating his sense of superiority. Honestly, I rarely dislike a central character that much... In general, the author manages to make us like his hero! The book is told in the first person, so we are entitled to all Frey's personal reflections, as well as those he launches at other. As he describes McGray and the others, it is hard to find them endearing. McGray is painted like a caricature of Scots, which is a shame. In the end, it seems that only Frey is worth something (which surely reflects his feelings), but he's so unpleasant that I didn't like him.

If we put aside the fact that Frey portrayes Edinburgh as a horrible place, smelly and dirty, I still enjoyed being there. The descriptions are well made and we feel the cold and wet of the Scottish winter. So it is a good point for the author who knows how to make us feel his characters feelings.

In a nutshell

A good and well done story marred by a very unpleasant main character, but with well made descriptions, it's a 3.5 / 5 for me.

Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to me by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.

No comments:

Post a Comment