Oscar Wilde and the Ring of Death

Written by Gyles Brandreth
Review by Marina Oliver

This is the second in a series featuring Oscar Wilde as detective. The plot starts as a game at a dinner party where each guest selects someone they would like to murder, then it becomes serious as the victims die, possibly naturally, probably not. Narrated by his friend Robert Sherard, the novel combines copious detail of London life in the 1890s with an intriguing mix of fact and fiction, based on several famous characters including Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker.

One problem for an author using real characters in a murder plot is that readers will know their history, which limits the potential number of culprits, as well as victims, but perhaps this is less important than the portrayal of historical characters in an unusual light. Certainly the author has woven known facts into this ingenious tale, and fans of the characters included will enjoy the imaginary views of them.