London, 1889. Oscar Wilde, celebrated poet, wit, playwright, and raconteur is the literary sensation of his age. All Europe lies at his feet. Yet when he chances across the naked corpse of sixteen-year-old Billy Wood, posed by candlelight in a dark stifling attic room, he cannot ignore the brutal murder. With the help of fellow author Arthur Conan Doyle he sets out to solve the crime - but it is Wilde's unparalleled access to all degrees of late Victorian life, from society drawing rooms to the underclass, that will prove the decisive factor in their investigation of what turns out to be a series of brutal killings. Oscar Wilde anda Death of No Importance is a classic murder mystery in the tradition of Dorothy L. Sayers and Arthur Conan Doyle!
©2007 Gyles Brandreth. All rights reserved. (P)2011 AudioGo
trying to see the world with my ears
I started listening with great expectations, based on the novel's inventive premise; this often sets me up to under-evaluate a book. I expected a clever mystery. It seems to be a clever recreation of a clever Oscar Wilde half-heartedly involved in a mystery that touched his historical life.
Although It's an imaginative portrait of Wilde and his London and Paris, it's a so-so mystery - And although the mystery is not the main point of this novel, Wilde playing Sherlock Holmes grated on me. The retrospective narration (of the story, not the audiobook) didn't mesh well with the mystery which in turn didn't mesh well with the excellent settings. It needed some literary glue to make strands work together.
Even Bill Wallis didn't make the listen lively.
I think some might love this series-- perhaps if I were more familliar with Wilde, I'd delight in his witticisms quoted in the context of a novel- however, I couldn't get engaged in the listen. I wouldn't download another installment, but I would download a bio of Wilde by this author.
In this delicious mystery, the flamboyant author Oscar Wilde and his friends (including the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) explore 1890s London in search of a murderer. Wilde's powers of observation hint that he is clearly the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes, and is perspicacity and wit pepper the book.
The story is littered with the quirky peculiarities of the 1890s culture, and stuffed with the gluttony of Wilde's endless train of Champagne, Pouilly Fuisse, Claret and oysters. When he's not solving the mystery, Wilde is having a good time or eating another course.
The narrator sounds a little too old and stuffy to make this book sing in audio format, unfortunately. Alan Cumming would have been perfect.
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