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The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel

The Strings of Murder

by Oscar de Muriel

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16512111,197 (3.83)30
The brutal slaying of a violinist in his home in 1888 sparks a locked room murder mystery investigated by two diametrically opposed Edinburgh detectives.



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A closed room murder mystery in 1888 Scotland. The murder is similar to London’s Jack the Ripper and two detectives with opposite styles must solve the case before the public finds out and panic ensues.

Nine-Nails McGray is local and Ian Frey is an English dandy from London. McGray believes in the supernatural and Frey is the no nonsense guy who only believes in facts. So, kinda like Mulder and Scully only in 1888 Scotland. Except Frey’s beliefs start cracking the more they look into this case. Although he can’t quite let go of cold hard truths to dive into the supernatural, there just isn’t something right about this whole thing and it’s irritating him. He wants his orderly life back with all the good food, fine things, and lovely social conventions he had to leave behind in London. But he has to solve this case first. And it’s taking forever to break. In the meantime people start dropping like flies. Frey and McGray are stumped.

I was all in from the beginning of this book. The writing is not spectacular and Frey and McGray are a bit irritating, but overall this tale is gripping enough that it had me turning the pages quickly. Who doesn’t love a good locked room mystery? I was all set to give this book 4.5 or 5 and then the end happened. No. That is a bullshit way to finish a mystery. I will not say what exactly pissed me off because it would be a spoiler, but pissed off I was. Anyway, I know some mystery lovers will be cool with the ending, but I’m not one of them. ( )
  AVoraciousReader | Jun 1, 2019 |
Disgraced inspector Ian Frey is sent to Edinburgh to investigate the brutal death of a violinist. The violinist was killed in a locked room and there is no way out or in and the walls are covered with magic symbols.

I wish more books were like this; fast-paced, interesting and with short chapters. With short chapters, I'm like "OK, just one more chapter"...and 1-2 hours later 1/3 of the book is done. Anyway, the mystery in this book was interesting and I like that the main characters Ian Frey and Adolpho "Nine Nails" McGrey can't stop insulting each other from the moment they met. Dislike at the first sight, I love it. (I prefer it to love at first sight lol). Yes, there were moments in the book when I got it before the main characters did, but I just credit that to how brilliant I am to figure out things instead of how simple the solution is. Hehehe...

I received this copy from the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review! ( )
  MaraBlaise | May 19, 2019 |
What a great way to get started with the A Case for Frey & McGray series. Inspector Ian Frey is no longer welcome at Scotland Yard. But since he comes from a well-known wealthy home, you can not just put him on the street. So he's relocated to Edinburgh to help his new boss, Inspector McGrey. Having arrived in Edinburgh, Frey does not fit in and he's eager to get the case down as quickly as possible so he can go back to London. This is wishful thinking. McGrey picks him up at his house. The chemistry between the two is far from good. They argue like an old couple. While Frey strives for clear policing, McGrey is the one who also uses supernatural powers to help. In this case, a string of violinists are found dead and nobody knows how this could happen.
The story is very exciting and it captivated me from the first page to the last. I will definitely continue with this series. ( )
  Ameise1 | Mar 30, 2019 |
Inspector Ian Frey’s life has changed in a single day. He’s been laid off from his position in CID, his fiancée has dumped him, and now he’s being sent to Scotland to work with “Nine-Nails” McGray, an eccentric police detective in charge of a superstition division. Their first case together promises to be strange indeed: a violinist killed in a locked room, with a symbol of the devil painted inside, and a cursed violin that brings death to every owner. But does it have a more rational explanation?

I quite enjoyed this first book in the Frey and McGray series. Plot-wise, it’s certainly a gripping one, and the odd-couple detective duo looks like they’ll be a promising pair to follow. The writing isn’t fancy, and in the beginning was a bit shrug-inducing for me, but given the setting and the time period (Edinburgh, 1888), I’ve already got the next book in the series wending its way to me. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Feb 22, 2019 |
An assistant inspector at Scotland Yard, Ian Frey, who has close ties to the head of police, finds himself relegated to Edinburgh (or as the character's father calls it, "Edin-bloody-burgh!"), when the head is forced to resign.

He is asked to help solve a locked-room mystery involving the brutal murder of violinist. Frey is forced to live with and work under a Scot who is the exact opposite of Frey and outside of trying to solve the case, they spend all of their time trading insults.

The book caputured me from the beginning, the mystery is intriguing, and as the author is a violinist, he taught me a few interesting things about violins. What detracted from the story was the continual disrespect Frey had for Scotland and its people. At first I found his comments humorous but as the story went on, Frey's superior attitude became increasingly grating.

This book appears to be the start of a series, and in spite of the rude comments about the Scottish, I did enjoy the actual story and will read the next book in this series. ( )
  Icewineanne | Aug 4, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
Music and the Savage Beast.

It’s hard to believe now but the Waltz was once perceived as being a shocking, evil dance, and the interval known as “the flatted fifth” was banned by the Catholic Church. Musicians of unusual virtuosity, such as Niccolo Paganini were rumored to have sold their souls to the devil in exchange for their gifts. I mention all of this because The Strings of Murder is not only a thriller, but it is also a book that is steeped in music and musical lore. It’s no surprise to find out that the Author, Oscar de Muriel is a violinist.

By 1888 most beliefs were dismissed as superstitious claptrap, but when a virtuoso violinist is found brutally murdered inside of his locked practice room, his blood splashed everywhere and mystic symbols scrawled on the walls, it’s no wonder that the authorities are stumped. Afraid that the nation will fear another Jack the Ripper is on the loose Scotland Yard dispatches one of their best, Inspector Ian Frey, to investigate under the pretense of joining a fake department that specializes in investigating the occult. The department’s leader, and Frey’s new boss, Adolphus “Nine-Nails” McGrey believes in the mission of his department. Somehow he and Frey must find a way to work together to solve this crime. They have barely started before bodies start dropping like flies, in more and more mysterious circumstances, and the only link seems to be music and violins. The tension only increases when Frey’s younger brother, Elgie, a violinist suddenly appears in Edinboro, with no place to stay.

After a fairly slow beginning this novel’s pace picks up, and for the most part doesn't slow down until the last twist is revealed. The plot isn’t always the most clever, and a few time I figured things out before the detectives did, but there are enough red herrings scattered about that I was kept off balance. Mr. de Muriel makes up for the occasional plot gaffe with a relentless pace and plenty of narrative drive. The main character’s are solid, if nothing special, and they bicker and insult each other to no end, but like the leads in any buddy novel they come to share a grudging respect. Where Mr. de Muriel shines is in his creation of this world. The smaller characters all are well rounded, and the author clearly did his research, as he brings the time and place to life with well-placed details. I could feel the difference between the fog of metropolitan London and the smoky coal-filled air of Edinboro. Each locale, from the most grimey pub to the stately homes of the rich felt real. Mr. de Muriel’s love of Victorian fiction also comes through as he uses several tropes of the genre to solid effect. More impressively, Mr de Muriel accomplished this without burying me in details.

Equally evident was the author’s love of music, and musical lore and traditions. The life of musicians, and the people who make their instruments and all detailed with care and grace. Without giving away too much I can say that music plays a key role in every facet of how and why these crimes were committed, as well as providing the detectives with several key clues that keep their investigation from failing. It’s refreshing to see an author grasp and utilize a facet of a novel to such effect, and makes The Strings of Murder worth your time.

Review by: Mark Palm
Full Reviews Available at: http://www.thebookendfamily.weebly.co...
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Oh, that I could find myself for one short day a partaker of the secret arts of the Gods, a God myself, in the sight and hearing of enraptured humanity; and, having learned the mystery of the lyre of Orpheus, or secured within my violin a siren, thereby benefit mortals to my own glory!

Madame Blavatsky, Nightmare Tales
The first one is for the Torcacitas
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Dr Clouston could barely keep himself on the seat.
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