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A Fever of the Blood by Oscar de Muriel
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A Fever of the Blood

by Oscar de Muriel

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The title and blurb for this book are way more dramatic than the book actually is. It was a pretty straightforward mystery and it wasn't hard to figure out the plot. Good points for the Odd Couple relationship of the two detectives and the portrayal of the witches, though, as these were nicely done. ( )
  redwritinghood38 | Nov 6, 2018 |
The chilling opening scene of "A Fever of the Blood," by Oscar de Muriel, is set in 1624. Six witches are about to be hanged in Lancaster, England: "Dressed in rags, their faces soiled, their hair grey and greasy, they were the very image of wickednessČ√ɬõ_." The story then fast-forwards to Edinburgh in the 1880s. The rich and influential Lady Anne Ardglass has arranged for her son, Lord Joel, to be sent to an asylum. Joel's loving daughter, Caroline, is heartbroken, but powerless to stop her grandmother from doing as she pleases.

The heroes are Adolphus McGray, an ill-mannered, scruffy, profane, hard-drinking and hot-tempered policeman, and his beleaguered colleague, thirty-one year old Ian Frey, who left the British CID under a cloud. Adolphus, known as "Nine-Nails" thanks to a missing finger, gets a kick out of impugning Frey's courage, strength, and manhood. Another source of friction between the two is Nine-Nails' tenacious belief in the occult, while Frey scorns all things supernatural. The detectives embark on a wild chase in pursuit of a killer bent on vengeance. McGray and Frey have few clues aside from vague witness statements, strange artifacts that turn up, and a cryptic comment by McGray's younger sister, Pansy.

"A Fever of the Blood" starts out promisingly, but eventually becomes a frenzied and perplexing hodgepodge. At one time or another, their foes beat, stab, shoot, and burn Nine-Nails and Frey, but these two gluttons for punishment dust themselves off and resume their quest (Frey is fed up, but goes along anyway). They are determined to uncover the secrets of the Ardglass clan, but will have to fend off the forces of evil that threaten to crush them. The book's fatal flaws are its thinly drawn albeit colorful characters and an outlandish and melodramatic plot. To his credit, de Muriel successfully creates an atmosphere of doom that is occasionally offset by hints of humor. Had the author eliminated some superfluous subplots and imbued his novel with more logic and coherence, this might have been an intriguing historical thriller.
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  booklover915 | Oct 9, 2018 |
Detective 'Nine-Nails' McGray and Inspector Ian Frey are back in A Fever of the Blood. It's New Year's Day, 1889 and a patient escape from in Edinburgh's lunatic asylum, but not before he kills a nurse. The strange thing is that the man that escaped was heard talking to a girl that hasn't talked for five years. And that girl is McGray sisters who were locked up after she killed their parents. McGray wants to find the killer, not only because he is leaving dead bodies everywhere he goes, but because McGray also wants to know what his sisters said.

It was quite a ride reading this book. Action from beginning to the end. McGray and Frey are still having a bit of a difficult working relationship and that's part of the charm of reading this series. Lots of hilarious banter. In this book, they have to try to find a crazy killer, or is he so crazy? There seem to be something weird going on. And weirder it gets when it seems that the man is out to kill witches.

I love the mix of historical mystery and paranormal things like witches. McGray is a believer and Frey, not so much. A bit like Mulder and Scully. But, Frey is I think having some doubts about everything is explainable in this book. The story was good, although I must admit that I felt a bit impatient now and then towards during the reading, but that could be just me wanting to know what is going on. But the final confrontation between, well good and evil was great and I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series.

This is a great book for those that are looking for something action-filled, with humor and paranormal mysteries.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!

Read this review and others on A Bookaholic Swede ( )
  MaraBlaise | Dec 14, 2017 |
The second book in this series is all about madness & witch hunts. It grabs you from the beginning and the action is relentless until the final page. In this installment detectives Ian Frey & his Scottish partner "nine-nails" McGray are on the trail of an escaped patient from the local asylum, who murdered his nurse before escaping from a window he smashed. The patient on the run is from a prominent family, and was supposed to have died years ago in a shipwreck. The family had kept his confinement a secret to avoid scandal and now want the detectives to keep the investigation into the murder and his disappearance quiet as well, to keep reputations intact and avoid city-wide panic.

What begins as a fairly straight forward murder investigation & suspect chase soons turns into a full blown story about 19th century witches & black magic.
Because I am not a fan of stories based on the supernatural, I could only give this book 3 stars. The situations that Frey & McGray find themselves in, stretch credulity, but the adventurous nature of the story kept me reading. Highly recommended for readers interested in witchcraft and black magic. ( )
  Icewineanne | Aug 4, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0718179846, Paperback)

New Year's Day, 1889. In Edinburgh's lunatic asylum, a patient escapes as a nurse lays dying. Leading the manhunt are legendary local Detective 'Nine-Nails' McGray and Londoner-in-exile Inspector Ian Frey. Before the murder, the suspect was heard in whispered conversation with a fellow patient - a girl who had been mute for years. What made her suddenly break her silence? And why won't she talk again? Could the rumours about black magic be more than superstition? McGray and Frey track a devious psychopath far beyond their jurisdiction, through the worst blizzard in living memory, into the shadow of Pendle Hill - home of the Lancashire witches - where unimaginable danger awaits... * * * Praise for The Strings of Murder: 'This is wonderful. A brilliant, moving, clever, lyrical book - I loved it. Oscar de Muriel is going to be a name to watch.' Manda Scott 'One of the best debuts so far this year - a brilliant mix of horror, history, and humour. Genuinely riveting with plenty of twists, this will keep you turning the pages. It's clever, occasionally frightening and superbly written - The Strings Of Murder is everything you need in a mystery thriller.' Crime Review

(retrieved from Amazon Sat, 03 Oct 2015 03:48:24 -0400)

New Year's Day, 1889. In Edinburgh's lunatic asylum, a patient escapes as a nurse lays dying. Leading the manhunt are legendary local Detective 'Nine-Nails' McGray and Londoner-in-exile Inspector Ian Frey. Before the murder, the suspect was heard in whispered conversation with a fellow patient -- a girl who had been mute for years. What made her suddenly break her silence? And why won't she talk again? Could the rumours about black magic be more than superstition? McGray and Frey track a devious psychopath far beyond their jurisdiction, through the worst blizzard in living memory, into the shadow of Pendle Hill -- home of the Lancashire witches where unimaginable danger awaits.… (more)

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