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Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance: A Mystery (The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries #1)

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  1,741 ratings  ·  285 reviews
One of Britain's premier royal biographers pens the first in a series of fiendishly clever and stylish historical murder mysteriesLovers of historical mystery will relish this chilling Victorian tale based on real events and cloaked in authenticity. Best of all, it casts British literature's most fascinating and controversial figure as the lead sleuth.

A young artist's mode
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published January 8th 2008 by Touchstone Books (first published 2007)
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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan DoyleThe Woman in White by Wilkie CollinsThe Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan DoyleThe Moonstone by Wilkie CollinsThe Face of a Stranger by Anne Perry
Victorian Mysteries
42nd out of 100 books — 149 voters
Murder Your Darlings by J.J. MurphyDrood by Dan SimmonsThe Pale Blue Eye by Louis BayardAn Expert in Murder by Nicola UpsonJane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron
Mysteries Featuring Real Literary Authors
7th out of 70 books — 20 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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This is a Victorian mystery with Oscar Wilde acting as an investigator in the manner of Sherlock Holmes, the creation of Wilde's friend Arthur Conan Doyle. Wilde is very observant, as well as being a charming, witty conversationalist and writer. The story is narrated by Wilde's real friend, author Robert Sherard who is a character similar to Dr Watson. Wilde is searching for the murderer of a young male prostitute, found dead in a room full of incense and flickering candles. Oscar Wilde wrote th ...more
Dawn (& Ron)
I approached this historical mystery as I normally do, for the characters and the historical elements, with the mystery being well down my list. I very much enjoyed the historical fiction and character driven aspects of this book, which is about 2/3 of the book. When it gets to where the main focus is on the mystery I wasn't in the same thrall I was in before. That is what has caused my dilemma in rating this and in justifying my feelings towards this book.

This book is at its best in letting the
Jul 29, 2008 Nadir rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sherlock Fans
Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders is skilfully written and much in the style of Arthur Conan Doyle's works. The story takes place in 1889-1890, revolving around the murder of a young friend of Oscar Wilde.

As a rule and from past bad experiences, I try to avoid reading books with real-life personalities as characters. I don't know why I took exception at this book (though it might have something to do with the absolutely disgusting and charming front cover...)

I said previously that it was
I absolutely loved this book. It was witty and clever and held me to its pages, so, in other words it was a quick read. It had everything I like to read especially the many witticisms by Oscar Wilde. I came away loving him and wishing that his life had been happier and more settled.

The story revolves around Oscar and his very good friend Robert Shepard as they take on a kind of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson personna. It concerns the murder of a young man Billy Wood, who supposedly was the inspir
I picked this on up after reading The Picture of Dorian Gray. I never heard of the series but seeing Oscar Wilde mentioned in the series made me very curious. After about 2 years, I finally got to it. A fun character read with an interesting mystery. It's obvious this author really appreciates Wilde, Sherard and Doyle and it feels like these characters are probably pretty true to life. I found it be be well-written and an enjoyable read. I'll be moving on to the next in the series.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
3.5 stars

I will wait for Jeannette, Marialyce and Dawn before post my review. However, since I always avoid spoilers in my reviews, see my review as followed.

Even if I am not a big fan of mysteries featuring real literary authors, I liked this one.

In my opinion, the author managed quite well to balance between quoting famous artists & writers with a mystery case as background.

Among the citations, we can mention some of these well known names, such as: Arthur Conan Doyle, (Sherlock Holmes, Wa


What do you want to be when you grow up? When we’re young, it’s the question with a hundred answers. A fireman one day, a nurse the next, an astronaut after that. But time and talent and circumstance eventually push a sole option to the forefront, the rest receding to become favorite hobbies or fond memories. That this singular option consumes the majority of our time and energy should comes as no surprise, for it’s difficult to do one thing well, le
What a strange book. It's a fast read (took me one day, and I was doing other things too), it has Wilde, it has Conan Doyle, it has Victorian London, Scotland Yard, male prostitutes and other potentially fascinating elements, and still I didn't like it.
The most annoying part of it was the portrait of Wilde: sanitized, hagiographic,
boring, boring, boring. He loves his wife Constance, women and children in general, he loves disabled people, poor people, stupid people, and everyone loves him back!
Feb 26, 2008 Kat rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Victoriana fans, people who like reading between the lines for hidden agendas
Shelves: recently_read
This is the sort of book that I almost never read. I normally don't like mysteries because of those inevitable few chapters when you've figured it out and are waiting for the characters to catch up to you. And I normally don't like books in which famous authors are the main characters, because the people who write those sort of books are never as clever as the people they are writing about, so the author as character is inevitably diminished (though I do enjoy books in which they pop up as suppo ...more
This is my second Oscar Wilde mystery novel and Gyles Brandreth has done a great job in developing Oscar Wilde’s character, whose brilliant mind with its razor-sharp witticisms, mercurial personality and utter zest for life is engaging and endearing. In this first of the series book, Brandreth introduces us to Wilde, Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert Sherrard, the narrator. A young boy, whose background is questionable, is found murdered. Oscar Wilde discovers the bloody body, but flees. However, he ...more
Diane Challenor
The author is obviously very familiar with Oscar Wilde's history and he was able to integrate the famous ranconter's persona into a cozy mystery which inlcuded the character of Arthur Conan Doyle. I'm enjoying the story and I'm amused by the dialogue of the main character, Oscar Wilde. It wouldn't surprise me if many of the story's snippets are "real" quotes incorporated in the conversations within the story. The author has adopted the wisdom of Sherlock Holmes and placed it in the heart of his ...more
Riju Ganguly
An amusing work, which is a classic example of successful marketing (since the ostensible claim of "pairing of Arthur Conan Doyle & Oscar Wilde as Watson & Holmes", was a blatant lie) pushing a mediocre work onto bigger stage. Mystery-wise, the novel is wafer-thin. But the enormous padding it has in the form of depiction of the genius whom we knew as Oscar Wilde, succeeds in making the book readable. Perhaps that's the only reason why this book is worthy of reading, because it indeed mak ...more
Mlle Alice, pouvez-vous nous raconter votre rencontre avec Oscar Wilde et le Meurtre aux Chandelles?
"J'ai reçu ce livre en cadeau (pour deux autres achetés si je me souviens bien) mais j'avais de toutes façons très envie de le lire, espérant que ce serait dans la veine des Anne Perry. D'ailleurs, si je ne l'ai pas lu plus tôt, ce n'est pas par manque d'envie mais plutôt pour faire durer le plaisir en quelques sortes."

Dites-nous en un peu plus sur son histoire...
"Oscar Wilde se rend à un rendez
I have read shamefully little of Oscar Wilde but every time I read a quote of his I always smile and promise myself to pick up The Picture of Dorian Gray and Three Stories or The Importance of Being Earnest very soon. Therefore I was of course intrigued when my friend handed me this book. Oscar Wilde as a detective? It turns out it works very well, it's a mystery somewhat in the style of Arthur Conan Doyle (who also shows up as a character in the book) but a bit less straightforward than the cas ...more
Angie Shaw
I love Oscar Wilde.
The way the author portrays Oscar is exactly the way I've always imagined him to be. Some complaints I've seen are that Oscar's character is too shallow and arrogant, but anyone who knows anything about Oscar Wilde knows that he WAS shallow and arrogant. Not to say that he was a bad person, just that that was the type of man he was. And he wasn't shy about letting people know that.
The author/characters mentioned were all represented pretty well, in my opinion. I don't know Ar
Knowing of Gyles Brandreth from the television and radio, I rather thought this book might be a little “sophisticated” for me. He’s a vastly intelligent man and, like Stephen Fry, he often loses me with his mind but I needn’t have worried, because The Candlelight Murders(as it's known in the UK) is an enjoyable – almost frothy – murder mystery of the old school and thoroughly enjoyable.

It’s obvious from the word go that Brandreth is a big fan of Oscar Wilde and he sets the scene well. The books
It's difficult to put my finger on exactly what it was about this book that I didn't like. I think a lot of it is the narrator, Wilde's friend Robert Sherard. The narration just felt off. Half the time the narrator is being oblivious of any hints of homosexuality, regardless of how many rent boys he's surrounded with and the other half he's talking about Wilde's eventual trial and disgrace. Make up your mind! Really, there's a sense of uncomfortableness handling the issues of sexuality. Maybe it ...more
OSCAR WILDE AND A DEATH OF NO IMPORTANCE (Hist Mys-Oscar Wilde/Robert Sherard-England-1889) – G+
Brandreth, Gyles – 1st in series
Touchstone, 2008, US Trade paperback – ISBN: 9781416534839

First Sentence: My name is Robert Sherard, and I was a friend of Oscar Wilde.

Poet and author Oscar Wilde enters a room, filled with candles and incense, wherein he finds the naked body of a young man whose throat has been slashed. When he returns to the room with his friends, Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert Sherard
Still not sure what I thought of this. Interesting the way the author brought in Arthur Conan Doyle and had Wilde be enthusiastic about ACD's new story and adopt Sherlockian methods to solve the crime - in fact Wilde can outdo Sherlock when it comes to deduction through observation- plus the author had Doyle be influenced by Wilde in the further development of his Holmes and Mycroft characters.

I did guess pretty close on the solution before the big reveal. The period feel was good and the cha
Debra Oakland
Oct 07, 2009 Debra Oakland rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of mystery, historical fiction and Oscar Wilde
Recommended to Debra by: Found it at Barnes & Noble
I love mystery books, but was looking for something different. The minute I found this new series, I new it was right up my alley. I love Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle. The poet Robert Sherard, and great friend of Oscar Wilde was new to me. His character is enjoyable and sweet. The brilliance of Oscar Wilde comes through on every page. The writing is superb. Full of wit and adventure.
Feb 28, 2013 Rose marked it as tried-to-read
UPDATE: Apparently, I need the magic of Arthur Conan Doyle as narrator to make this series work for me. Sorry, Mr. Brandreth!

I SWEAR I didn't mean to start reading this today. I was working on a book display at the Library when I picked up this volume and realized it was the first in the series. I started reading it over lunch almost accidentally, and, well ... now I'm stuck! ;-)
Theodora Gotsis
The idea of Oscar Wilde as the lead detective in grissly, Victorian setting crimes was an interesting starting point. I also enjoyed the idea that the friend of Oscar was the narrator, rather than Wilde himself. All up, unfortunately, there just didn't seem to be much pace to the story. It was as though we were being asked to stroll through a normal day of murder, and this I found a little tedious. Although the plot was good and kept me interested, I didn't feel any real drive to find out what h ...more
Susanne Gruß
amused by how Brandreth dances around the issue of Wilde's homosexuality... too many Wilde quotations for my taste, though
This is the kind of book that insists that Oscar Wilde was a perfect gentlemen who loved his wife very much. Dullsville!
Very entertaining though hardly life-changing. Full of many Wilde quotes cleverly integrated in the dialogue.
Michael Halpern
"The one duty we owe to history is to rewrite it." OSCAR WILDE, The Critic as Artist

A thoroughly delightful book, in large part because it starts with history and re-writes it. Much of this book (as detailed in the author's biographical notes) is based on fact, but Brandreth (the author) decides to spice up history a bit. What if a young male companion and pupil of Oscar Wilde was found murdered? What if Wilde, his friend the poet Robert Sherard, and his new acquaintance Arthur Conan Doyle decid
Claire Haeg
a disappointment. Stale and defensive regarding Wilde's reputation. Ho hum
H Lynnea
Bottom line: A passable story, though I found the solution to the mystery to be somewhat predictable. The author draws heavily upon the lives and known information about the historical characters, such as Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan-Doyle.

The details: I wanted to like this story more than I did. Most of my problem actually lay with the characters. First, the characterization of Oscar Wilde - he repeatedly lies and gaslights his friends, and yet he is supposed to be a likeable character. This ho
I had very high hopes for this book, which is always risky, high hopes are so easily dashed. And indeed this book was not what I had expected, and because of that I was quite disappointed with it for the first half. I found myself quite annoyed with Oscar and the narrator, and Oscars deductions felt far too much like Sherlock Holmes (whom I adore). I understand that this is probably on purpose, given Arthur Conan Doyle's presence, but it really irritated me. Also, for a murder mystery, I felt th ...more
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US / UK Editions 1 17 Nov 09, 2008 04:58PM  
US / UK Editions 1 16 Nov 09, 2008 04:57PM  
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Full name: Gyles Daubeney Brandreth.
A former Oxford Scholar, President of the Oxford Union and MP for the City of Chester, Gyles Brandreth’s career has ranged from being a Whip and Lord Commissioner of the Treasury in John Major’s government to starring in his own award-winning musical revue in London’s West End. A prolific broadcaster (in programmes ranging from Just a Minute to Have I Got News f
More about Gyles Brandreth...

Other Books in the Series

The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries (6 books)
  • Oscar Wilde and the Ring of Death
  • Oscar Wilde and the Dead Man's Smile (The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries, #3)
  • Oscar Wilde and the Vampire Murders: A Mystery
  • Oscar Wilde and the Vatican Murders (The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries #5)
  • Oscar Wilde and the Murders at Reading Gaol
Oscar Wilde and the Ring of Death Oscar Wilde and the Dead Man's Smile (The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries, #3) Oscar Wilde and the Vatican Murders (The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries #5) Oscar Wilde and the Vampire Murders: A Mystery Oscar Wilde and the Murders at Reading Gaol

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