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The Strings of Murder

(Frey & McGray #1)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  2,429 ratings  ·  439 reviews
A spellbinding concoction of crime, history and horror - perfect for fans of Sherlock Holmes and Jonathan Creek.

Edinburgh, 1888. A virtuoso violinist is brutally killed in his home. Black magic symbols cover the walls. The dead man's maid swears she heard three musicians playing before the murder.

But with no way in or out of the locked practice room, the puzzle makes no se
Paperback, 407 pages
Published February 12th 2015 by Penguin
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Christine Blake One of the main characters is an Englishman forced to work in Edinburgh as a detective. He is very anti-Scottish but I have to say (as a Scot) that I…moreOne of the main characters is an Englishman forced to work in Edinburgh as a detective. He is very anti-Scottish but I have to say (as a Scot) that I didn't find it at all offensive - a lot of his remarks are hilariously over the top, he himself is insulted at length by the Scottish characters. I thought it was very funny. But if you are sensitive about that sort of thing then I wouldn't read it (a shame as it's a nice Gothic mystery)(less)
Jen It has some fairly chilling moments, so I'd class this as an adult book, but I'd happily have read this myself at 15. There's no sex or anything of…moreIt has some fairly chilling moments, so I'd class this as an adult book, but I'd happily have read this myself at 15. There's no sex or anything of that nature, so it just depends how well they deal with the creep factor!(less)

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3.88  · 
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 ·  2,429 ratings  ·  439 reviews

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Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Feb 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2015
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
Sep 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of Sherlock Holmes, mystery-lovers
4,5/5 stars for a brilliant mystery thriller that Sherlock Holmes & Edgar A. Poe-fans will love.

Do you like a good murder mystery? I certainly do, mainly because murder mysteries are like Westerns: you know how they work and what you can expect, and if the writer does great things with the standard crime-elements, than you know you’re reading a good story. But starting author Oscar de Muriel does something even better: he wrote a damn good murder mystery about an intriguing paranormal crim
Apr 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: criminal-mystery
This was a good, if gruesome criminal mystery, that took place in Scotland during Victorian times. I was in the mood for solving a challenging murder case along with the detectives, and I had one here. But I wasn't prepared for a grisly string of murders to take place, no pun intended. So I ignored the gore and, as usual, I concentrated on the main characters which I found engaging, both separately and even more so when thrown together.

It begins in London in 1888 when Jack the Ripper is on the
Jon Recluse
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Victorian mystery meets the X Files in this extremely entertaining novel introducing the detective team of London based Inspector Ian Frey and Edinburgh detective Adolphus 'Nine-Nails' McGray.

A brutal locked room murder that hints of Satanic ritual and supernatural forces....what more can you ask for?

But wait, there's more!

The most entertaining dysfunctional duo to grace mystery fiction in some time.....realized upon the page with intriguing depth and humanity......and their verbal sparring is f
May 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The author’s love of, and passion for, Victorian crime fiction comes shining through the book, garnered by his childhood reading, growing up in Mexico, of Sherlock Holmes. He recreates with ease all the sights, smells and atmosphere of London and Edinburgh, as the story pivots between the slums and gentrified locales of both cities during this period. Indeed, sometimes the writing is realistic enough of the lowdown dirty streets, to make your nose wrinkle, as our indomitable detectives, Frey and ...more
I am totally guilty of judging a book by its cover. I picked this up randomly at the bookstore because it just looked super freaking cool. Violins, Scotland, black magic, Scotland, locked-room mystery, lunatic asylums and SCOTLAND?! Sold, sold, sold! Besides, I had a quiet weekend ahead, which generally means I will find a comfy spot, fix myself a cocktail and read; no further excuses needed.

I didn’t expect much, I confess it. But the book proceeded to completely blow my mind! I loves me some Go
Nov 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-thrillers
The Strings of Murder – A Great Read

The Strings of Murder is the brilliant crime debut of Oscar De Muriel who has written a brilliant mixture of crime historical noir mixed with a touch of horror. It would be easy to say this is for a particular fan of historical crime fiction but it offers fans of all crime fiction a great mixture of noir and horror while being firmly set in Victorian Edinburgh.

Inspector Ian Frey is summoned to meet the Metropolitan Police Commissioner in St Paul’s Cathedral wh
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Jul 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Surely a dream debut for Oscar de Muriel. One that I hope will give the impetus for a whole series to follow. Set in the late 19th century, this story follows a snobbish London homicide detective to Edinburgh, where he has to find the perpetrator of a series of macabre murders. His partner is an irascible, eccentric Scots detective named McGray. It's one of those pairings of opposites that immediately sparkles with chemistry.

The mystery itself is original and complex, and at its heart lies a se
Trigger warnings: murder, gore, death of an infant, poisoning.

3.5 stars.

I picked up the fourth book in this series when I was in Edinburgh and was immediately sold. Until I realised it was the fourth book in a series, obviously, at which point I put it back on the shelf and bought this on my Kindle instead.

I loved that this is set in Edinburgh, that our protagonist just wants to be back in London working on solving the Ripper Murders but is instead dispatched to Edinburgh to help work on a case
Dec 07, 2014 rated it did not like it
Inspector Ian Frey of Scotland Yard is sent to Edinburgh to help with the investigations into what may be a copycat basing his murders on those of Jack the Ripper. Frey has many reasons for wanting to be away from London, but really doesn’t want to be in Scotland. He must join a new police department run by Detective ‘Nine-Nails’ McGray who believes in psychics and supernatural sources for crime, and who has sorrows of his own. Together these two very different men must investigate a series of g ...more
Dec 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Strings of Murder is Muriel’s opening novel to what I can see as the author’s outstanding career in writing. The story opens in London and moves to Victorian Edinburgh. I must say I don’t believe I have read a crime thriller that is set in Edinburgh during the era mentioned. I was truly captivated by the atmosphere the author sets. Not only that…but the author’s command of different personalities. You can say…wonderful character development and a truly wonderful study of the human condition ...more
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books, 2016-reads
The following review is also available on my blog and on Amazon under nickname brienneselwyn.

The 346 pages of the book are divided into 35 consecutively numbered chapters which are framed by an prologue and an epilogue.
The story is told in the first person by Inspector Ian Frey of Magdeburg which means he belongs to nobility. I come back to that soon.

London, 1888.
Jack the Ripper spreads terror. Police and government are under pressure from Crown and public. The fear of uproar is palpable.

Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
I could tell you that I wanted to read Oscar de Muriel’s debut novel „The Strings of Murder“ because it’s set in my two favorite cities London (although this only applies for the first few chapters) and Edinburgh, or because the story takes place in 1888 which to me is by far the most exciting year in crime history due to the mysterious serial killer Jack the Ripper, or because I just can’t get enough of thrillers that deal with the Victorian era, and all these reasons would be true – but let’s ...more
May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
In the 1930s-40s, John Dickson Carr was regarded as the master of the locked room mystery. He had imitators, though none surpassed him in coming up with complicated (sometimes unrealistic) means of committing his crimes. The theme is not so common today.
But Oscar de Muriel revives it in an outstanding manner in this novel.
A violinist is brutally murdered in his music studio, which is locked from the inside. The only other access is via a window, two-stories up and also padlocked from the inside,
Jul 31, 2015 rated it liked it
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 cap
Jayne Catherine pinkett
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tbr-books-i-own
Oh you MUST read this. Its a cross between Sherlock Holmes and The Phantom of the Opera!!!!! Historical fiction set in Victorian times. One of my favourite eras.
This is book 1 of Inspector Fry from London CID working with Inspector McGray of Edinburgh. The characterisations are so good. I feel that even though its book 1 I know them so well. Very different personalities and they don't particularly like each other, but that is part of the charm. Very good plot. Its a little bit dark and scary but
Nov 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this a bit slow to start with, it laboured through the introduction and characterisation, only really finding it's feet about a third of the way through. Then it got really good! I was impressed with how the storyline zipped along, twisting all over the shot without giving the reader any inkling on how it was going to be resolved.

Will definitely read the the next one.
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This mystery was well written and hit all the right buttons for me. The Mystery was well thought out and the characters were likeable in their own way. I quite enjoyed the interaction amongst the characters and enjoyed the chuckles they provided. I recommend this mystery.
Laura Andersen
It's been a long time since I've read a book in one day. Thank you, snow storm :) I especially loved the depictions of Edinburgh--I always knew where the were! I will definitely read more of this series.
Barbara Heckendorn
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Elaine Tomasso
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have only recently started to read historical crime fiction on a regular basis so I'm always on the lookout for interesting reads. The Strings Of Murder was recommended by so I thought I'd give it a go and I wasn't disappointed.
Ian Frey is a detective at Scotland Yard but in the fallout of the Ripper murders he is on the wrong side politically and faces a stark choice - the sack or a secondment to Edinburgh to look into a potential Ripper copycat where success could mean
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book may have its problems but I must say I loved it none-the-less. The story is intriguing, embracing the macabre and noir feeling of much of the writing of the time (which includes Stoker's Dracula) and that is prevalent in Gothic writing even today. The story is tied to a violin and a seemingly deadly curse that grips the upper echelons of Edinburgh society just as Jack the Ripper is prowling the streets of London. The mystery is weaved well and flows from one death to another sweeping t ...more
Bill Lynas
May 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
Edinburgh in 1888 sees Inspector Ian Frey & Detective "Nine-Nails" McGray investigating the intriguing murder of a violinist. The author's style is very simplistic & there are some stereotypical characters, but it's a fast & easy read & while it never engages the brain very much it passes the time reasonably well.
Callum Newton
Feb 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant debut. At times it is so atmospheric that you can almost feel the Victorian fog creeping off the pages towards you. A seriously great entry into the historical crime genre, and I can't wait to read more.
May 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great characters with interesting backstories and gripping plot, with the setting of dark and gloomy Edinburgh of Victorian times. The two protagonists clash personalities and the outcome is most delightful. Fun, fulfilling read, continuing to the next one in the series.
Abbie | ab_reads
Feb 25, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 stars! A satisfyingly gruesome murder mystery with a great spooky setting of 19th century Edinburgh. I accidentally read A Fever of the Blood first and I did enjoy that one a bit more.
Aug 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
the plot twists were astounding and it blew my mind. I bought this because of the author's surname and he has entertained me the whole road through the novel.
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was ok

I really wanted to like this book but the characters were stereotypically silly with the Scottish detective wearing head-to-toe tartan and all his dialogue litterer with ‘Aye, Ken, Ye, Och’ just incase you forgot he is supposed to be Scottish. The upper class English detective is a snob, always fussing over his clothes and saying ‘bloody hell’ and ‘Jesus christ’. I couldn’t say if they were likeable or unlikable characters because they were not fleshed out enough to feel like real people.
Maggie Kiely
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is so different and so funny. The narrative by Andy Secombe was only brilliant bringing the book and the characters to life.
This is historical fiction set in Victorian times and felt to me like a cross between Sherlock Holmes and stand up comedy.
Inspector Frey from London is working in Scotland with Inspector McGray. Why the author chose two surnames so similar in sound I do not know.
Both Inspectors are poles apart in personality and while not enamoured with each other both are fixed on
I picked this up because I read a review of the 2nd in this series, and saw that it was set in Edinburgh and might be supernatural in some aspects. This 1st installment is a squabbling buddy cop horror/comedy set in the time of Jack the Ripper, and our protagonist actually hates Scotland and Scottish people. One can tell that he is to eventually come around on it, but I didn't see that really happen by the end, and it got very tiresome, as well as his partner in detection calling him "lassie" be ...more
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Oscar de Muriel was born in Mexico City in 1983 and moved to the UK to complete his PhD. He is a chemist, translator and violinist who now lives and works in Manchester. The Loch of the Dead is his fourth novel, following A Mask of Shadows, A Fever of the Blood and The Strings of Murder.

Other books in the series

Frey & McGray (5 books)
  • A Fever of the Blood (Frey & McGray, #2)
  • A Mask of Shadows (Frey & McGray, #3)
  • The Loch of the Dead (Frey & McGray #4)
  • The Darker Arts
“Paganini tuvo muchas, muchas amiguitas, y varias de sus mujeres murieron en circunstancias sospechosas a lo largo de los años. Los rumores se volvieron leyenda: Paganini asesinando a sus mujeres, atrapando sus almas en su violín y luego usando sus entrañas para fabricar sus cuerdas. (McGray a Frey sobre Paganini)” 0 likes
“No puedo dedscribir el horror que me invadió, pues ante mis ojos estaba el espectáculo más macabro que jamás haya visto: una jungla de intestinos humanos colgando de ganchos clavados al techo y meciéndose como cadáveres pendiendo de una horca.” 0 likes
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