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Oscar Wilde and the Dead Man's Smile

(The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries #3)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  855 ratings  ·  102 reviews
Playwright and raconteur Oscar Wilde embarks on another adventure as he sets sail for America in the 1880s on a roller coaster of a lecture tour. But the adventure doesn't truly begin until Oscar boards an ocean liner headed back across the Atlantic and joins a motley crew led by French impresario Edmond La Grange. As Oscar becomes entangled with the La Grange acting dynas ...more
Paperback, 365 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by John Murray (first published 2009)
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3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  855 ratings  ·  102 reviews

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Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical-crime
Marvellous book with Oscar Wilde as detective.

A series of mysterious deaths, aboard ship and in France, see Oscar Wilde and Robert Sherard (a real life friend of Wilde's, who later became a journalist) seeking a killer.

The joy of this book, apart from Wilde's delicious bon mots, is the fact that Gyles Brandreth has tucked the story into a real part of Oscar's life. He really was in the places Brandreth puts him at the times he is in the book. However, he most likely wasn't solving crimes at the
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Esta serie es un vicio. Me encanta.
Devanshi Gupta
Feb 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
It was a tedious read. Even though it got really good as the end approached, it was nevertheless a tedious read and required a certain amount of concentration. Still I quite enjoyed certain parts of it.
Jan 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It's a testament to Brandreth's talent that each successive Oscar Wilde Mystery reveals more about the character and is just as enjoyable as what proceeded it. This is particularly noteworthy as I was rather apprehensive about this volume as this is the first one that doesn't follow chronologically. Well, that's not entirely true. The frame story follows the previous two, but the bulk of the story takes place in 1881-82 in the United States, London and Paris.

I was wondering how this would play o
Jan 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gyles Brandreth's series of Oscar Wilde mysteries continues with a tale centred on Paris with trips to Colorado, New York and London inbetween.

The tale has a theatrical background with Sarah Bernhardt featuring strongly as Edmond La Grange, himself a top actor/manager, taking centre stage. He has his family with him, son, daughter and mother as between them they play and produce the perfect Hamlet.

Unfortunately things happen that disrupt the proceedings dramatically and it is left to Oscar Wilde
May 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
There's nothing particularly unpleasant about this book, it just took me awhile to get through it. The author (a BBC broadcaster and former member of Parliament) weaves history with fiction throughout the book. That said, I knew that he really couldn't tarnish the names of Oscar Wilde and Robert Sherard while incorporating a murder mystery.
He did paint a witty, ingenious portrait of Oscar Wilde which made me feel like I knew him personally. Robert Sherard, sometimes, not as smart. Maybe that wa
May 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although the premise of a famous historical luminary assuming the mantle of amateur detective is nothing new, I found the idea of having Oscar Wilde as a sleuth inspired. He was famously a very witty and intelligent man, so it doesn’t take too much of a dramatic leap in thinking to suggest he had a head for solving mysteries.
I thoroughly enjoyed many aspects of this book. The author does an excellent job not only with the mysteries plausibility and plotting, but with the characterisation and
Joey Woolfardis
While I say that I read this novel, I would be vaugely lying. I skimmed it, which was a shame since I really wanted to enjoy this book. Oscar Wilde coupled with a murder-mystery? How can you get any better than that?

It was more the style of writing that put me off. I was determined to not have to put this book on my 'didn't-finish' shelf, because I was actually excited to read it.
First and foremost, the chapter layout was a particular mess, although this is a minor defect considering only the se
Oct 04, 2013 rated it did not like it
I really enjoyed the first two books in this series. This third one left me cold, unfortunately, and I did not finish it.

The first two books really provided exposure to the witty, sparkling personality that we have come to know as Wilde`s - the clever comments, the snappy repartee with all those around him. I felt like that was missing in the first 10 chapters of this installment (where I stopped).

This book also felt very slow-paced to me. The murder had not yet occurred at chapter nine, and the
Nov 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who does not yet know that I am an Oscar Wilde fan has not been paying attention. Thus, when I saw Gyles Brandreth's book on the shelf at my local library, I had to give the story a go.

Brandreth has taken several real-life incidents from Wilde's life and built a clever and complex murder mystery around them. The main action takes place in Paris, during the time in which Wilde translated "Hamlet" into French for a local theatre group. Murders begin to plague the company, along with hints o
Mags Delaney
Sep 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this story - I listened to it on audiobook in the car to and from the theatre where I work part time so it entertained me on lots of levels. Thankfully have yet to deal with actors full of chamagne and laudanum and such completely entangled and complicated off stage lives! Oscar Wilde is a fascinating person anyway and even though this story is fictional I could imagine him being amused being cast in the role of detective. An entertaining distraction to compliment the academic tomes th ...more
Riju Ganguly
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
The law of diminishing returns seems to have caught up with this series, and we still have three more books to go through before this series, that had ostensibly sought to capture Wilde-Doyle duo as the real life Holmes-Watson (but established the claim to be an outrageous lie in the very first book), comes to a close. This one, almost entirely based on shenanigans of 1880-s Parisians (mostly actors, if that justifies the portrayal), was pretty tiresome, and even Oscar Wilde's delightful wit cou ...more
Jul 31, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Weak. Lost interested less than 1/2way into book.
Marthese Formosa
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Actually a 4.5 star book. Another great roller-coaster and witty read. I found this book to be more dark and more problematic than the previous book in terms not of open-relationships and drug use but in terms of views and speech on women, animals, mental health, racism and the brute prison system. These theme may be triggering.

At the same time, as a historical fiction mystery book, it did its job. It showed the dark side of the time but also the bright side. In many aspects, the 1880s were open
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chazzi by: Jerry Estes-Hardison
Shelves: history-era, mystery
Third book in this series and I'm still enjoying!

This time Oscar Wilde is in America on a lecture tour in the 1880s. A rough and tumble time in the country. While at a stop in Leadville, Colorado, Oscar made the acquaintance of Eddie Garstrang. Garstrang was a professional gambler and marksman/sharpshooter. Garstrang also rescued Wilde from a bad situation in a casino.

Sailing by back to England he meets up with the French impresario Edmond La Grange and his entourage. The entourage that includes
Apr 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Great fun and a nice blending of fiction and these books Oscar Wilde becomes a Sherlock Holmes type character the ready wit and the eccentric clothing work well in developing this persona.
This book follows Oscar to the United States and then onto France where he becomes involved with a acting dynasty of note...tragedy upon tragedy occur and Wilde who is at the centre of the social whirl becomes involved in exposing events...multiple suicides...could murder by one hand or more.
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When Arthur Conan Doyle is given a manuscript of Oscar's adventures in Paris we are taken back to 1883 where young Oscar Meets Robert Sherard for the first time and also the rather eccentric and sinister in a way La Grange family who are one of the principal and most famous stage and acting families of that time.
When a dresser is found dead in a bed of an apparent gas leak Oscar and Robert swing into action but the body count is rising and the cast of suspects is starting to look like the playli
Jose Puttanani
Aug 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Apart from providing an insight into the 19th century Europe and glimpses of the great poet Oscar Wylde, this book failed to impress me. Fictions create surprises in the end however authors generally try to leave clues pointing in multiple directions. The totally surprising end might have been created for creating the suspense, however absence of any clues in the story towards the conclusion doesn't fit well.
Aug 09, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I actually didn't finish this :( Seemed just my kind of thing - Oscar Wilde and sleuthing - what's not to like? Sadly it just took so long to get anywhere and the switch between characters by chapters didn't flow. Shame really.
May 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Oscar Wilde and the Dead Man’s Smile is both a sequel and a prequel. The initial interaction takes place after the events in Oscar Wilde and a Game Called Murder, but the body of the work follows a conceit that Wilde’s admiring protégé (not to be confused with other roles that might have been played by young men in Wilde’s life) had written a memoir of his first experiences with Oscar and that the mystery or mysteries involved were wrapped around their exploits.

And so it is that the adventure m
Joan Sebastián Araujo Arenas
Conseguí esta novela luego de leer algo sobre las dos precedentes y tener cierta curiosidad de ver a Wilde como detective. Sabía que el verdadero Oscar conoció a Conan Doyle ―el creador de Sherlock Holmes―, pero de ahí a creer en la mínima posibilidad de que, al menos en ficción, alguien colocara a Wilde como el modelo del cual Doyle calcaría a su personaje más famoso, me parecía algo demasiado absurdo. Por eso, apenas vi esta novela y recordé las otras dos, la compré.

Es obvio que Brandreth
Oct 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
I have fond memories of Gyles Brandreth and his jumpers from my childhood on TV-am and still enjoy his media appearances, even if he is a Tory. I've never until now encountered any of his written work but this was a pleasant introduction to it. This is part of a series starring Oscar Wilde in a detective role, solving murder mysteries, with a dramatis personae of historical characters, including Robert Sherard and Arthur Conan Doyle. The real characters are woven skilfully into the narrative and ...more
Clever and unusual murders and the solution to the mystery aside, the historical aspects of the novel are engaging as are the salacious peeks into the dark underbelly of late nineteenth century Paris. Known to one and all for his pithy witticisms as well as his ability to regurgitate the equally amusing social observations of others, Oscar comes across as a varitable warehouse of pronouncements arrived at following intelligent scrutiny of the human animal, i.e., "The foolish and the dead alone n ...more
Sep 10, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, mystery, owned
I won't spoil the ending of this mystery, since it is quite ingenious. It's a classic double ending, the first seeming much too neat, and the true revelation coming years afterwards in the apparently irrelevant frame.

Loved the historical accuracy of it all, and especially the introduction of Arthur Conan Doyle, and of Robert Sherard as the narrator (at least for most of it). The latter gave some plausibility to the naive viewpoint in which we were led to the first ending. I had my doubts about O
Apr 14, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was pretty much convinced that I would read all these "Oscar Wilde" mysteries, because I so enjoyed A Death of No Importance. I didn't like this one as much, though it was still a fun read. While the first book focused on both story and style, this one was primarily the latter—I often found myself wondering what the plot was, and if they did anything but drink absinthe and champagne at all hours of the day. These stories are based on real people, and Brandreth tries to bring them to life, and ...more
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
This series continues to amaze me in the incredible level of biographical and historical detail of the lives and times surrounding Oscar Wilde. Added to this is an intriguing and satisfying murder mystery or, in this case, mysteries.

Oscar takes a trip to the United States circa 1882 and we are treated to life in Leadville, Colorado. Oscar meets varied interesting persons and the 'games a foot' as Oscar was fond of quoting his friend, Arthur Conan Doyle's character, Sherlock Holmes.

Crossing back
Apr 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, fiction
Another very entertaining book in the series. I loved the theater atmosphere in Paris and Oscar’s excursion to the US.

There are several great scenes which allude to Oscar Wilde’s later life (or death) like his visit to Reading gaol, his statement that he hopes his children will never feel the need to change their family name or the talk about Molière’s grave.

Favourite quote:

“Isn’t Molière buried at Père Lachaise?” I said.

“Oh, now he is, yes, beneath a mighty monument. Now, pilgrims come to ki
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I just love the way Gyles B. wraps his mystery around historical facts. Oscar was in those locales at those times, and some of the individuals were real and interacted with him, the mystery is (hopefully) fabricated, but what fun to interact with the likes of the Great Bernhardt. I actually liked the double ending and how it unfolded—you know, the “this-is-how-it-happened”, wink-wink (not really) ending... If you decide to read this, yes, you do get the real culprit in the end and all the motiva ...more
Jan 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, mystery
I am a sucker for these mysteries where the author takes an actual historical figure and turns them into a detective.
This one isn't as good as the Mark Twain series, but Oscar Wilde is such an entertaining, larger than life character, and Brandreth really makes you feel like you are there, that you forgive the fact that the mystery is a bit weak and that long stretches of the book seem to ignore it entirely.
In fact, the characters are so interesting that there were times I found myself getting a
Aug 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is the third (?) in a series of books that feature Oscar Wilde as detective. Oscar and Arthur Conan Doyle were contemporaries, and in this series, they are close friends. This book begins during Oscar's visit to America, then takes him to France for the majority of the action. Oscar becomes involved with the LaGrange Company, an acting troupe that rivals Sarah Bernhardt in fame and fortune. A series of murders (beginning with a dog) takes place, and only Oscar can put the pieces together. B ...more
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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

Other books in the series

The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries (7 books)
  • Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance
  • Oscar Wilde and the Ring of Death
  • Oscar Wilde and the Vampire Murders (Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries, #4)
  • Oscar Wilde and the Vatican Murders (The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries #5)
  • Oscar Wilde and the Murders at Reading Gaol
  • Jack the Ripper: Case Closed
“A secret should be kept a secret,” murmured Conan Doyle, now picking up crumbs from his plate with his forefinger. “Once it is no longer a secret, it becomes a serpent—it goes where it will.” 0 likes
“both were writers of high ambition, with” 0 likes
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