Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Strings Of Murder

I have heard it said The Devil has the best tunes and if this is true I think he plays the best ones on the fiddle.
Just read this fantastic novel by a chap called Oscar De Muriel called The Strings Of Murder. The year is 1888, the year of The Ripper. Jack The Ripper. The mysterious and still annonymous killer who rocked Victorian society to its hypocritical heart as he splattered the streets of Whitechapel with innocent blood. (Yes I say innocent blood as these poor women had been driven to degrading acts by a life that was as unrelenting as it was merciless.) at the same time, in a fictional sense, at the other end of the British Isles, in Edinburgh, the brutal murder of a beloved violin teacher leads the top brass to suspect a copy-cat killer is at work. One maniac on the loose is enough, two implies a society out of control and those in control fear a loss of the illusion that all is well at the top. They fear this may even be an attempt to undermine the social order by suspects unknown. To combat this they decide to send a disgraced Scotland Yard detective Inspector Ian Fey up to Edinburgh to assist the eccentric but powerful Nine Nails McGray with his "ghost bustin division" to catch the killer before he strikes again. The Scottish detective is called Nine Nails because of events which took place in his dysfunctional family(and that is something of an understatement.)
               This is a very atmospheric thrilling yarn with very believable and well written characters walking down some very dark entries in search of a savage killer who may not even be off this world. The are echoes of Poe and of Doyle, of Holmes and Mulder, Of MR James and John Connolly. It straddles the fictional and the factual in a city where the class divide is unbridgeable and the common morality is unforgiving. It has a great central cast of two very interesting and compelling leads surrounded by friends and foe alike. If either character showed up in an episode of the magnificent Penny Dreadful I would not be surprised.
                 I would welcome it.