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Oscar Wilde and the Vatican Murders (Oscar Wilde Mystery Series #5)

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted September 8, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Not What It Seems

    Sherlock Holmes had his Dr. Watson, and in this series (in which this novel is the fifth entry) Oscar Wilde invariably plays the detective while Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle plays the foil. This role reversal allows the author to make many witty observations and create unexpected plot situations. Unlike Holmes, however, Wilde is not particularly analytical but more intuitive, making great leaps of faith in drawing conclusions.

    The story begins with Conan Doyle traveling to England so he can concentrate on answering a ton of mail addressed to Sherlock Holmes which he has been unable to take care of at home. And who does he meet when he arrives at his hotel but his good friend Wilde, who is there to lose weight by “taking the waters.” But any excuse is a port in an unwelcome storm, so Wilde volunteers to assist Conan Doyle in his effort to weed through the letters. No sooner do they begin than a man’s mummified right hand is found in one envelope. And then a finger, obviously from another hand, in another. On that finger is a distinctive gold ring with intertwined fish etched on the inside, the symbol of the Vatican. A third envelope is found to contain a lock of hair. The postmark on all three envelopes is Rome. So much for the rest cure, as off the pair goes to the Eternal City to solve the mystery.

    Once again, the author has written an enjoyable historical piece, filled with clever observations and droll comments, peppering the prose with crisp Wilde prose and poetry while moving a Sherlock Holmes mystery forward. This is really a delightful series, and well worth reading.


    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted September 3, 2013

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    Posted November 4, 2012

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