For fans of murder mysteries, Oscar Wilde and the Vatican Murders is a fanciful race across the cobblestone streets of Victorian England in a hansom cab. This is the fifth installment in Gyles Brandreth’s historical mystery series featuring the inimitable Oscar Wilde.
Oscar Wilde and the Vatican Murders pairs Wilde with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to delve into the mysterious letters containing creepy human remains that are mailed to Doyle. The letters contents include a lock of hair, which is innocuous enough. A finger in another letter ups the ante, and the final piece of the puzzle to pique their interest is a severed hand.
Postmarks on the letters reveal that they were mailed from Vatican City, opening a door onto a world that few ever see and even fewer understand. Vatican City is a world unto itself, and that makes the job with which Wilde and Doyle are tasked doubly difficult.
The plot twists and turns sinuously through the halls of the Vatican, so much so that the reader may hear the rustle of the cassocks of the priests as they tend to the business of God. Six men in close proximity to the Pope have sinister secrets that necessitate Wilde and Doyle going there to investigate.
Fans of historical fiction will be enamored with being transported back to the Victorian era. Brandeth has obviously conducted copious research in order to produce a believable Victorian atmosphere. The novel is an easy read with a plot that slows or quickens depending on the actions of the protagonists.
If you have read Brandeth’s other Oscar Wilde endeavors, you know to expect excellent fiction with unexpected yet logical resolution to the mystery. Oscar Wilde and the Vatican Murders will not disappoint you. If you are not already a fan of the Wilde series, after reading this one, you will be.