The Strings of Murder
Saturday, 28 May 2016
Written by: Oscar de Muriel
Narrated by: Andy Secombe
Length: 11 hrs and 28 mins
Series: Frey & McGray, Book 1
Publisher: Penguin Books Limited
Penguin presents the unabridged downloadable audiobook edition of The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel, read by Andy Secombe, including musical interludes recorded by the author himself.
Edinburgh, 1888. A virtuoso violinist is brutally killed in his home. But with no way in or out of the locked practice room, the murder makes no sense. Fearing a national panic over a copycat Ripper, Scotland Yard sends Inspector Ian Frey to investigate under the cover of a fake department specializing in the occult.
However, Frey's new boss, Detective Nine-Nails McGray, actually believes in such nonsense.
McGray's tragic past has driven him to superstition, but even Frey must admit this case seems beyond reason. And once someone loses all reason, who knows what they will lose next...
©2015 Oscar de Muriel (P)2015 Penguin Books Limited
If you want a mystery that's a bit different, a bit dark a tad gory but quite humorous in parts, then this one should fit the bill.
Inspector Ian Frey, being a touch arrogant in nature and supercilious in manner, is not the most likeable of men. To the dismay of his well to do family he had tried and disliked the study of both medicine and law finally deciding on a career as a detective. A job he is actually quite good at and, having solved one high profile case, he is more convinced than ever of his superior intellect.
Everything is going well, until, due to some political manoeuvres, he finds himself on the verge of losing his job unless he agrees to travel to Edinburgh to solve a very strange case. To his chagrin he finds himself subordinate to Detective Nine-Nails McGray. Poor Frey finds everything north of the border to be terribly offensive to his fine sensibilities - and is not afraid to say so. McGray though is having none of his fancy ways, nor are the house servants, in fact not even the dog shows any respect for him or his fine clothes.
The interactions between Frey and McGray provide the humour, yet there is a serious locked room mystery going on here, Frey takes his usual pragmatic and systematic approach to the investigation, at least, he tries to. Yet on more than one occasion he finds McGrays insistence on following a more unusual path to be both enraging and beyond belief. As past tragedies unfold and the present mysteries are revealed, the two men earn the grudging respect of the other.
Despite a bit of a shaky start when I didn't quite understand what was going on, all did become clear and the beginning fitted the end very well. Some of the characters did stretch my credibility a little, but this only added to my overall enjoyment of this entertaining story. The short violin interludes helped create a chilling atmosphere for this thoroughly enjoyable audiobook.
Andy Secombe did a pretty good job of all those accents, the only voice I didn't much care for was that of the crazy girl from the past, I found her just a bit over the top. I loved how he captured the pomposity of some of the political characters and how he somehow managed to seamlessly change those voices from pompous to obsequious when they were in the presence of the Prime Minister. All of the characters were clearly defined, especially enjoyable was the supercilious Frey. The pace and rhythm of the reading matched the story well.
This audiobook was provided by the author, publisher or narrator in return for an honest review.