Today I'm giving away OSCAR WILDE AND THE VAMPIRE MURDERS (Touchstone Paperback/Simon & Shuster, May 3, 2011, $15, 368 pp.). Bestselling British author Gyles Brandreth recently released novel - the fourth installment in his popular Victorian mystery series featuring Oscar Wilde.
About the book:
According to the publisher, "Oscar Wilde and the Vampire Murders: A Mystery" opens in the spring of 1890 at a glamorous reception hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Albemarle. All London's haut monde is there, including the Prince of Wales, who counts the Albemarles as close friends. Although it is the first time Oscar and Bertie have met, Oscar seems far more interested in Rex LaSalle, a young actor, who disarmingly claims to be a vampire...
However, what begins as a diverting evening ends in tragedy. As the guests are leaving, the Duchess is found murdered, two tiny puncture marks in her throat. No one has entered the house; no one has left. Desperate to avoid another scandal, the Prince of Wales asks Oscar to investigate the crime. What he discovers threatens to destroy the very heart of the Royal Family...
British aristocracy must have a remarkable amount of free time, judging from the output of author, TV personality and former Member of Parliament Brandreth (Oscar Wilde and the Dead Man’s Smile, 2009, etc.). Here the novelist continues to mine the bons mots of the 19th century’s most rebellious iconoclast. Like its predecessor, this story is stitched together from the fictional memoirs of Wilde’s biographer Robert Sherard, and punctuated with letters, telegrams and notes scribbled on the backs of cocktail napkins. Eventually, Brandreth provides a rousing, if overly convoluted, tale of detectives, murderers and royalty. Prefaced by a superfluous interlude between Sherard and Wilde over absinthe in Paris circa 1900, the novel picks up 10 years earlier in London at a reception hosted by The Duke and Duchess of Albemarle. It’s there that Robert and Oscar meet the intriguing actor Rex LaSalle, who claims to be a vampire. “Iced champagne is your drink of choice: blood is mine,” the actor purrs. “Have you ever tasted blood, Mr. Wilde? Fresh blood, blood that is warm to the tongue? Human blood.” Oscar doesn’t miss a beat. “No,” says Wilde. “The wine list at my club is dreadfully limited.” It’s in this vein, so to speak, that Brandreth continues apace, as the Duchess is found dead in her velvet evening gown, with punctures on her throat. Ever fearful of gossip and rumor among the bourgeoisie, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) requests a restrained investigation by Wilde and his friend Arthur Conan Doyle, already famous for creating Sherlock Holmes. Fans of Victorian popular literature will love the overstuffed plot, which tosses in everyone from Bram Stoker to Antonín Dvorák for good measure. Others may find their capacity for Brandreth’s gas-lit humor is limited by their appreciation for his extravagant literary toy box.
A witty, if wildly implausible jaunt into the boys’ clubs of a different age.
According to his website, Gyles Brandreth (pictured at left in a publicity photo from his site) is a writer, broadcaster, former member of British Parliament and one of Britain's most sought-after award ceremony hosts and speakers. Currently a reporter on The One Show on BBC1 and a regular on Radio 4's Just a Minute, his acclaimed Victorian detective stories - The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries - are now published in 21 countries.
If you would like to win my brand new copy of "Ocsar Wilde and the Vampire Murders" (courtesy of Touchstone Paperback/Simon & Schuster publicity) send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org WITH YOUR MAILING ADDRESS (you have no idea how many people forget this crucial step) so I can mail the book to you, if you are selected. Your mailing address will NOT be added to any spam list, etc.
Or, if you prefer, simply leave your address in a comment on this blog. The winner will be selected Wednesday, July 13, and notified by email (or comment, as the case may be.)