"I see murder in this unhappy hand...." When Mrs. Robinson, palmist to the Prince of Wales, reads Oscar Wilde's hand she cannot know what she has predicted. Nor can Oscar know what he has set in motion when, that same evening, he proposes a game of "Murder" in which each of his Sunday Supper Club guests must write down those whom they would like to kill. For the fourteen "victims" begin to die mysteriously, one by one, and in the order in which their names were drawn from the bag....
With growing horror Wilde and his confidants, Robert Sherard and Arthur Conan Doyle, realize that one of their guests that evening must be the murderer. In a race against time, Wilde will need all his powers of deduction and knowledge of human behavior before he himself - the thirteenth name on the list - becomes the killer's next victim.
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Luncheon with Mr. Wilde
If you've ever entertained the desire to hobnob with Oscar Wilde, this book is for you. Though I found the mystery engaging and at times intense, the book revolves around the fop playwright and his friends having luncheon, drinking, and smoking. And what friends they are! The straight-laced Arthur Conan Doyle complains about Sherlock Holmes, hoping that character isn't all people will remember him by. Bram Stoker booms his laugh. And the adorable but potential-sociopath Bosie holds Wilde in his thrall.
The premise is that the deductive powers of Sherlock Holmes were based at least in part on the mega-mind that was Oscar Wilde, and let's face it, the only thing that can make a detective more interesting than the big SH himself is heart-seeking wit and an arsenal of quips. The author portrays Wilde with spooky clarity, both his charm and his failings, and after listening to this book you'll feel you met him.
The author commands not only quips and perfection of character but also weaves as much history as possible into the story. The grid is introduced, as well as the rules for modern boxing. (The latter should interest zero percent of the book's target market, but at least it's nice historical flavor.)
I have a suggestion to best enjoy the novel: Skip the epilogue / afterward. It summarizes what happens to the primary (non-murdered) characters after the story, recounting their achievements and demises. I found it depressing after the satisfying final chapter. Leave it for later, if at all.
- A.E. "I encourage people to touch the sky of human imagination and read fantasy. My blog is the Importance of the Impossible."
Oscar Wilde needs editing