The Strings of Murder, Paperback
4.5 out of 5 (4 ratings)


This is a spellbinding concoction of crime, history and horror - perfect for fans of Sherlock Holmes and Jonathan Creek.

The First Case for Frey & McGray. Edinburgh, 1888. A violinist is murdered in his home. The dead virtuoso's maid swears she heard three musicians playing in the night.

But with only one body in the locked practice room - and no way in or out - the case makes no sense.

Fearing a national panic over another 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 supernatural nonsense.

McGray's tragic past has driven him to superstition, but even Frey must admit that this case seems beyond reason. And once someone loses all reason, who knows what they will lose next..."This is wonderful.

A brilliant, moving, clever, lyrical book - I loved it.

Oscar de Muriel is going to be a name to watch." (Manda Scott). "A great cop double-act...It's the pairing of the upright Frey and the unorthodox McGray that notches up the stars for this book.

Like de Muriel, they're going places." (Sunday Sport). "One of the best debuts so far this year - a brilliant mix of horror, history, and humour.

Genuinely riveting...with plenty of twists, this will keep you turning the pages.

It's clever, occasionally frightening and superbly written - The Strings Of Murder is everything you need in a mystery thriller." (Crime Review).


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Historical mysteries
  • ISBN: 9780718179823



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Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.

Review by

The Strings of Murder - Oscar De MurielIf you enjoy historical fiction, read this book. If you like crime novels, read this book. If you like horror stories read this book. If you like the occult and the supernatural, read this book. If you can stomach gruesome, read this book. If you like detective tales with two dysfunctional, diametrically opposed policemen read this book. If you love a debut novel, read this book. If you relish a well written, plot driven, atmospheric, knowledgeable story, read this book. Oh, you’ve done it again Real Readers! Given me a debut novel that lifts my heart. And I see that it may be just the first in a series with Nine Nails McGray and Inspector Frey. Oh Mr. De Muriel please write them quickly. I want more!!Imagine Mulder and Scully in Victorian Edinburgh, remember Eugene Tooms from episode 3 in the first series of the X Files? (geek? moi?) And you’re part way to the flavour of this new novel. The plot is so tight you can’t second guess, it unravels so skilfully you’re carried along desperate to know what’s going on because there are several strands to the crime itself, very clever ideas and no shortage of wit. And the dynamic between the characters are delightful. I loved it when McGray calls Frey ‘the Archbishop of Fussminster’!!! I can visualise this on the screen big or little, there’s an element of Ripper Street but it is more substantial than that.It took guts to write a novel like this. Insert the wink emoticon here. The writer wasn’t just fiddling about. Insert another wink emoticon here. And I’m not saying why as I try not to do spoilers. If you would like to know what I mean, read this book!

Review by

The Strings of Murder – A Great ReadThe Strings of Murder is the brilliant crime debut of Oscar De Muriel who has written a brilliant mixture of crime historical noir mixed with a touch of horror. It would be easy to say this is for a particular fan of historical crime fiction but it offers fans of all crime fiction a great mixture of noir and horror while being firmly set in Victorian Edinburgh.Inspector Ian Frey is summoned to meet the Metropolitan Police Commissioner in St Paul’s Cathedral where he is told they are both about to be dismissed from the force because of their lack of progress in the Jack the Ripper case that is tearing the east end of London to pieces.Frey is given hope of staying in the Police when he is sent to Edinburgh to assist in the investigation of a murdered violinist that looked similar to the murders of Jack the Ripper. He is not happy to be sent to Scotland a country he regards as backward at best, and even worse when he meets his colleague and new boss ‘Nine Nails’ McGray. It is all too much for Frey especially when he finds that Frey does not go by the ‘book’ and believes in supernatural and occult nonsense.As the body counts increases the pressure on McGray and Frey doubles especially when there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to why the murders are taking place and their intestines being removed. The only seeming connection are that all the murdered people happen to be violinists who happen to know each other, including a possible victim, Frey’s own younger brother.They are so desperate for clues so that they are able to catch the murderer they strike up a hopeful plan which seems rather macabre to Frey but knows he needs to go with it. Somehow even though both detectives are close it does not stop the murders and they do not know where to look either above or below ground. If Frey can protect his brother he and McGray may just be able to solve the case and he can go home for Christmas.Oscar De Muriel has written a spellbinding fast paced crime thriller that takes you crashing through Victorian Edinburgh. Through the use of prose De Muriel is able to recreate the city and the smells of the period as his imagery is so strong and wonderful. This is an excellent crime debut which may be the first in a series which I really hope does happen.

Review by

After an uncertain start, eventually this does gain traction and an enjoyable romp ensues. In the end, I did enjoy it, but …We begin in the London of Queen Victoria; the literary register seems uncertain, the diction, frankly, all over the place. One notices that the author is Oscar de Muriel, originally from Mexico City; one makes allowances.The protagonist, Inspector Ian Frey, serving also as the narrator, is conceited, vain and arrogant; he is snobbish and condescending. He migrates to Edinburgh, where he joins the pantomime-Scot Inspector ‘Nine Nails’ McGray, there to investigate a series of gruesome murders committed it seems, by a haunted violin.Inspectors Frey & McGray? Silly phonetic-dialect-speak? Supernatural goings-on? Absurd.And then (at last!) the penny drops: this is a joke! It’s meant to be funny! Or if not, apologies, but that’s certainly how I prefer to see it. Suddenly the anachronisms become ironic, the characterisations satirical, and, yes, now I see this as comic writing, I do enjoy it. It’s just that the signals are for too long unclear and, at the risk of sounding like the Elector to Mozart, at 400 pages, there are simply too many words : this novel is about a third too long. Soon, one begins to find it difficult to be bothered.And it’s been better done: for the bumptious anti-hero, see M.R.C. Kasasian (The Mangle Street Murders); for pratfalls and farcical plotting, M.J. Trow (The Adventures of Inspector Lestrade).I would recommend Oscar de Muriel as an author to look out for, next time round.

Review by

A most unusual and entertaining book with two unique lead characters. Set mainly in Edinburgh of the 1880's,it concerns violins and murder. The series of murders are particularly vile not to say most mysterious.This is one of those all too rare books which are different from the usual run-of-the-mill.

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