Book review: ‘The Strings of Murder’, set in Victorian Edinburgh

Book review: ‘The Strings of Murder’, set in Victorian Edinburgh

The Strings of Murder is the first book in a series written by Oscar de Muriel. The series totals 6 ‘full’ books, a poem, and a kind of ‘half’ book, set between book 1 and 2.

The Strings of Murder is set in the year 1888 and follows Ian Frey, a detective from London’s Scotland Yard, who has fallen from grace and is suspended from his position. He is sent to Edinburgh, Scotland, to work under Inspector ‘Nine-Nails’ McGray, a man with a dark past which is still his main motivator for his job. McGray is the head of a fake department specializing in the occult, although McGray fully believes in the occult and his department.

Frey was sent to Edinburgh because a puzzling killing had taken place here, and Scotland Yard fears a copycat Ripper: a virtuoso violinist is brutally murdered in his home, even though his door is locked. There are black magic symbols on the walls, and some parts of the man seem to be missing… His maid swears she heard multiple people playing in his room before the murder. But with no way in or out of the room, the murder simply makes no sense. Even Frey has to admit that this case seems beyond the natural. This story is a classic whodunnit with a possibly supernatural touch, and will appeal to most people interested in the detective genre. The story is one of scandal, intrigue, mystery, character development, and much more.

De Muriel has written an unique story with interesting characters, and: who doesn’t love a Scottish accent, even one only written down?! I have not listened to them myself yet, but there are also audiobooks of the series which are supposed to be quite good. For anyone who has ever been in Edinburgh, many places mentioned in the book will feel familiar, and some things are so well described that you could follow the route taken with your mind’s eye.

– Britt van Asselt

Too long, didn’t read (TLDR): A detective story in 1888 following a stuck-up English detective who is forced to work under a very much not stuck-up -or socially acceptable- Scottish inspector, on a case that would drive many people insane…

The Strings of Murder can be bought at

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