Nest of Vipers
Oscar Wilde and the Nest of Vipers (title in UK)
Oscar Wilde and the Vampire Murders (title in USA)
| Reading Group
Guide | Q
& A with Gyles
The fourth of Gyles Brandreth’s acclaimed series of Victorian murder mysteries 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 the heir apparent and the prince of aesthetes are friends, at the party
Oscar appears more interested in a young actor, Rex LaSalle, who, disarmingly, claims to be a vampire...
What begins as a diverting evening ends in tragedy. As the guests are about to leave,
the Duchess is found murdered in an ante-room, two tiny puncture marks in her throat. Desperate to avoid a public scandal, the Prince of Wales asks Oscar and his friend Arthur Conan Doyle to
investigate the crime. What they discover threatens to destroy the Royal Family... and the reputation of Oscar Wilde.
‘Here’s the casting in this inventive literary history-mystery series: Oscar Wilde as Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as the admiring Watson, and Robert Sherard, the great
grandson of William Wordsworth, as a sort of Boswell. In the latest installment, throw in Bram Stoker as an expert on vampirism and the dissolute Prince of Wales as someone accustomed to having
others cover up sin and debauchery, and you have a mix that is as improbable and brilliant as Wilde himself. Somehow it all works-and makes sense. In this, the fourth in the series, it’s 1890,
and Wilde, at the height of his fame, is invited to a reception for the Prince of Wales at the London home of the Duke and Duchess of Albemarle. Wilde is intrigued by an ethereal-looking young actor,
who claims to be a vampire. The Duchess of Albemarle is later discovered dead, with two tiny but deep marks on her throat. The Prince of Wales asks Wilde to investigate, and the super-cranial crew
of Wilde, Doyle, and Stoker get to work. This book is marvelous on several levels: for bringing to life the last glittering decade of Wilde; for working in Wilde quotes in a completely graceful way;
and for giving readers an intricate mystery, delivered from several points of view. Enthralling.’ - Connie Fletcher, Booklist starred review, April 2011.
‘Oscar Wilde is back in rare form in this clever and intricate mystery that brings 1890s London vibrantly to life. Wilde and his posse-Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker, among others-are introduced
at a royal reception hosted by the lovely Duchess of Albemarle; alas, the Duchess dies unexpectedly later that night, two tiny puncture wounds in her neck. Vampires were all the rage back then, and
Stoker’s character helps provide the background information so that this makes perfectly good sense. In Brandreth’s fourth series entry (after Oscar Wilde and the Dead’s Man Smile),
he writes in an engaging tell-all style that sheds a bright light on the sexual and social mores of the period. VERDICT Great stuff for readers who love juicy historical tidbits and are intrigued
by real writers acting as amateur sleuths. The multiple points of view propel the plot forward at a lively pace, never bogging down with information dumps. Perhaps your Matthew Pearl readers have
started on this series?’ Library Journal, 2011