Oscar Wilde and the candlelight murders

Notes on discussion at Hopwas Book Club 5 July 10

“Oscar Wilde and the candlelight murders” by Gyles Brandreth

This was thought to be one of a series of 3 in similar vein as “whodunits” with Oscar Wilde as principal character. It was thought surprising that these have not been adapted for TV as Brandreth is a minor TV celebrity. Perhaps the reason is that they are as yet too recently published.

The neo Wildeisms are thought to be original and they are thought to add much to the books character. A particular example quoted is “I’ve never sown any wild oats but I’ve planted a few orchids”

So many Wilde sayings have become so common they have passed into general usage without their attribution being generally known. An example is ” A cynic knows the price of everything but the value of nothing”.

The portrait of Wilde in the book may be thought at odds with the general perception of a languid character whereas he is here portrayed as rather active.

Brandreth was seen as doing a workmanlike rather than a great job as a writer displaying great knowledge of the life and times of Wilde. While “The importance of being Ernest” is seen as comic Wilde’s other very famous work” Picture of Dorian Gray ” is thought of as rather scary.

Some items of description were seen as noteworthy. An example quoted was “a lady of riper years”

The book was seen as enjoyable and outside the normal run of literary product


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