The Strings of Murder by Oscar De Muriel (Frey & McGray: Book 1)

Posted on Apr 6, 2015


The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel published by Penguin books

The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel published by Penguin books
Picture courtesy of Penguin

I picked this book up by chance from my local supermarket as sadly we have only one bookshop left, not including WHSmiths or the Works; the latter of which does not seem to sell new works, and it was the only place that I saw it for sale at the time. I was of course drawn to the cover and even though the old adage sprang to my mind about never judging a book by its cover, I am so very glad that I did with this one.

It is 1888 and London is in a frenzy with the Jack the Ripper slayings. Inspector Ian Frey is one of the detectives involved in the case amongst others and is happily engaged to be married to a beautiful young woman. Suddenly his world comes tumbling down around him and he is forced to go reluctantly to Edinburgh to solve a crime that may or may not be a copycat killing of the Ripper murders. In fact it is something else entirely to which he is quite unprepared.

Once there he is teamed up with a rough and tumble loose cannon called Detective Adolphus ‘Nine Nails’ McGray, who heads a secret department to do with crimes linked to the occult.

What follows is a race across 19th century Edinburgh and an array of characters and language I immediately warmed to, that made me smile. The relationship between the two detective’s is one of indifference but grows to respect towards the end although both are still not the best of friends; and the killer comes as a surprise too. There are some uncomfortable moments between the two when English Frey is almost racist towards his Scottish counterpart and ‘boss,’ in the way he uses words or speaks to him, but this starts to become banter as the story progresses, although you would not catch me saying anything of the sort to a Scotsman in case I may find my head across the other side of the road!

The writing is fast-paced and I read through this book in a matter of days whenever I got a chance to pick it up. This is the first in a series of their adventures,  and I already felt comfortable with the characters and the setting.

The scope for these two is immense, especially in places like the Highlands and the islands and other tight-knit communities for it would suit the crimes they investigate, of the unusual and strange.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough and suggest you buy it immediately. It will become an addiction and leave you breathless for more.

To purchase this book please go to the following sites (UK only):


For those outside of the UK please always try to visit your local bookshop before they close for good…

Posted in: Books