#31 A Mask of Shadows by Oscar de Muriel

1889. The Scottish Play is coming home.

But before the darling couple of London theatre, Henry Irving & Ellen Terry, take their acclaimed Macbeth to the Edinburgh stage terror treads the boards.

A grisly message found smeared across the cobbles in blood, foretelling someone’s demise.

As the bloody prophecies continue to appear Edinburgh’s own beloved pair – Detective ‘Nine-Nails’ McGray & Inspector Ian Frey – enter the scene. Frey scoffs at this blatant publicity stunt, while McGray is convinced of supernatural affairs.

As they scrutinise the key players, they discover that Terry, Irving, and his peculiar, preoccupied assistant (one Bram Stoker) all have reasons to kill, or be killed…

But one thing is clear. By occult curse or human hand, death will take bow the night the curtain rises.

Paperback | 496 pages.

Publisher: Penguin (6th April, 2017).

Read – 23rd April 2020.

This was very easy to read. I have gotten used to Muriel’s writing style and I love the characters he’s created. I did read this at a slower pace than I would normally but that’s mostly because there was so much content and I wanted to make sure that I read it all.

McGray and Frey are back at it again and while I felt adrift to their characters in the second book, I found myself firmly planted behind them once more in this book. The humour of the two characters were explored a lot more in this book and I felt that I was learning more about the characters as the story unveiled. I still long for the moment that Frey breaks out of his posh stiff upper lip! But that’s just my opinion!

I felt that McGray regained some of his attributes in this book. At the end of book 2 he felt a little lost and I wasn’t sure how that would affect him in the longterm. I still think that there is a lot more of McGray that can be uncovered but as the series continues I hope to learn more about the two characters that I already love so much.

The characters also kept me guessing and led me on a merry dance through the book.

It is one of my dearest wishes to visit Edinburgh. I haven’t yet but I will do one day. I have managed to create a vivid imagination of the Edinburgh McGray and Frey live in and using the books details, I am able to stand alongside the characters and the story unfolds.

I took a break between finishing the second book of this series, and starting this third one and I think the break was a good idea because it allowed me to read this with fresh eyes and enjoy the story a lot more. The dynamic between McGray and Frey is always changing and that’s what keeps their relationship fresh, because I can never anticipate what is going to happen to them next.

I thought this was excellent. I really did enjoy it. I have heard that some people have disliked the slightly different style of writing in this book but I welcomed it because I felt like it gave me an insight into the characters that I hadn’t seem before and it also provided much humour. I can’t wait to read book 4 now and already have book 5 lined up in my amazon basket!!

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