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  • Location: Edinburgh

A Mask of Shadows

A Mask of Shadows

Why a Booktrail?

1889. The chilling story behind the Scottish Play….

  • ISBN: 978-1405926225
  • Genre: Fiction, Ghost/supernatural, Gothic, Historical

What you need to know before your trail

The Scottish War is coming to Edinburgh after a successful run in London. The darling couple of London theatre, Henry Irving & Ellen Terry, (the Judi Dench and Ian McKellen of their day) take their acclaimed Macbeth to the Edinburgh stage but  terror treads the boards.

A grisly message found smeared across the cobbles in blood, foretelling someone’s demise. More bloody prophecies continue to appear and get even more chilling. The Scottish play, the infamous curse, is all coming true.

Enter 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…

No one is quite sure of what will happen when the final curtain comes down…

Travel Guide

The Mask of ShadowsEdinburgh

Edinburgh is alive  with the excitement that can only come with a new theatre play. all the actors are in town and the play is highly awaited. The most famous actors of their time are due to tread the boards at the city’s Lyceum Theatre which was modelled on the famous London one.

The play is also coming under a cloud of suspicion as the last night was interrupted by the unnatural shrieks of a banshee. The actors are afraid and threatened. Even when the play arrives in Edinburgh, the fear continues and gets even worse. The opening night itself is under a dark cloud indeed with death threats, wailing and talk of witchery goings on…..and then there’s the famous curse which comes with it.

Gothic Edinburgh is the perfect place – the only place in fact that this could take place as this was the city where all this happened. Bram Stoker, author of Dracula is working on the play and there is no one more gothic and shrouded in horror that him.

Many of the events and people in the story are real – Henry Irving and Ellen Terry shine on every page they appear on, Dracula himself could well have morphed into one of the shadows, chilling as the Victorian melodrama is.

Bram Stoker, Henry Irving and Ellen Terry walk the boards, walk the streets with the cloaked gentlemens’ canes tapping on the cobbles. Candlelit alleyways and a very creepy mention of LadyMary’s Close (underground caverns) and the fact that the Lyceum Theatre is now haunted by a ghost…thought to be Ellen Terry still reliving her glory days.

Streetview Maps

A) Edinburgh - The Lyceum theatre
E) Edinburgh - City Chambers

Booktrailer Review

Susan: @thebooktrailer

I’ve loved Oscar’s books so far and so when he sent me book three, I was excited and nervous – would I like it as I did the first two? It’s about the Scottish play….curses and witches….a bit darker than the other two…

No worries this was brilliant. Scary and very chilling in parts and whatever you think of the furore around the Scottish play, this, the largely true story behind its early days and the actors on the stage is utterly spellbinding. I swear history came to life – it’s as if Bram Stoker and Henry Irving and Ellen Terry were in the room with me – you can hear the swish of their cloaks and I could imagine Dracula was there too, it was all so shadowy and gothic.

I have to go to Edinburgh soon and read this after dark  – by gaslight outside the Lyceum. I feel the chills just thinking about it. with writing this powerful and evocative, it wouldn’t be impossible. Oh and I’ve been to Mary King’s Close and found that a bit spooky so that really helped me to immerse myself in the streets of Edinburgh.

There’s something very very special about this book – Oscar de Muriel has captured the banter and the nuances of the Scottish vernacular and humour perfectly. The love.hate relationship between Frey and McGrey has me in tears one minute and jumping out my skin the next when he chastises him with yet another out of the blue scream of obscenities.

This cries out to be on the television. There wouldn’t be many changes needed to Edinburgh that’s the scary thing. But you can visualise everything so clearly such is the brilliantly sharp writing, that all you have to do is read this book.

The amount of care and attention to detail around the historical accuracy is simply stunning. I had heard some of this tory  having lived in the city years ago but never like this. In the hands of Oscar de Muriel, it’s a show stopping read.

Booktrail Boarding Pass: A Mask of Shadows

Author/Guide: Oscar de Muriel Destination: Edinburgh Departure Time: 1889

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