The Sign of the Devil, Oscar de Muriel

5/5 stars!

A wonderfully-thrilling final book to the Frey and McGray series, The Sign of the Devil is full to the brim of twists and turns with family secrets revealed and bombshells dropped mercilessly throughout. It was everything I had hoped it would be and so much more.

Multiple grave-robberies? Murdered asylum patients? The sign of the devil reappearing everywhere? Nothing is adding up in Edinburgh and its all the more unsettling as the prime suspect of the numerous murders is none other than Amy McGray. More commonly known as Pansy, she has spent the past six years locked away in the institution and is infamous for brutally murdering her parents and maiming her brother Aldolfus; from that point bestowing him with his more common name Nine-Nails McGray.

Due to the close proximity of the case to McGray, this calls the need for an extra set of eyes and someone who can be trusted; and so, Ian Frey is asked to come out of retirement to help. With so many entangled secrets, this book is perfectly paced with highs and lows. The detail of events and how they interlace is a masterpiece to my mind.

There are many things that I could mention here but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. I will say that I do like the undertone of romance in this book. There are many glimpses of warmth in certain relationships and friendships between certain characters which I really enjoyed.

Neither was found of long speeches about ardent love or undying devotion. They preferred a quiet, understanding silence.

p. 312

This book was laid-out very well. The pacing and structure was perfectly produced. All the characters were off doing different things so the reader finds out all the missing pieces and can tie up all the threads before the characters. You see the full picture about 6-7 chapters before the end of the book but with an angry mob and the peelers having no way on containing it, you can’t possibly tear yourself away from it.

I love the character development in this book. Ian Frey as a retired inspector and somewhat more of an independent bystander in this book is a refreshing change. It’s as though Frey is just another one of us, looking in rather than being fully involved in the events. Caroline Ardglass is hands down my favourite. She is simply so fiercely independent, I just love her. I do wish we could’ve seen more of Pansy but this isn’t something that completely changed my opinion of the series.

All in all, I loved this finale to the series. Of course it is bittersweet given it is the last instalment but I live in hope that one day Oscar de Muriel may revisit these characters and in the meantime I will just reread them whenever I so wish.

Cheerio for now!

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