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Island of the Mad
Cover of Island of the Mad
Island of the Mad
Borrow Borrow Borrow
Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are back in Laurie R. King's New York Times bestselling series—"the most sustained feat of imagination in mystery fiction today" (Lee Child).
With Mrs. Hudson gone from their lives and domestic chaos building, the last thing Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, need is to help an old friend with her mad and missing aunt.
Lady Vivian Beaconsfield has spent most of her adult life in one asylum after another, since the loss of her brother and father in the Great War. And although her mental state seemed to be improving, she's now disappeared after an outing from Bethlem Royal Hospital . . . better known as Bedlam.
Russell wants nothing to do with the case—but she can't say no. And at least it will get her away from the challenges of housework and back to the familiar business of investigation. To track down the vanished woman, she brings to the fore her deductive instincts and talent for subterfuge—and of course enlists her husband's legendary prowess. Together, Russell and Holmes travel from the grim confines of Bedlam to the winding canals and sun-drenched Lido cabarets of Venice—only to find the foreboding shadow of Benito Mussolini darkening the fate of a city, an era, and a tormented English lady of privilege.
Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are back in Laurie R. King's New York Times bestselling series—"the most sustained feat of imagination in mystery fiction today" (Lee Child).
With Mrs. Hudson gone from their lives and domestic chaos building, the last thing Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, need is to help an old friend with her mad and missing aunt.
Lady Vivian Beaconsfield has spent most of her adult life in one asylum after another, since the loss of her brother and father in the Great War. And although her mental state seemed to be improving, she's now disappeared after an outing from Bethlem Royal Hospital . . . better known as Bedlam.
Russell wants nothing to do with the case—but she can't say no. And at least it will get her away from the challenges of housework and back to the familiar business of investigation. To track down the vanished woman, she brings to the fore her deductive instincts and talent for subterfuge—and of course enlists her husband's legendary prowess. Together, Russell and Holmes travel from the grim confines of Bedlam to the winding canals and sun-drenched Lido cabarets of Venice—only to find the foreboding shadow of Benito Mussolini darkening the fate of a city, an era, and a tormented English lady of privilege.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book Chapter One
    Sherlock Holmes and I stood shoulder to shoulder, gazing down sadly at the tiny charred corpse.
    "She should never have left us alone," I told him.
    "She had no great choice in the matter."
    "There's always a choice."
    "Strictly speaking, perhaps. But it's best that she disappear, at least for a time. Even putting aside the death penalty, I cannot see her thriving in prison."
    I had to agree. "She is probably better off in Monte Carlo." And so saying, I snatched up the smouldering pan and tipped my attempt at a chicken dinner into the rubbish bin. Our long-time housekeeper, Mrs Hudson, had recently abandoned us, selfishly choosing freedom over being tried for murder—and thereby risking our lives to my poisonous culinary skills. "Cheese sandwiches, then? Or shall we walk up to the Tiger?"
    He glanced at the kitchen clock. "Do you suppose Tillie might have a table, up at the Monk's Tun?"
    Three hours later, we were making our leisurely way towards the gate in the stone wall encircling our house. I had pocketed a torch as we left, but the midsummer sky held enough lingering brightness that we did not need it as we returned across the Sussex Downs. Tillie had outdone herself, with a perfection of cool dishes on a warm afternoon: subtle lettuces, an iced soup, cold meats, hot rolls, and a strawberry tart the likes of none in the land.
    The one drawback was, the Monk's Tun had begun to collect a reputation. Not that I begrudged Tillie her success—although I might wish we had not chosen to stop in the same night as a carload of Young Things on their way up from Dover.
    Not that they were drunk, merely festive; nor were they loud, exactly, merely difficult to ignore. They were my age—in fact, two of them I dimly recognised: a young man with dark Byronic curls who had been the year before me at Oxford, and a girl whose face appeared in the illustrated Society pages of the newspapers. My eyes kept going to them, two sleek girls in Paris frocks, two clean, tanned lads in casually worn suits that would have cost Tillie's barman a year of his salary.
    The second time Holmes had needed to repeat something, he craned around to look at the table of merrymakers on the other side of the old room.
    "Friends of yours?"
    "Good heavens, no."
    "Then why are you watching them so closely?"
    "I wasn't. Not really. Just—they seem like an alien race, down here in Sussex. Don't you think?"
    His grey eyes fixed on me, but before he could speak, Tillie came up to greet us, and the next course arrived, and the moment was lost.
    However, Holmes never forgot anything. When he pushed open the gate an hour later, he said, "Russell, do you regret the choices you made?"
    Little point in pretending I didn't understand. "Regret? Never. I might occasionally wonder what life would have been, had things been different, but it's mere speculation. Like . . . like trying on a dress I'd never actually wear, just to see what it feels like."
    He closed the gate and worked the latch. We picked our way through the grassy orchard, hearing the faint texture of sound from the hives—drones cooling their homes from the day's heat. Near the house, the sweet odour from the old-fashioned climbing rose drew us forward.
    Mrs Hudson had planted the flower, long before I knew her. Mrs Hudson, now gone away, to . . . But before yearning could overcome me, the night was broken by the jangle of...
About the Author-
  • Laurie R. King is the New York Times bestselling author of fifteen Mary Russell mysteries, five contemporary novels featuring Kate Martinelli, the Stuyvesant & Grey novels Touchstone and The Bones of Paris, and the acclaimed standalones Lockdown, A Darker Place, Folly, Califia's Daughters (written under the pen name Leigh Richards), and Keeping Watch. She lives on California's Central Coast.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 2, 2018
    Set in 1925, Edgar-winner King’s well-plotted 16th Mary Russell novel (after 2016’s The Murder of Mary Russell) finds Mary helping Ronnie Fitzwarren, an old friend of hers from her first year at Oxford, with what Ronnie calls an emergency. In 1922, Ronnie’s eccentric Aunt Vivian was confined to Bethlem Royal Hospital (aka Bedlam Asylum) after several violent outbursts, including the attempted murder of her half-brother Edward, for whom she “always demonstrated a particular antipathy.” Now Vivian has disappeared, along with her nurse, while on leave from the hospital to celebrate Edward’s 50th birthday. Mary’s search for Vivian takes her first to Bedlam and later to Venice, accompanied by her husband, Sherlock Holmes, who has been sent by his brother, Mycroft, to monitor fascism in Italy. There they have an unpleasant encounter with Edward, an admirer of Mussolini, and befriend composer Cole Porter, who assists them in revealing what’s behind Vivian’s animus toward Edward. This ranks as one of the better recent installments in this popular series. Agent: Zoe Quinton, Literary Strategist.

  • Kirkus

    April 15, 2018
    Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, seek a friend's missing relative in the most unlikely places.The year 1925 finds Veronica Fitzwarren's aunt, Lady Vivian Beaconsfield, still resident in Bedlam, where she's been clapped up for years and years. But things are about to change. Released for a week's home leave for the 50th birthday of her half brother, Edward, Lord Selwick, Vivian goes AWOL on the way back to the asylum along with Rose Trevisan, her nurse. When Ronnie begs her old Oxford friend Russell to find her missing relative, Russell thinks the best way to gather information will be to get herself committed to Bedlam. She doesn't find Vivian there, of course, but she does turn up enough information to send her haring off to Venice, where Mycroft Holmes just happens to want to send his brother on still another hush-hush diplomatic errand. The food, the wine, the location are all superb, and soon Russell and Holmes have insinuated themselves into the social circles of legendary columnist/hostess Elsa Maxwell and nonpareil songwriter Cole Porter. A gander at the locked asylum on the island of San Clemente convinces Russell (Mary Russell's War, 2016, etc.) that she's very close to finding Vivian, whose tenancy in Bedlam turns out to have been voluntary for the past few years, and she's quite correct. But her most shocking discoveries come both after she's finally caught up with the missing woman and well beforehand, in an obsequious scene between the Porters and a military emissary of Il Duce that suddenly turns ugly.Precious little for Sherlock Holmes to do, and not much more for his wife, not even in the way of King's trademark dialogue between the two. Come for the mystery, stay for the sightseeing, the gibes at fascism, and the heroine's climactic masquerade as silent film star Harold Lloyd.

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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