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Island of the Mad

Island of the Mad

A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes

Book - 2018 | First edition
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"Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes untangle the slippery threads of insanity and deadly secrets as they investigate a disappearance in the New York Times bestselling series that Lee Child called "the most sustained feat of imagination in mystery fiction today." A June summer's evening, on the Sussex Downs, in 1925. Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are strolling across their orchard when the telephone rings: an old friend's beloved aunt has failed to return following a supervised outing from Bedlam. After the previous few weeks--with a bloody murder, a terrible loss, and startling revelations about Holmes--Russell is feeling a bit unbalanced herself. The last thing she wants is to deal with the mad, and yet, she can't say no. The Lady Vivian Beaconsfield has spent most of her adult life in one asylum after another, yet she seemed to be improving--or at least, finding a point of balance in her madness. So why did she disappear? Did she take the family's jewels with her, or did someone else? The Bedlam nurse, perhaps? The trail leads Russell and Holmes through a lunatic asylum's stony halls to the warm Venice lagoon, where ethereal beauty is jarred by Mussolini's Blackshirts, where the gilded Lido set may be tempting a madwoman, and where Cole Porter sits at a piano, playing with ideas."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Bantam Books, [2018]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780804177962
Call Number: MYSTERY KING 2018
Characteristics: 306 pages : map ; 25 cm


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Mar 15, 2020

I gave it the old 50 page test, and it failed. The concept of Sherlock Holmes having a wife is a bit of a stretch to begin with, but this character seem to think she was every bit his equal. She reminded me of the lead character in the series 'Miss Fisher's murder mysteries', which is so laughable.
I'm sure these books will be highly regarded with women who want to prove their equality ( which I have no problem with ) but there are certainly better books around to do that.

Jul 10, 2019

We get to follow Mary Russell and Holmes into the Bedlam mental institution, and then to Venice - specifically Venice under early Fascist rule! - musing all the while on qualities of sanity, and who gets to define what is sane and "normal."

Mar 19, 2019

As is typical for this series, an original plot, richly detailed narrative and a lively sense of humor to accompany the adventure. Who could ask for anything more?

Jan 22, 2019

This is another great edition to this well written series!

Oct 28, 2018

I wasn't as impressed with this latest novel as I have been with others. I felt it started well and then got bogged down in Venice.

Sep 30, 2018

Another great Mary Russell mystery! In this Mary Russell has to find a woman who has been confined to a mental institution. Her search takes her and Sherlock Holmes to Venice. Of course, Venice is no match for these two indominable detectives. Not only was I caught up in the story but I leaned a lot about Venice after World War I.

PimaLib_ChristineR Sep 07, 2018

Island of the Mad is one of the most cohesive and well-plotted entries in King's series full of gems. Russell is asked to look into the disappearance of her friend Ronnie's aunt. From the hallways of Bedlam to the Cole Porter's rented Venetian Palazzo, the couple use their wits, and their street informants to find out the truth. King takes another look at the sexism and political upheaval of the time.
In the Acknowledgements she writes, "...Christine Gregorin (found at swept me from one end of the city to the other, talking politics and history. Not that this book is about politics: no, not at all." It's safe to say that the previous statement is sarcasm at its finest. And if one reads passages such as: "If one plays on fear, takes away any remotely complicated ideas, and offers people a sense of confidence and right, one's followers will beat to death any enemy they are pointed at," and thinks that, just maybe, King is taking a swipe at the current political landscape, I don't think he or she would be far off. But whether you are interested in political allegories or are just looking for a fast-paced adventure, this episode of Russell and Holmes is not to be missed.

LoganLib_Phoebe Sep 06, 2018

Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes fans will enjoy this installment in which Russell and Holmes explore Venice as Mussolini begins his fascist regime.

Aug 14, 2018

Mary Russell and husband Sherlock Holmes think they might have a few weeks' peace together, when one of Mary's oldest friends, Veronica, calls with an emergency. Her "mad" aunt, Lady Vivian Fitzwarren, whom Mary's met only once, has gone missing, along with her nurse, from London's Bedlam Hospital. Ronnie can't hunt Vivian, being tied down with a 3 yr old, so asks Russell to do so. They trace her to Venice. Holmes is asked by Mycroft to check out the city, as he's worried about the rise of Mussolini. The atmosphere is wonderfully drawn, as are the fictitious uses of Elsa Maxwell and the Cole Porters and their crowds, with the Blackshirts trying to throw cold water on any kind of fun. Mary's concern in the story of Vivian and the nurse is to make sure she's safe and making her own decisions. She is, but she's also in danger from her brother, a Fascist supporter who has been at the root of her "madness" all along. Well plotted. My only quibble is that this book doesn't allow Russell and Holmes to spend as much time together as usual. They're the most fun when they're striking sparks off each other, and that doesn't happen enough here. The book lost stars for that, in my book.

Aug 09, 2018

I enjoyed this book, mostly for its descriptions of Venice and well-research historical content, with ominous background to Mussolini's rise and the Fascist influence. The mystery "caught" my attention less than most of the past books but both the mystery and the historical references are apropos to our current time.

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PimaLib_ChristineR Sep 07, 2018

From the Acknowledgements: "And guide Christine Gregorin (found at swept me from one end of the city to the other, talking politics and history. Not that this book is about politics: no, not at all."

PimaLib_ChristineR Sep 07, 2018

"I was of course familiar with Dr. Freud's theory, that a claim of incest reveals the sex fantasies of an hysteric. But 'hysterical' is the modern's cry of witchcraft, its punishment incarceration instead of burning."

PimaLib_ChristineR Sep 07, 2018

"And a few months later, in January of this year, Benito Mussolini stood before his nation to declare himself absolute ruler of his country, and to take proud responsibility for the violence that ha put him there. As he put it, 'Italy wants peace and quiet, work and calm. I will give it these things - with love if possible, with force if necessary.'

The trains would run on time.

PimaLib_ChristineR Sep 07, 2018

"If one plays on fear, takes away any remotely complicated ideas, and offers people a sense of confidence and right, one's followers will beat to death any enemy they are pointed at."

PimaLib_ChristineR Sep 07, 2018

" well as a rumour Mycroft had heard of an invention called 'radiovision' i America, which both men agreed sounded like a pipe dream."

PimaLib_ChristineR Sep 07, 2018

"My habit was to remind myself that some men never got over the handicap of not being women,, and keep my mouth in a tight-lipped smile."


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