Island of the Mad by Laurie R. King

June 20th, 2018 Kimberly Guest Post, Review 16 Comments

20th Jun
Island of the Mad by Laurie R. King
Island of the Mad
by Laurie R. King
Series: Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #15
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are back 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 he 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 Bedlam'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...

Book Series CRIME historical mystery

Give a warm welcome to Sophia Rose, who is here today sharing the Island of the Mad by Laurie R. King. Come see what Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are up to as they work to solve another mystery.

Sophia Rose’s Review

The life in the Roaring Twenties can seem like a mad, mad world, but their latest case brings Russell and Holmes face to face with the truly mad, the dangerously ignorant, and a hard look at their own eccentric life.

Island of the Mad is the fifteenth installment in the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series. The books are strong on suspense, but also follow closely with global and personal historical events for the main characters so they must be read in order.

In the latest, Mary and Holmes are just settling back into their life in Sussex after a string of daring cases when a phone call from an old friend has them back in action once again. Ronnie’s eccentric, mad aunt has gone missing along with her nurse and a stash of jewels. Was it voluntary or something much more sinister and if it was voluntary, is it a good idea to have a woman from a madhouse loose?

Starting from the beginning has Mary investigating the inside of Bedlam and confronting both the mad and the current day treatment of the mad along with her journey to the ancestral home to discover if the answer lies within the family to Lady Vivian’s disappearance. Meanwhile, Mycroft wants Holmes to look into the disturbing reports about the Fascists in Italy under Il Duce, Mussolini. Mary worries that Holmes is getting too old for this sort of thing and Holmes worries that he may just be too old for his own wife. The case takes them across the continent to Venice where Holmes and Mary are faced with some of the wealthiest and powerful ‘bright young things’ drinking and partying in the palazzos and waterways of Venice. I confess that Sherlock Holmes and his violin and Cole Porter on his piano in a few jam sessions was probably my favorite scenes in the book.

Island of the Mad presents a good mystery, but leans just as heavily toward historical fiction the way it delves into the activities, thinking, and social mores of the day from those on the lunatic fringe, to those put away for madness, to the powerful and growing Fascist movement, women’s issues, homosexuality, and the darkness that can drive a person to seek asylum in a madhouse. Russell and Holmes take turns with the narration and both ponder on all these things.

There were some thrilling moments as Russell and Holmes worked the case and a mystery, but this was tucked in with so much more that I think those who enjoy fiction set in the Roaring Twenties are as likely to love this as mystery fans. As always, I was well-pleased to get another installment in a long-time favorite series. The author has carefully preserved the spirit of the Sherlock Holmes world from the beginning and keeps it authentic even into these stories that explore his later years and the clever and resourceful young woman who is his partner in every way. Definitely, recommend the series to Sherlock fans and to historical mystery lovers.

Sophia Rose has stopped by to share her thoughts on Island of the Mad by Laurie R. King. Come see what Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes have been up to. Click To Tweet

About Laurie R. King

Laurie R. King

Laurie R. King is the New York Times bestselling author of 27 novels and other works, including the Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes stories. She is probably the only writer to have both an Edgar and an honorary doctorate in theology.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate. Associate Reviewer for Delighted Reader blog.

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw and Howler. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Find @kimbacaffeinate on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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16 Responses to “Island of the Mad by Laurie R. King”

    • Sophia Rose

      Holy Canoli, yes, Carole! The Beekeeper’s Apprentice is book one. I would love to know what you think when you meet them in that first book.

  1. sjhigbee

    Glad to hear this series is still going strong with plenty of interesting historical detail, alongside the adventures.

  2. Lily B

    oh man looks like I will have to pick up book number one, I’ve seen it around and thought the premise looked interesting

  3. Laura

    I’m excited for this one! I’ve read all of the others and this is next up on my TBR! Great review. 🙂

  4. Debbie Haupt

    Ok can I just say WOW. Love the cover first, love the mix of historical fiction and a mystery and why did I not know about this (has to be read in order) series. LOL I’m not sure I’m devoted enough to go all the way back to book 1.
    Sophia Rose fab review!!!

    • Sophia Rose

      Haha! I get it. Somewhat intimidating when there are fifteen of them, but I wouldn’t be a pal if I didn’t push you at those first ones. They are still some of the best in the series with a thriller aspect and intensity to them that some of the later more complacent books don’t have.
      It is a gorgeous cover. 🙂