Russell is asked by her university classmate and close friend,
Lady Veronica Anne Beaconsfield, aka Ronnie, to locate her
missing Aunt Vivian. Vivian has exhibited signs of madness
and was placed in Bedlam. Despite its reputation, the asylum
was more like a rest home, the one place where Vivian felt
safe. Eventually she was released to visit her half-brother
Lord Selwick for his birthday, accompanied by her nurse, however
the two women disappeared on their return to the asylum.
Ronnie is a widow with a small child and no means of earning
an income, and naturally Mary agrees to investigate. She visits
Ronnie’s family home and discovers male clothing in
Vivian’s closet, along with some fabulous drawings.
A visit to Bedlam reveals that Vivian was well cared for and
her nurse was highly competent. Upon returning home, Mary
learns that the aunt and the nurse left London disguised as
brother and sister.
When Mycroft asks for Sherlock’s help in judging the
political climate in Italy, especially regarding the growing
Fascist movement, Sherlock at first protests. But Mary compares
the map before her and to a drawing she remembers seeing in
Vivian’s room, and becomes certain the woman escaped
to Venice. When Ronnie confirms that her aunt felt safe there,
Mary and Sherlock depart with dual purposes: Sherlock to appease
Mycroft, and Mary to find Vivian.
Laurie R. King has written a fascinating and intriguing mystery,
replete with a picturesque setting of Venice that made me
feel I was there. The inclusion of historical characters such
as Benito Mussolini and Cole Porter added to the atmosphere
of mid-1920s Venice and enhanced the threatening atmosphere
of the Fascists. As usual, the mystery held me captive until
the final denouement. Island of the Mad is a fast-paced, page
turning thriller that I highly recommend.
of other titles in this series
Beekeepers Apprentice #1
of the Mad #11
of Shadows #12
New York Times bestselling crime writer Laurie R. King writes
both series and standalone novels.