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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2018 Laurie R. King (P)2018 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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As vapid as the time written about

I have read all the Mary Russel books. Gone from this one was the wit and repartee exhibited by the main characters. It was replaced by teenage snark by Russell, a depreciating view by her of Holmes, and loads of King's own political views on the sexes, which became very tedious. This book is one not to enjoy, but to be endured until Russell finally catches on to the key revelation that any halfway astute reader would have made many chapters ago. I thought the Pirate King was her worst book,. King has topped (bottomed) that one with a novel as vacuous as the empty heads she describes on the Lido beach. Preposterous Cole Porter song inspirations coming from the mouth of Holmes and Russell's almost instantaneous instructing on the physics of water skiing within moments of its nascent introduction to Venice beaches. Ridiculous stretches of literary device that lose the reader. Then for Russell to declare that she loves blackmail at the end of the book when in the just previous novel, the Murder of Mary Russell, King writes how Holmes HATES blackmailers. Where was her editor during all this!?!?!? King needs to get back to her roots and off her podium. A little more subtlety, a lot more mystery and investigation, and much less pontification.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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a little let down but still worth the listen.

the end was anticlimactic and the whole of the story not as complex and satisfying as most if her stories. I will keep coming back. and the narration is excellent. one of my favorite voices.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Another Triumph by Ms King

Set with the backdrop of the rise of fascism in Italy, this excellent story reminds us that it wasn’t just Germany and Hitler that embraced such a horrible movement. In fiction, she points out the dangers and warning signs that, frankly, we are seeing again today. Even being very aware and sad about the need for this education of our past, I feel this tale of bravery and beautiful difference is uplifting and among her best yet.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Excellent Narration, Terrible Story

If this had been the first book in the series, I would have given it up. The story was incredibly weak, the characters seemed to be shadows of their former selves (suddenly okay with blackmail?!), and the plot relied more on name dropping than detective work. Even though I agree with it, the political message throughout the novel was also a bit too heavy-handed for me.

I really love this series and if the author keeps writing, I'll continue listening - but I hope to see a return actual mysteries and detective work in the next book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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DETAILED BUT SLOW PACE

Mr. Homes takes a back seat to his 20 years younger wife. With no spoilers; second half of book is more interesting. The pace of the story telling is slow with a few exceptions. If you are a fan of the detail given by G.R.R. Martin's GOT series then this book is for you.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Disappointed in this Latest Russell/Holmes

I've read all the Mary Russell Sherlock Holmes series and have eagerly awaited this latest installment. I regret to say this one was not on the same level of Ms Kings other books. The plot was a bit farfetched and I had a hard time connecting with the Russell in the Island of the Mad. Sorry,Laurie R King, but I have read better from you than this latest offering.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Laurie R. King and Jenny Stirlin deliver gold

The wit, erudition and heart of Laurie R. King combined with Jenny Stirlin's beguiling and multifaceted narration deliver another fascinating listen in the Mary Russell series. Whether you are a longtime fan or new to the Russell stories, you will find much to savor in this story. It's a romp that takes Russell to London's Bedlam institution (posing as an inmate) and Holmes to meet Cole Porter at his Venice Palazzo (posing as an itinerant violinist). There is humor and suspense and a thoughtful look at issues of mental health, Fascism, and maintaining one's identity in the face of prejudice.

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Modern story keeps legend alive

Think Mary and the detective don't get involved in Personal affairs? This adventure combines challenges that would fit right into modern day politics but with the flair of the roaring twenties. Look for the gold costume atthe end.

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Best in the series

A sterling performance by Ms Sterlin. Timely story of well aimed revenge. Nice to escape with familiar characters to a time and place where appropriate retribution is possible. Thank you Ms King for a wonderful respite from 21st century chaos.

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much better than her last couple of books, but....

thank God Holmes and Russell are finally out of the Middle East and all of those deserts... But if you do not want to know anything about the book, i e spoiler alert... Stop reading this review now...

I have never taken any of these books to be a serious addition to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's character of homes, just because of the fact that Sherlock is really in these books....
But what I hold near and dear to my heart are the rules and ethics that Sherlock Holmes always abided by.... And in this book, homes not only approves of, but also participates in blackmail.... The one thing that he holds in most pristine above anything else but a criminal can do.... For that reason alone, I could not give this book five stars

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  • Sararara
  • 06-19-18

Bedlam and the Bright Young Things

Exuberant ending to this latest story, which is so much better than the previous one.
It flits from location to location - rather like a James Bond film - following a rather tenuous plot thread, but each part is distinctive and well-drawn.
More than in any others in the series, the story is firmly rooted in a specific era (interwar years). It’s nice to see both Mary and Sherlock espond to the age - and begin to age.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Wildflowers Elderfowers
  • 08-01-18

Another Delight From Laurie R King.

I love these books, a new take on Sherlock Holmes & I've read all the books in series so far. I find it really hard to put down, as it were. Very often a character in each book, being real or fictional, sends me scrambling to find out about that character, their story, so it's like a book within a book! I will never tire of Miss Mary Russell's Stories!
Jenny Stirling reads the books very well, changing accents & the pitch of her voice seems effortlessly to bring the characters to life. Her voice is very clear & she reads at a steady pace, making it easy for me to hear & follow.