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Island of the Mad

Narrated by: Jenny Sterlin
Length: 11 hrs and 14 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (22 ratings)
Regular price: £25.69
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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

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Roberta
  • Glasgow, East Renfrewshire, United Kingdom
  • 02-02-19

Brilliant!

They're all brilliant. I can't wait for the next one. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Self- and fan-indulgent

This one felt self-indulgent, until I realised the bits I thought were most over the top were also bits that appealed to all my own interests (a world in which Cole Porter, Fascists and lesbian utopians coalesce? And why not?!). It bore the marks of research - the long stretches on the city of Venice - in a much more heavy-handed way than some of her other books, and it felt slapdash throughout, but it's still fun if you're already a fan of hers, or just enjoy works that reference other things you like.

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Back on track

This was so much better than the previous story, which was boring at times and too far fetched. This moves on from the loss of Mrs. Hudson, and is another of the exciting stories I’ve enjoyed from Laurie R. King. The only thing that disappointed was the end, which seemed very abrupt, and left things a bit unfinished. Apart from that, it was a great listen.

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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.

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  • Victoria L Snyder
  • 03-07-18

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Anna
  • 21-06-18

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. #Provocative #WorldWarII #WakeUpCall #Tagsgiving #Sweepstakes

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Manuel
  • 13-07-18

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-07-18

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.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • C. Johnson
  • 19-02-19

Sherlock Holmes? This series continues to devolve.

I honestly stopped enjoying this series about 4 books in. I'm an avid fan of Sherlock Holmes, but this series has devolved into utter drivel and nonsense, having little to do with Sherlock Holmes. Jenny Stirlin gets full credit for doing a typically stellar rendition of the written material, but this is my last foray into the rambling verses that do little to perpetuate the historical significance of the character that so many ACD fans love.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Ru
  • 27-11-18

Great story — Venice!

As a Mary Russell, Sherlock Holmes fan, I loved this story! Venice In the 20’s was a intriguing location. The whole Cole Porter inclusion was fun. Ms. King always does a great deal of research for historical details of the story. I will admit, I was relieved when the “Island” turned out to be in and around Venice, which is still mysterious.
I will also agree with other reviewers, however, that Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes finding “satisfaction” in blackmail is counter intuitive to every bit of their character. Not convincing, and I wonder why Ms. King posed it in such away.
This story turned out to be a fun mystery, history, and Holmes is still a hero. With a violin and sword. Yes.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ricky J.
  • 25-08-18

Best Book Yet!

My favorite author keeps outdoing herself. Her descriptions of Venice made me feel like I was there!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sparkle
  • 20-08-18

I relish Laurie R.King's indefatigable prose!

This is one of my favorites of the series. My age demographic probably will enjoy the Cole Porter character and description of the Lido in the time setting more than some younger listeners...who is Cole Porter!?
Regardless of the setting or story line I could listen to King's writing and Jenny Sterlin's narration endlessly. I will be listening to the entire series again and again!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-08-18

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Susan
  • 04-08-18

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful