The Bedlam Detective
Stephen Gallagher
Broadway/Crown, Feb 5 2013, $15.99
ISBN: 9780307406651

In 1912 logically he knows he could have done nothing to prevent the lynching he witnessed in America. However unable to move on from that troubling incident Sebastian Becker quit Pinkerton to return home to London; accompanied by his wife Elisabeth, their disturbed genius son Robert and his unmarried sister-in-law. He works for the Ministry of Lunacy as a special investigator.

His current assignment is to determine the sanity of Sir Owain Lancaster who recently came home from the Amazon where his family and team died in what the man said in his book “The Empire of Beasts” was an attack by monsters who followed him to England to finish the job. Becker arrives by a delayed train due to a wax misconception in Arnmouth while a hunt for two missing girls occurs. When their mutilated bodies are found, most locals including Detective Stephen Reed believe insane Sir Owain killed the children; while the accused insists his Amazonian beasts murdered them. Becker joins the inquiry.

The Bedlam Detective is an exciting Edwardian Era mystery that focuses on a small village where denial is the norm as the locals prefer either Sir Oswain to be insane or an outsider committed the atrocities. The keys to this strong historical are the cast including the title character, his family and the villagers are fully developed and a powerful look at mental health in 1905 as psychopathic beasts roam freely amidst the populace.

Harriet Klausner

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