Review: The Bedlam Detective by Stephen Gallagher

Description (from cover):

Madmen see monsters–and monsters hide in plain sight.

Sebastian Becker lives in England. From a basement office in London’s notorious Bethlehem Hospital, he investigates wealthy eccentrics whose dubious mental health may render them unable to manage their own affairs. His arrival in the rural countryside to interview rich landowner Sir Owain Lancaster, whose sanity has been in question since a disastrous scientific adventure in the Amazon killed his family and colleagues, coincides with the disappearance of two young local girls. When the children are found slain, Lancaster claims that the same dark forces that devastated his family have followed him home. It is not the first time that children have come to harm in this town. Becker must determine whether Lancaster is insane and a murderer, or if some even more sinister agency is at work. Struggling on his small salary, and with unexpected help from a son who needs special care, Becker and his wife make sacrifices so Becker can stay on the case after an innocent man is convicted of the crime. The answers he seeks may be found deep in the past, in the terrifying childhood experience of two young women on Lancaster’s estate–but only if Becker can win their trust in time. From dank asylums to the lush and treacherous Amazon, through the makeshift studios of the early film industry and a traveling fair of freaks and illusions, Sebastian Becker’s search for answers brings him face to face with madmen and monsters, both imagined and real. Confronting immense danger in his hunt for the truth, he will explore murder, tragedy, and the tempestuous depths of his own mind.”

My Thoughts:
        I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I liked the way that the story flowed and found this to be a quick read. Some other reviews that I read previously to reading this book said that they had a hard time following the storyline. I didn’t. I love the sense of the setting that the author creates in foggy London and the lushness of the English countryside set in small seaside village where everyone knows everybody and little escapes the notice of the villagers. Sebastian Becket is a character that has his own darkness and his own struggles and at times he reminds me a lot of Inspector Monk from Anne Perry’s series. They are similar in that something haunts them and that darkness seems to motivate them to pursue criminal activities and see justice served in the end. The only thing that I didn’t like so much about this book was that it focuses more on the “madness” of the suspected murderer Owain Lancaster and his past and less on the actual murder investigation of the two young local girls. I would have like to had more of that and less of Lancaster’s struggles, but perhaps the author wanted us to focus more on that then the actual murder and the investigation. Enjoyable read if you are looking for a quick and light read that features murder and hints of the supernatural.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Title: The Bedlam Detective
Author: Stephen Gallagher
Series: N/A
Publisher: Crown
Publication Date: February 7, 2012
Pages: 320
Genre: Historical Mystery

Disclaimer: This book was selected from the library by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind.  All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

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