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Historical Mystery Review: The Insanity of Murder by Felicity Young

The Insanity of Murder by Felicity Young (Dr Dody McCleland #4)


Egalley thanks to HarperCollins

Synopsis from Goodreads
The fourth engrossing mystery in the acclaimed Dr Dody McCleland series, featuring Britain's first female autopsy surgeon.

To Doctor Dody McCleland, the gruesome job of dealing with the results of an explosion at the Necropolis Railway Station is testing enough. But when her suffragette sister Florence is implicated in the crime, matters worsen and Dody finds her loyalty cruelly divided. Can she choose between love for her sister and her secret love for Chief Inspector Matthew Pike, the investigating officer on the case?

Dody and Pike's investigations lead them to a women's rest home where patients are not encouraged to read or think and where clandestine treatments and operations are conducted in an unethical and inhumane manner. Together Dody and Pike must uncover such foul play before their secret liaisons become public knowledge - and before Florence becomes the rest home's next victim.


Amazon kindle US/UK

8/10

* * *
 While I know I missed a lot happening in the previous two books of this historical mystery series, The Insanity of Murder still reads really well on its own. And what a read that is!


 It starts with an explosion as a political act on behalf of suffragettes, and of course Florence is involved. However, something goes wrong and Florence is ordered to keep silent about her involvement. She is suspected nonetheless and to avoid dreaded force-feeding ( a policy implemented towards suffragettes on hunger strike in prison) fakes mental health problems.

At the same time Dody and Pike's new investigation connects the death of a mentally unstable woman to a certain rest home, and Florence is impulsive enough to try to help them by making her doctor commit her into that same home...

This book might be unhurried but at the same time it's intense and devious in its darkness. Anyone interested in historical fiction might know how little power women had at the time, and Miss Young's books underline that fact in many different ways. Dody is constantly in danger of losing her career and social status if her connection to Pike is uncovered, and while their affair is sweet and almost shy, they have to keep it a secret.

The plight of women in mental asylums is chilling to the bone. There are discarded wives, older relatives, heiresses and generally abused and unhappy women labelled with hysteria and experimented upon by unscrupulous medical professionals in the name of science. 

Dody suspects that the rest home under the investigation  conducts illegal operations which pretty much mutilate women to "cure" them from hysteria. When Florence goes there undercover, Dody is horrified, and both her and Pike rush things forward to bring their investigation to an end. At the same time there are few subplots happening at the same time, which tend to slowly change Pike's mind on suffragettes' movement.

I found this historical mystery not only delightful, but extremely informative about the dark and desperate side of suffragette movement and other revolutionary groups of the time. Enjoyable, gripping and recommended! 


* * *
Хоть я и знаю, что пропустила многое, не прочитав вторую и третью книгу серии, Сумасшествие Убийства всё-равно читается очень хорошо само по себе.

Книга начинается со взрыва, в котором как-всегда замешана Флоренс, младшая сестра главной героини - доктора Доди МакКлеланд, однако что-то идёт неверно, и Флоренс приказано во что бы то ни стало молчать о своём вмешательстве. Под подозрение она попадает всё-равно, и чтобы избежать скандально известного насильственного кормления, применяемого к голодающим суффражеткам в тюрьме, Флоренс притворяется нервнобольной.

В то же время Доди и Пайк расследуют убийство, ведущее их к дому для душевнобольных, где как они верят проводят нелегальные операции на поциентках во имя прогресса науки. Уже не в первый раз  я замечаю, что книги мисс Янг подчёркивают мрачное положение женщин в эдвардианскую эпоху, отчаянную борьбу суффражеток, прибегающим к террористическим актам, огромное количество женщин, выброшенных в сумасшедшие дома, чтобы отвязаться от ненужной жены, родственницы, наследницы и т.д. под ярлыком "истерии" и подвергающимся аморальным и изощрённым терапиям во имя их излечения.

Флоренс, неуклюже пытающаяся помочь своей сестре, просит своего доктора отправить её в тот самый дом под подозрением, и Доди, в ужасе от её поступка, делает всё, чтобы ускорить расследование и вызволить свою сестру из рук потенциальных убийц. 

Книга эта вышла интенсивная и довольно мрачная. Несмотря на неспешный ритм, я не могла оторваться, и очень даже рекомендую в качестве атмосферного чтива для любителей этого исторического периода.
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