The Bedlam Cadaver by Robert J. Lloyd – Book Review

The Bedlam Cadaver by Robert J. Lloyd – Book Review

The Bedlam Cadaver by Robert J. Lloyd

The Bedlam Cadaver
Hunt & Hooke Book Three

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In late 17th Century London rich young women are being kidnapped, then murdered. Harry Hunt, formerly of the Royal Society but now a rich gentleman, is falsely accused. To clear his name, he must rely on his abandoned scientific expertise and battle the full force of the British aristocracy.

1681. London cooks in summer heat. Bonfires are lit in protest against the King’s brother, James, heir to the throne but openly Catholic. Rumours abound of a ‘Black Box’, said to conceal proof the King’s illegitimate son is really the rightful heir.

When a wealthy merchant’s daughter is kidnapped and murdered—even though a ransom was paid—the King orders Harry Hunt of the Royal Society to help investigate.

A second woman goes missing: Elizabeth Thynne, England’s richest heiress. Her husband has a ransom letter from the same kidnappers.

Pressured by powerful men to find the killers and rescue Elizabeth, Harry uncovers a disturbing link to Bethlehem Hospital, better known as Bedlam.

But he is falsely accused of the crimes.

To prove his innocence, he must find the real culprits. Harry’s search takes him from Rotherhithe to Whitehall Palace, and to the house of Sir Peter Lely, the famous portrait-painter, in Covent Garden.

And back to Bedlam.

He has the Monarchy’s future in his hands.

Review by Julie

‘The Bedlam Cadaver’ is the third book in the Hunt and Hooke series of historical crime novels. Harry Hunt is now a man of means, courtesy of his previous adventure, when he was richly rewarded for his investigative services. The eager young man we met before has now undergone a change in attitude as well as circumstance and he enjoys the finer things in life.

Nevertheless, Harry is still interested in the work of The Royal Society and whilst attending a demonstration, makes an alarming discovery. Having proved invaluable in solving another crime, the king tasks Harry to assist again. Hot on the heels of this mystery, another crime is committed, this time the kidnapping of Elizabeth Thynne, only surviving child of the late 11th Earl of Northumberland and heiress to the enormous Percy family estates and fortune. Scurrilous individuals conspire against Henry and he finds himself accused of the crimes and becomes a wanted man. Time as a fugitive also provides him with the opportunity for some soul-searching regarding his future; although if he cannot prove his innocence, he will certainly face a death sentence.

Utilising the same literary techniques and style as in his other successful novels, the author demonstrates his extensive knowledge of early dissection methods, providing a form of entertainment in the name of scientific discovery at The Royal Society in 17th Century London. He gives us a flavour of the hustle and bustle of the malodorous streets along with the ever-present danger from militant gangs. We are also reminded that an assortment of buildings were crowded together on either side of London Bridge.

Throw into the mix an abusive husband, an illegitimate son of the king, together with a Swedish count and we have an intriguing potpourri, particularly knowing the majority of the protagonists are real historical figures with many events being taken from recorded accounts. We are also made to face some unpleasant realities of the time, namely the treatment of the mentally impaired and references to the slave trade.

Mixing fact with fiction has formed the backdrop of another gripping adventure for Harry. I found it helpful to already know something of the political climate of the time and, in particular, the history of Elizabeth Percy. The idea that she may have had a slightly older friend in the fictitious Diana Cantley was an easy leap of faith.

Fans of historical fiction won’t be disappointed with this outing for the enigmatic Harry Hunt and the ageing Robert Hooke; hopefully the author can be persuaded to give them another mystery to test their mettle again soon. I award five well-deserved stars.

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Robert J. Lloyd

Robert J Lloyd

Robert Lloyd, the son of parents who worked in the British Foreign Office, grew up in South London, Innsbruck, and Kinshasa. He studied for a Fine Art degree, starting as a landscape painter, but it was while studying for his MA degree in the History of Ideas that he first read Robert Hooke’s diary, detailing the life and experiments of this extraordinary man.

After a twenty-year career as a secondary school teacher, he has now returned to painting and writing, and is working on the fourth book in the Hunt and Hooke series.

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Bedlam Cadaver blog tour JUNE

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