|[Buy the book here]|
As is so often the case, the reasons for the murder lie hidden in the past. Jem and Will must delve deep (sometimes even physically) to uncover the truth. The vulnerabilities and inner strengths of both leading characters were perfectly described. I especially liked the unspoken love and respect both had for each other.
Not since reading Lisa Appignanesi's 'Mad, Bad and Sad' I came upon a story that gave such an illuminating insight in the early days of treatment of mental illnesses. We are witness to the last traces of phrenology (the theory that thought that measurements of a skull might predict or prove madness or a criminal mind), primitive brain surgery and discussions amongst the physicians on the speculative techniques to manage or possibly cure mental illness and the patients.
The story itself is devilishly clever. It reminds us that souls can be lost and won. And those lost souls may reside in the twilight or eternal darkness. Because of the vivid descriptions I recommend that 'Dark Asylum' should only be sold with a warning that your mental health may be in mortal danger while reading it.
Obviously E.S. Thomson's 'Dark Asylum' is highly recommended.
Update [10th April 2018]: The first two novels, 'Beloved poison' and 'Dark Asylum' have now been optioned by the television production company behind the primetime hit, 'The Durrells'. A proud Elaine Thomson said: "Sid Gentle Productions have optioned them and are working on getting a writer to adapt them for the screen. Then it will be put to the BBC and ITV, and I believe Netflix are interested."
Who will be the lucky actress to play a believable Jem Flockhart? I've sent Sid Gentle Production a suggestion: Honeysuckle Weeks, who played Sam Stewart in 'Foyle's War'.