A Will Anderson Mystery by D. E. Johnson
Review: Will Anderson feigns a mental illness in order to gain access to the Eloise Insane Asylum, where Robert Clarke, a cousin of Elizabeth Hume, his fiancée, has been accused of murder in Detroit Breakdown, the third mystery in his historical series set in the early 1910s by D. E. Johnson.
Three men are now dead in the asylum, where Robert claims the "Phantom" is the real killer. Indeed, all have died in a manner similar to that used by the literary Phantom of the Opera. While Will is inside as a patient, Elizabeth has volunteered as an aide … but is soon recognized by a doctor and let go. She enlists the help of Detective Riordan, and begins to investigate the staff outside the walls of the asylum. Still, the pressure on her is enormous: she tries to "be there" for everyone, most particularly her mother, who is losing her mind, but now Will and her cousin Robert. She knows the danger Will is in, especially if he, too, is recognized. Can she and Riordan come up with enough information to identify the killer in time to save Will and Robert?
It is hard to believe that institutions like the Eloise Insane Asylum — a real place — could have ever existed, and it is a fitting place for a murder mystery. A sense of claustrophobia persists throughout Detroit Breakdown, giving an added dimension to the story. Still and all, this is a very disturbing mystery to read, made more so because it is based on a real place at a real time, one not so very far away and not so very long ago.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Detroit Breakdown.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of Detroit Breakdown for this review.
Review Copyright © 2012 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Detroit Breakdown: Detroit, Michigan
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Detroit Breakdown by D. E. Johnson — A Will Anderson Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: September 2012
List Price: $25.99