Sunday, April 12, 2015

Review: Asylum: A Mystery by Jeannette de Beauvoir

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1145 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (March 10 2015)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English

Book Description

Martine LeDuc is the director of PR for the mayor's office in Montreal.  When four women are found brutally murdered and shockingly posed on park benches throughout the city over several months, Martine's boss fears a PR disaster for the still busy tourist season, and Martine is now also tasked with acting as liaison between the mayor and the police department. The women were of varying ages, backgrounds and bodytypes and seemed to have nothing in common. Yet the macabre presentation of their bodies hints at a connection. Martine is paired with a young detective, Julian Fletcher, and together they dig deep into the city's and the country's past, only to uncover a dark secret dating back to the 1950s, when orphanages in Montreal and elsewhere were converted to asylums in order to gain more funding. The children were subjected to horrific experiments such as lobotomies, electroshock therapy, and psychotropic medication, and many of them died in the process. The survivors were supposedly compensated for their trauma by the government and the cases seem to have been settled. So who is bearing a grudge now, and why did these four women have to die?

Not until Martine finds herself imprisoned in the terrifying steam tunnels underneath the old asylum does she put the pieces together. And it is almost too late for Jeannette de Beauvoir's Asylum.

About the Author

 JEANNETTE DE BEAUVOIR is an award-winning author, novelist, and poet whose work has been translated into 12 languages and has appeared in 15 countries. She explores personal and moral questions through historical fiction, mysteries, and mainstream fiction. Home is an old sea captain's house on the tip of Cape Cod, although she spends some part of every year in Montréal and in Great Britain.

My Review

Asylum: A Mystery by new to me author Jeannette de Beauvoir is a fantastic book. This is an excellent mystery story with two stories being told in the past and one in the present. It is a story about the shame of a political and religious system that colluded on a horrific scale for monetary gains. Martine LeDuc, who is the director of PR for the mayor's office in Montreal, is tasked with working with the police to ensure that four murders in Montreal do not derail tourism. What Martine and young police officer Julian Fletcher discover brings Quebec's moral failure once again to light and almost ends Martine's life.

Canadian history is quite amazing once you start looking into it. The Duplessis Orphans were the victim of a political scheme in which approximately 20,000 orphaned and abandoned children were falsely certified as being mentally ill by the province of Quebec and confined to psychiatric institutions...all in the name of greed to obtain federal subsidies. I had completely forgotten about this horrific tragedy until I read Asylum. The horrors that I read of in Asylum have sent shock-waves through my imagination about what could have happened to the children of these young mothers who gave up their babies after being subjected to guilt and promises of eternal damnation by the nuns and priests they had sought shelter with. In fact, it is bringing clarity to a situation that I did not understand before. When the reality of the Duplessis orphans came to light as these orphans became adults, the women who had given up their children in secrecy must have been paralyzed with guilt but had no one to turn to. Were the children they gave up adopted to families or did they grow up in orphanages? Because of the course the church could raise these children better than these fallen women could.  The horrors that the children who survived must go through every day. And people wonder why attendance at Catholic churches in Quebec is not what it once was. The surviving orphans were only given $10,000 in restitution. Not enough. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future.

Awesome book. Highly recommend.

1 comment:

  1. I read one other review of this book and thought it sounded so interesting. Hope to read it sometime in the next few months. What a situation!