The Stranger in the Asylum

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Pub Date 06 Feb 2024 | Archive Date 31 Jan 2024

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Private investigators Lily Raynor and Felix Wilbraham have to hunt down an escapee from a French asylum, in this new, gripping World's End Bureau Victorian mystery from critically-acclaimed author Alys Clare.

London, April 1882. When cool-headed Phyllida visits the World's End Investigation Bureau to offer a curious case concerning her fiance, proprietor Lily Raynor is intrigued - and privately excited. For accepting the case means taking an unexpected trip abroad, to France.

Phyllida's fiance, Wilberforce, is currently in an asylum in Brittany, after a tragic incident which resulted in the death of his father. Did he kill him on purpose - or was it an accident?

Wilberforce's innocence looks increasingly in doubt when another murder happens at the asylum - and the evidence points to Wilberforce being the culprit. Phyllida fears for Wilberforce's wellbeing, but she can't marry a murderer! With the engagement hanging in the balance, Phyllida wants to know the truth before it's too late.

Lily and her assistant, Felix Wilbraham, journey to rural France to uncover the truth, but the case takes an unexpected turn when they discover that the accused man has escaped the asylum and is nowhere to be found. Soon the intrepid investigators are in over their heads with much greater and unexpected powers at play . . .

Private investigators Lily Raynor and Felix Wilbraham have to hunt down an escapee from a French asylum, in this new, gripping World's End Bureau Victorian mystery from critically-acclaimed author...

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ISBN 9780727823076
PRICE $29.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 18 members

Featured Reviews

Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. I absolutely loved this fast-paced, dark mystery which takes us from the streets of London, to dark hamlets in Brittany to the pilgrim trails of the Pyrenees and beyond. Wilberforce Chibb, a young English artist, has been shut up in an asylum accused of killing his own father. When a secret VIP inmate of the asylum is murdered, all of the evidence points to Wilberforce as the long as no one looks too closely, which is just what Lily Raynor and Felix Wilbraham of the World's End Bureau mean to do. However a powerful agency is out to stop them by any means necessary. Well crafted characters , wonderfully descriptive settings and a brilliant plot all contribute to a great book. I look forward to reading the entire series.

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The latest in the World’s End Bureau mystery series is a departure in both location and trajectory of some characters’ personal lives. It is also thoroughly enjoyable and well-written as all of the earlier books. Lily and Felix are enmeshed in a dangerous case that soon appears much more political and serious than it first seemed. They find themselves being chased through France, and the sense of danger and adventure threads through the whole book. Lily and Felix are such strong, well drawn characters that’s it’s a pleasure to see them working together so well. The twists and turns keep coming until a satisfying conclusion. I will very much look forward to the next book, in part of the potential personal development. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

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What an epic race this was! We have a young man who has escaped from an asylum after being accused of murdering a friend (who might be an important person), a sleuthing couple that is becoming more enamored with each other by the day, and a race around France as the three are pursued by villains who seem to know their every move. Even if you didn't already know Lily and Felix, you'd find the chase entertaining. Knowing their backgrounds, this adventure taps into each of their skills in a satisfying way. What's more, they are together for almost the entire book (something that doesn't always happen in this series).

The present-tense, omniscient narration of this series has never been more interesting than in this story. I loved seeing a glimpse of the playboy Felix used to be in his recollections of previous time sin France and enjoyed his affectionate observations of Lily as she navigated the treacherous paths they took as they fled the villains. I also appreciated the insight into Lily's mindset as they tried to maintain her composure as they encountered obstacles.

All of the books in this series are a little dark, but despite the sinister characters after them and the deaths they witnessed during their story, this was a delightful installment. I look forward to seeing what happens with Lily and Felix next!

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I came across this author recently after checking out one of their books from my local library, so I was interested in reading something else by them.

This was a historical mystery set in Paris, and I got along with it quite well. I thought the author did a good job of creating an atmosphere. I was expecting a dark atmosphere, maybe with Gothic undertones, and this wasn't that exactly, but there was definitely an atmosphere that I could escape into, and I warmed to the characters in the author's chosen setting. I think I liked this book slightly more than the previous one I read, and based on this, I will be trying some more books by this author.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for a free copy to review.

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I enjoyed Felix and Lily spending their time together on this adventure as I enjoy the ambiguity of the relationship. This one was a bit of a road trip- namely a mini tour of France. This is definitely my favourite of Alys Clare’s several series. Many thanks to Netgalley for an arc of this book.

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This had such a great mystery going on in this world, I enjoyed the Victorian time-period with this book. Overall this story worked in this mystery and the characters felt like they were meant for this plot. I enjoyed how well everything blended in this plot and hope there is more in this series. Alys Clare writes this perfectly and I’m glad I read this.

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Lily and Felix chase Wilberforce around France in this latest in a well written historical mystery series, each of which is just fine as a standalone. Wilberforce, an artist, had been in asylum after allegedly killing his father but now another man is dead and he's escaped. His fiancée goes to Lily for help and she takes on the case meeting up with Felix who is in France seeing after some personal affairs. An unusual pair of private detectives to be sure but they are an engaging couple. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. This wasn't my favorite of their adventures (not a fan of the chase and the names began to annoy me) but it's still a good read.

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I would like to thank Netgalley and Severn House Publishers for an advance copy of The Stranger in the Asylum, the fourth novel to feature Lily Raynor and Felix Wilbraham of the World’s End Investigation Bureau, set in 1882.

Phyllida Westwood asks Lily for help with her fiancé, Wilberforce Chibb, who is currently languishing in an asylum in Brittany under suspicion of murdering his father and now under suspicion of a second murder in the asylum. She wants to know one way or the other about his guilt or innocence. Lily and Felix travel to rural Brittany only to discover that Wilberforce escaped two weeks earlier.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Stranger in the Asylum, which is an adventure packed trip through Western and Southern France with a fairly, I want to say exotic, but conspiracy laden is probably better, motive. This motive is not revealed until the denouement and it takes some swallowing, but why should it, when conspiracy theories dominate the internet?

The novel is mostly told from Lily’s point of view with Felix chipping in as appropriate. She is the bureau owner, but they seem more like a partnership now with Felix turning into an incredibly resourceful young man with a smart head on his shoulders. Lily tends to be the practical, strategic one. There is a hint of unrequited romance about them as both have stronger feelings for each other than they are prepared to admit. It will be interesting to see where the author takes that.

The plot is non stop action as they attempt to find Wilberforce and dodge death as they do. There are plenty of hikes and train journeys always with a sense of tension at the danger they are in and puzzlement at why this should be. It’s exciting and, at times, breathtaking as they escape one perilous situation after another. I must admit I found it a bonus to have a fair grasp of French geography as I think otherwise all their stops and plans would have passed me by.

The Stranger in the Asylum is a good read that I have no hesitation in recommending.

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1883 Felix Wilbraham is in Paris collecting a windfall from the will of a past lover while back in London Lily has a new case. The fiance of Wilberforce Chibb, who has been committed to a French asylum for murder, wants Lily to determine if he is innocent, so that they can marry, or not. Soon Lily and Felix are united and set off to Paimpont Asylum. But Wilberforce has escaped. Can they find him and prove his innocence.
An entertaining and well-written historical mystery with its very likeable main characters. Another good addition to this enjoyable series.
An ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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A fast-paced, mystery with a dark somewhat gothic undertone. This is basically a road trip through France with excitement and danger along the way. Well crafted characters and a great plot make for a great read, I have liked all this series so far and can't wait for the next. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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A twisty and engaging historical mystery that kept me reading. I thoroughly enjoyed the 4th installment in this series.
There's changes in the life of some characters, there's a complex plot full of twists.
Gothic and entertaining, a solid plot that I enjoyed
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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A close call for the World’s End Bureau!

Ex nurse Lily Raynor’s detective prowesses continue to grow as she takes on another case for the World’s End Bureau, the enquiry agency she’s started.
Lily’s been asked to try and prove the innocence, or guilt, of Phyllida Westwood’s ex fiancé, Wilberforce Chibb. Chibb is currently residing in an asylum in Paimpont, Brittany. He's accused of murdering his father and is now an inmate of that institution. Phyllida wants the truth.
Lily’s assistant, Felix Wilbraham, has been in Paris tying up some loose ends about an inheritance left to him by his former lover Solange Devaux Moncontour. It had been withheld by the family solicitors. (Some of Felix’s past coming to light. Hmm!)
Lily telephones Felix to have him stay in Paris and meet her.
Their investigations take them into that Breton asylum, rescuing Will the young man whose been condemned for a murder he possibly hasn’t committed. They flee up to the Pyrenees, into Switzerland, back to Paris trekking unknown trails, and onto England all the time being relentlessly pursued by English and German intelligence organizations. Gun toting secret agents not withstanding, they finally make it to England. Always their pursuers seem to be if not one step ahead, then close on their heels?!
An intriguing and dark, bordering on the Gothic mystery, that smacks of plots, counter plots, and hidden secrets.

A Severn House ARC via NetGalley.
Many thanks to the author and publisher.
(Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.)

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