cover image The Bedlam Cadaver: A Hunt & Hooke Novel

The Bedlam Cadaver: A Hunt & Hooke Novel

Robert J. Lloyd. Melville House, $18.99 trade paper (432p) ISBN 978-1-68589-095-7

The violence and greed of Restoration-era England animate Lloyd’s riveting third Hunt & Hooke historical mystery (after The Poison Machine). When a prestigious crowd including King Charles II assembles to observe the dissection of a young woman’s body at the Royal Society of London, Harry Hunt, the society’s former observator, halts the proceedings. Though the cadaver has been presented as a recent suicide from Bethlehem Hospital (a psychiatric facility better-known as “Bedlam”), Hunt claims it’s actually the corpse of his neighbor, Diana Cantley. He joins forces with justice of the peace Sir John Reresby to determine why the two bodies were switched. As they collect information about each woman, a third disappears: 14-year-old Lady Elizabeth Percy, the richest heiress in England. When someone dumps one of the corpses in Hunt’s home, he comes under suspicion, and goes into hiding until he can clear his name. Meanwhile, tensions simmer as one of Charles II’s illegitimate sons vies to become heir to the British throne. Lloyd expertly weaves political and social history—including harrowing passages about the conditions at Bedlam—into a jaw-dropping mystery that grips from the first page and doesn’t let go. This continues the author’s winning streak. Agent: Gaia Banks, Sheil Land Assoc. (June)