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Saturday 14 September 2019

‘The Madness Locker’ by E. J. Russell

Published by Troubador Publishing Ltd,
28 May 2019.
ISBN 978-1789018-509

This is historical crime novel of high quality.  The story is told from multiple points of view which illuminate the 1940s in Germany for Jews and ordinary Germans.   The lives of several young people are particularly featured.  This historical background is interwoven with events in Australia in 2006.  It can take a while to pick up on the names as references to them alternate, but it all comes together as you progress.

The author tells us that he had been inspired by a true crime in Sydney, Australia in 2006 when the body of a seventy-year-old widow was discovered in wheelie bin and police were unable to identify a motive or a suspect.  He is attempting, therefore, to offer a fictional explanation of this by assuming that such a crime was probably rooted in the past.  He sees the likelihood of actions of the past leading to revenge.

The bulk of the book concerns events in Germany as Hitler’s Nazis have taken full control.  The fate of ten-year-old Ruth who is Jewish is somehow subverted as a non-Jewish girl is put on the transport in her place.   The experiences of being a German officer, of training as a doctor in the Netherlands, of living in hiding and of attempting to survive in the concentration camps are vividly portrayed.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
This is a first book.
E.J. Russell holds a Masters of Creative Writing degree from the University of Sydney and is currently undertaking a PhD in the same discipline. His debut The Madness Locker is based on a true crime story which was never solved.

Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries. 

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