Murder in Madrid

Reality of Illusion

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
308 Pages
Reviewed on (not set)
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Michelle Stanley for Readers' Favorite

“The past encroaches on the future” in Murder in Madrid: Reality of Illusion by Betty J. Turk. Louise Devereaux is inspired to publish her novel about a woman who was wrongfully hanged seventy-two years ago. She gives it to Allen Kingsley, a publisher who assumes it’s drivel until he reads a startling section mentioning his great-grandfather’s name. Alan and Beth, his wife, travel to the derelict mining town of Madrid to authenticate Louise’s story with residents. Persons who remember the tragic incident are wary of him because he resembles someone they knew. Beth has recurring visions of past events whenever she visits particular places in Madrid. Obtaining information is difficult, but what Allen has uncovered could jeopardize his marriage if Beth learns the painful truth about the past.

Murder in Madrid: Reality of Illusion is an impressive, poignant story. I thought the plot was unique and characters like outspoken Louise Devereaux, Allen, Sensi, and Harriet stood out. Louise kept an interesting journal and it’s one that will be a success if published. I’m also curious to know about her other unmentioned tales. Betty J. Turk gave an accurate description of the mining community and the harsh working conditions that miners endured before labour laws were passed. The cover illustration is ideal for the novel. The author is imaginative and writes great scenes to let one see exactly what is going on. Murder in Madrid is a sad story, but it’s one that I recommend to persons who wants to read an absorbing mystery.

Melinda Hills

Murder in Madrid: Reality of Illusion by Betty J. Turk is a multifaceted murder mystery with a touch of the paranormal that spans over 70 years and several generations of people. As a young child, Louise Devereaux experienced the tragedy of a mother wrongly accused and hanged for a murder, and the removal from town of the woman’s daughter through the mine owner and a Catholic priest. Life was rugged in Madrid before New Mexico even became a state, and the mine officials had full control over the people who lived in their town. Wanting to bring this miscarriage of justice to light, Louise, who has written her observations, has created a book and approaches Langley Publishing to make her dreams a reality. Alan Kinsley, author and publisher, is drawn immediately to Louise’s story and, ready to head to New Mexico as part of his vacation, decides to visit the old mining town to see if he can verify any of the information Louise has presented. Along with his wife, Beth, Alan feels a strange attachment to the former mining town and the people in it. They, too, have strange reactions to both Alan and Beth as Alan digs for information to back up Louise’s claims.

The two stories intertwine as Betty J. Turk masterfully recreates the past and moves the characters through the present. The more Alan learns, the more questions he has and Beth experiences more frequent moments of déjà vu. Murder in Madrid is a murder mystery with a surprising twist as well as a wonderful tale of searching for one’s roots, another aspect of the story with surprising results. Eerily descriptive and emotionally intense, Murder in Madrid combines tremendous imagination, a unique twist and fantastic depictions of people and scenery in a story that is hard to put down. Although there are some parts that are repetitive and some parts unclear as you wait for connections to be made, the story flows repeatedly from the present to the past and back again, keeping you engaged and enthralled as you gain a historic and emotional perspective. Very enjoyable and exciting story - I could hardly put it down! Well worth reading since you have virtually two stories in one with unique connections and continual revelations.

Sarah Stuart

Murder in Madrid: Reality of Illusion by Betty J Turk opens with what appears to be a delightful cameo of two old ladies, known to each other as Hattie and Wheezy, who “escape” from a retirement home in Queens to have lunch and see a Broadway show with Wheezy’s nonexistent friends from Baltimore. Hattie stops at a book signing, and Wheezy spots the author fiddling with a necklace that identifies her as a descendant of a woman hanged for murder. “Wheezy” is Louise Devereaux, widow of a Secretary of State, and her memories of political injustice span over seven decades. This time, she is determined to see justice done. Will Alan Kinsley, a journalist, be able to find out the truth behind the clues in Wheezy’s Pandora’s box?

Betty J. Turk’s brilliant characterisation hooks the reader immediately, and the standard never wavers. Alan, burdened by his wife Beth’s own troubles, jumps off the page, as alive as Wheezy, aka Louise Devereaux. Margaret Connelly, convicted and hanged for murder when Wheezy was a child, comes to life as Wheezy recounts her story, but is she right? Was Margaret innocent? Can Alan discover the truth and free her descendants from shame? Injustice is injustice, from the banishment of the Indians during the Californian Gold Rush to Watergate, but Margaret’s summary trial may have let the true murderer walk free, and Wheezy has childhood memories that refuse to be denied. Murder in Madrid: Reality of Illusion is a true thriller that will intrigue, mystify, and captivate readers through every twist and turn.