The Stockton Insane Asylum Murder

James Musgrave (Author)


The Stockton Insane Asylum MurderA Portia of the Pacific Historical MysteryVolume 3

"Madness can be seen as an intuitive probing into true reality."-R. D. Laing

Women were, among others, misdiagnosed as insane by alienists in the 1800s. My plot will involve a female child who has been institutionalized in 1887, but the aunt of this child comes to Clara Foltz to say she believes the child was admitted to the Stockton State Insane Asylum (the first such institution in California) because she knew about a murder that was committed on her wealthy parent's estate.

Clara solicits the help of Elizabeth Packard, the crusading (real) activist who was committed in the 1860s by her husband. It took Mrs. Packard three years to earn her freedom. Together with Ah Toy, they contrive a way to go undercover to gain admittance into the Women's Building at Stockton to find the child and determine what happened to have her institutionalized. Children were regularly institutionalized, as were the elderly and the feeble-minded.

  • Five of these characters will be readers who won a raffle held by the author. They will be suspect asylum patients inside the Stockton State Insane Asylum, the first public mental hospital in California. The author will be working with each reader, using their photos, descriptions and "personal idiosyncrasies" to craft the characters used in his mystery.

  • BookLife Prize, 2018: "A thrilling adventure, perfect for whodunit fans and historical fiction buffs."

  • Kirkus Review: "An entertaining mix of fact, fiction, feminism, and the occult."

Product Details

Emre Publishing Fiction
Publish Date
January 22, 2019
5.98 X 9.02 X 0.4 inches | 0.58 pounds

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About the Author

James Musgrave is the Head of UK Centre for Events Management at Leeds Beckett University. He has extensive experience in education and training across a number of sectors such as Events, Hospitality, International Manufacturing and Local Council. His areas of interest are in corporate social responsibility, change behavior, strategy and consumer insights. James has provided training and education across the world including in the USA, China, and India, and continues to be invited to talk on areas related to Sustainable Events Management.