Thommy Ford Reads

A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library

Free eBook Review: The Lunatic at Large by J. Storer Clouston

Looking for some free books to fill your eReader?  You may already know that there are plenty of classics available as free downloadable eBooks, but if you explore enough you’ll find some free titles you might not expect: forgotten bestsellers, early genre classics, pulp fiction and more.  Here’s a free title that has caught my attention lately, with links to the download below.

J. Storer Clouston’s 1899 novel and it’s sequels were the basis for a legendary lost film from 1927. A few promotional stills are all that remains of the movie. Image courtesy of

Clankwood Asylum is home to England’s upper class lunatics, and it really doesn’t sound all that bad: there’s lots of highly competitive billiards to be played, plenty of time for ennobling conversation with prominent loonies, and a lively social scene that includes some of the most anticipated balls of the season. But the newest inmate, Mr. Francis Beveridge, has a feeling that he doesn’t belong. In fact, he has a distinct feeling that he’s not Mr. Francis Beveridge at all.

In his attempts to escape the asylum and then discover his true identity, Beveridge acts like more of a madman than any of his fellow inmates. He steals a horse, nearly drowns a psychologist, pretends to be a.) a curate b.) a sailor c.) a cavalry officer d.) a tour guide, and even dances a polka so fierce it sends the nobility running for their lives.

Storer Clouston dabbled in all kinds of writing—including the espionage thriller The Spy in Black, the medieval adventure Vandrad the Viking, and even some academic non-fiction like History of Orkney—but the whimsical Lunatic at Large and it’s sequels will probably be his enduring legacy, and rightly so. Fast paced, episodic, and hilarious, it reads a bit like the 19th century novel Monty Python never wrote, but only because they weren’t a 19th century novelist.

Available as a free download for Kindle, iPad, Nook, and just about every other conceivable device from Project Gutenberg.

Review by Matthew

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This entry was posted on November 23, 2012 by in Book Review, eBook, Fiction, Free eBook Reviews, Humor.
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