Among the Mad: Book summary and reviews of Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear

Among the Mad

A Maisie Dobbs Novel

by Jacqueline Winspear

Among the Mad
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2009
    320 pages
    Genre: Mysteries

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Book Summary

It’s Christmas Eve 1931. On the way to see a client, Maisie Dobbs witnesses a man commit suicide on a busy London street. The following day, the prime minister’s office receives a letter threatening a massive loss of life if certain demands are not met—and the writer mentions Maisie by name. After being questioned and cleared by Detective Chief Superintendent Robert MacFarlane of Scotland Yard’s elite Special Branch, she is drawn into MacFarlane’s personal fiefdom as a special adviser on the case. Meanwhile, Billy Beale, Maisie’s trusted assistant, is once again facing tragedy as his wife, who has never recovered from the death of their young daughter, slips further into melancholia’s abyss. Soon Maisie becomes involved in a race against time to find a man who proves he has the knowledge and will to inflict death and destruction on thousands of innocent people. And before this harrowing case is over, Maisie must navigate a darkness not encountered since she was a nurse in wards filled with shell-shocked men.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Maisie's speculative guesses .... have less logical grounding than traditional puzzle fans might prefer ... Still, Winspear does her usual superb job of portraying London between the world wars." - Publishers Weekly.

"The lamentation over economic crisis, terrorism and traumatized veterans feels both true to its setting and disquietingly contemporary." - Kirkus Reviews.

"Starred Review. Winspear breathes new life into this solid series, but the novel has enough background to make it suitable for new readers as well as highly satisfying fare for established fans." - Booklist.

"Winspear has written an intriguing psychological mystery about the damage war inflicts on a person's soul, as well as a thought-provoking look at the lengths to which the hopeless and mentally unstable might go to be heard." - Library Journal.

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Reader Reviews

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Cloggie Downunder

Another excellent instalment in the Maisie Dobbs series
“…inside the villain is a victim…”

Among The Mad is the sixth book in the Maisie Dobbs series by British-born American author, Jacqueline Winspear. After witnessing a suicide in the street near her office, Maisie is seconded by Special Branch to help investigate a case, possibly related, involving letters containing non-specific threats to the public, and finds herself visiting No 10 Downing Street. It is of concern that MI5 are also involved, but Maisie’s special skills and her unique perspective prove helpful when the team are working to a deadline. Billy’s wife, Doreen is hospitalised, and Maisie’s close friend, Pris is not coping well with her move from Biarritz.

Winspear gives her readers another interesting plot with a twist or two, and she touches on many issues: reactive depression, its various manifestations and shocking treatment regimens; the high prevalence of shell shock and the scandalously inadequate support given to affected servicemen; and research into chemical weapons and victims of experimentation.

For this investigation, Maisie has to visit the Battesea Dogs Home, hospitals, research facilities and an orphanage. She manages to save the day at no small risk to herself, as well as proving herself a supportive employer and a resourceful friend. She makes a purchase that may well come in handy in future investigations. Another excellent installment in the Maisie Dobbs series, and readers will look forward the next book, The Mapping of Love and Death.

Lynn

Not the best in the series
I have been a huge fan of the Maisie Dobbs series of books, but this one did not interest me very much. I compliment Jacqueline Winspear for the attention to detail for the period of the story, but the topic was too dark and gloomy for me this time. I realize the author wanted to capture the depression of the time and how the war devastated anentire generation of men, but there was no lightness in the book at all. Where were some of the lighter stories that make up previous books. I was counting the pages until the book was over and I really didn't care much about the resolution of the case. I do recommend the earlier Maisie Dobb books though.

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Author Information

Jacqueline Winspear Author Biography

Jacqueline Winspear was born and raised in the county of Kent, England. Following higher education at the University of London's Institute of Education, Jacqueline worked in both general and academic publishing, in higher education and in marketing communications in the UK.

She emigrated to the United States in 1990, and while working in business and as a personal/professional coach, she embarked upon a life-long dream to be a writer.

A regular contributor to journals covering international education, Jacqueline has published articles in women's magazines and has also recorded her essays for KQED radio in San Francisco. She currently divides her time between Ojai and the ...

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