Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear
Published by Picador, an imprint of Macmillan
Christmas, 1931. Not the happiest of holidays. Doreen, the wife of Maisie’s assistant Billy Beale, is still suffering severe mental anguish about the death of their daughter a year ago, to the point where she can barely care for their two boys. And yet, the Beales are in a better position than many in London. There are men everywhere with war injuries both physical and psychological. This is something Maisie knows all too well after her own wartime injuries and the psychological scar that is only just now healing. The pain of so many, though, is brought into stark relief when a man commits suicide with a grenade on a busy street right in front of Maisie, knocking her unconscious. As if a concussion wasn’t bad enough, an anonymous letter writer threatening the lives of Members of Parliament if something is not done to draw attention to the plight of the invisible veterans. Now Maisie must give up her solitary ways and work with Scotland Yard in order to find this man before he unleashes havoc on all of London.
This is the part where I start to get all gushy about this series. I said in my review of An Incomplete Revenge that I really, really liked it, and that it was the best of the series so far. Well, Among the Mad blew An Incomplete Revenge out of the water. Part of the appeal of Among the Mad was the necessary immediacy, the initial note giving them only two days before the writer began taking unspecified action. Unlike the other Maisie Dobbs books, it had elements of a police procedural, but it also got even deeper into the psychological ramifications of the war on the British people than any of the previous books.
Between the focus on shell shock and psychological affects of warfare and the increased sense of danger and anticipation, I could simply not put Among the Mad down and I absolutely cannot wait to pick up the next book in the series.
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