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Among the Mad (Maisie Dobbs, Book 6) by…

Among the Mad (Maisie Dobbs, Book 6) (edition 2009)

by Jacqueline Winspear

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Title:Among the Mad (Maisie Dobbs, Book 6)
Authors:Jacqueline Winspear
Info:Picador (2009), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Read, audio
Tags:cozy mystery, world war I, female detective

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Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear

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Maisie is, once more, reaching out for a troubled WWI vet when he explodes a grenade. She is bruised and battered but charges on. Asked to assist, by Special Branch, to find who is threatening London with mass mayhem unless veterans receive their promised pension. Conflicted her concerns for veteran's causes and the need to work with the government that is failing them; she agrees. ( )
  jamespurcell | Jul 26, 2015 |
When Maisie witnesses a man blow himself up she gets caught up in a government investigation into the situation, with a lot of complicated politics and a look at the treatment of the disabled veterans in the period (which was appalling by the way) and touches on the development of psychiatric services, for both the shell-shocked and for Billy's wife who has never recovered from the death of their daughter.

It's an interesting glimpse into the world of the period through slightly modern eyes. There are times when it reflects things quite well and then there are times when the writing about the future is writ large. It's an interesting read, sometimes I wonder about how stretched Maisie is sometimes and how she copes with juggling a lot of stuff. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Dec 15, 2014 |
Maisie partners (a bit unwillingly) with Scotland Yard to find a mad man with chemical warfare know-how and who plans to use it against innocent citizens unless his demands for better treatment of the former soldiers are met. This book has Winspear's impecible pacing and attention to historical detail but, mercifully, no one in Maisie's extended family died in this book, as had happened in previous books. It was beginning to be a bit of "waiting for the other shoe to drop" in each book to find out who among her friends or family was going to die next. Interesting plot and learned lots of historical facts I was not fully versed in. ( )
1 vote whymaggiemay | Oct 4, 2014 |
Another good Maisie Dobbs - I enjoyed her being 'elevated' to working with some higherups at Scotland Yard and she being able to show her talents to an appreciative audience. The side plot about Billy's wife was hard to read sometimes, but I appreciated that the author (obviously) did research on depression in women at the time, and included it in the story. ( )
  sriemann | Aug 11, 2014 |
My first venture into audio books. I was satisfied with Orlagh Cassidy when she reads as Maisie Dobbs but as none of the others. Of all the Maisie Dobbs books, I feel this was one of the most aggressive re the WWI era in Britain. Long outlays about how the veterans were not being recognized upon their return as well as how the actual conscription/enlistment standards were presented to the British public. This is fine with me because the narrator retained a neutral tone of voice. The story revolves around the poisonous gas weapons; their development by the enemy; Britain's attempt to find an antidote and lastly the effect these weapons had upon the fighting men and women and their families both during the war and after. The plot is highly explosive (no pun intended) since Maisie has to participate to the best of her investigative and professional ability among high-ranking Scotland Yard officials and skilled governmental politicians, not the least of whom is the Prime Minister himself. It is a plot with many twists and the final turn leaves the reader with an exceedingly realistic, albeit despondent, look to the future. As a side line but perhaps to mirror the plight of veterans and the civilian population regarding a society's treatment of the less fortunate, Maisie takes it upon herself to help the Beale family deal with the tragic aftermath of their young daughter's death by using her influential contacts. This is not what I would call "hammock reading" if one is looking for an easy read. It demands the attention of the reader but well worth the concentration. ( )
  HugoReads | Jul 14, 2014 |
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Like Maisie, the novel’s storytelling style is efficient and humorless, but deeply empathetic.
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"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat. "We're all mad here.
I'm mad. You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
A short time ago death was the cruel stranger, the visitor with the flannel footsteps ... today it is the mad dog in the house. One eats, one drinks beside the dead, one sleeps in the midst of the dying, one laughs and sings in the company of corpses.

French doctor serving at Verdun in the Great War
Dedicated to my wonderful Godchildren:

Charlotte Sweet McEwan
Charlotte Pye
Greg Belpomme
Alexandra Jones

Keep True to the Dreams of thy Youth
~ Friedrich von Schiller
First words
London, Christmas Eve, 1931

Maisie Dobbs, Psychologist and Investigator, picked up her fountain pen to sign her name at the end of a final report that she and her assistant, Billy Beale, had worked late to complete the night before.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312429258, Paperback)

Jacqueline Winspear on Among the Mad

Jacqueline Winspear From the time I realized that in Maisie Dobbs I had a series character, I've wanted to explore further the phenomenon of the range of war neuroses known to the layperson as "shell shock," and how we see those whose behavior isn't always within the bounds of what we consider "normal." I also wanted to look again, through the lens of story and history, at the manner in which society treats wounded veterans, especially those whose wounds cannot be seen, but are of the mind and spirit. To do this, I drew as much upon personal experience as my research.

As many of my readers know, my grandfather suffered both physical wounds and shell shock in the Great War, and as a child I remember having to be quiet around him, so as not to excite or trouble an elderly man with terrible memories. Later, in my mid-teens, I attended a school where we were required to undertake community service one afternoon each week (and we had to attend school on Saturday mornings to make up for it!). So, on Wednesday afternoons, I joined a small group who visited a psychiatric hospital--to talk to the patients, make the tea, read to them and generally offer kindness and companionship. I can recall many of the patients, some who were obviously not able to live outside an institution, and others who inspired one to wonder why they were there at all--and when you found out, the reason was often shocking. I remember one patient I talked with each week, an astoundingly sharp, intelligent man. He had been a top-ranking surgeon, one who was regarded as almost without peer. He was also a madman, a murderer. I thought of him often while writing Among the Mad.

Last year, during my book tour, a military chaplain came to one of my events and stayed behind afterwards to talk to me. He told me that he recommended my books to the families of those who have suffered loss during the Iraq war, and especially to people who are trying to accommodate the special needs of a soldier suffering from what we today call Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). He added that in reading a story where such losses are suffered in a time of war, yet separated by history, it facilitates a deeper understanding of what the returning veteran might be experiencing, and challenges involved in coming home from war.

The recent news that servicemen and woman wounded by PTSD will not be eligible for the Military Order of the Purple Heart--awarded to US military personnel who have been wounded or killed in a war zone--struck a chord. In Britain during and following the Great War there was much controversy about war neuroses, and many soldiers were denied a pension as a result of a clampdown on the diagnosis of shell shock. In my second novel, Birds of a Feather, one of the characters says, "That’s the trouble with war, it’s never over when it's over, it lives on inside the living." Such a sentiment is never more true than in the case of the man or woman who has served their country in a time of war, but who has to live with that war reverberating in their mind every single day for the rest of their lives. Maisie Dobbs is such a person, as is the person she is in a race to find in Among the Mad.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:20 -0400)

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Maisie Dobbs must catch a madman before he commits murder on an unimaginable scale.

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