Book review: Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear

among-the-mad (1)

  • Series: Maisie Dobbs (Book 6)
  • Paperback: 303 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Reprint edition (November 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312429258
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312429256

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

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. Tapped by Scotland Yard’s elite Special Branch to be a special adviser on the case, Maisie is soon involved in a race against time to find a man who proves he has the knowledge and will to inflict destruction on thousands of innocent people.

In Among the Mad, Jacqueline Winspear combines a heart-stopping story with a rich evocation of a fascinating period to create her most compelling and satisfying novel yet.

Buy the book:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble 

Meet the author:

winspear-275 (1)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 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, Jacqueline 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 lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is a regular visitor to the United Kingdom and Europe.

Jacqueline’s grandfather was severely wounded and shell-shocked at The Battle of the Somme in 1916, and it was as she understood the extent of his suffering that, even in childhood, Jacqueline became deeply interested in the “war to end all wars” and its aftereffects. As an adult her interest deepened to the extent that, though she did not set out to write a “war” novel, it came as no surprise that this part of history formed the backdrop of Maisie Dobbs and other books in the series. The unique and engaging character of Maisie Dobbs is very much a woman of her generation. She has come of age at a time when women took on the toil of men and claimed independence that was difficult to relinquish. It was a time when many women remained unmarried, simply because a generation of men had gone to war and not come home.

“The war and its aftermath provide fertile ground for a mystery. Such great social upheaval allows for the strange and unusual to emerge and a time of intense emotions can, to the writer of fiction, provide ample fodder for a compelling story, especially one concerning criminal acts and issues of guilt and innocence. After all, a generation is said to have lost its innocence in The Great War. The mystery genre provides a wonderful vehicle for exploring such a time,” explains Ms. Winspear.

Jacqueline’s first novel, Maisie Dobbs, was a National Bestseller and received an array of accolades, including New York Times Notable Book 2003, a Publishers Weekly Top Ten Mystery 2003, and a BookSense Top Ten selection. In addition, the novel was nominated for 7 awards, including the Edgar for Best Novel—only the second time a first novel was nominated in this category. She subsequently won the prestigious Agatha Award for Best First novel, the Macavity Award for Best First Novel; and the Alex Award, which is presented annually by the American Library Association in conjunction with the Margaret Alexander Edwards Trust. Maisie Dobbs was published by Soho Press in hardcover and by Penguin in paperback, an edition that spent almost four months on the Independent Mystery Booksellers Bestseller list in 2004.

Connect with the author:   Website   Facebook   Blog

REVIEW:

Book six of the Maisie Dobbs series opens with a “bang”!  Literally.  Maisie is injured as she witnesses a man’s suicide on a busy London street.  Perplexed by the suicide, Maisie “presence” is requested by Scotland Yard’s Elite Special Branch to ferret out the writer of a threatening letter to a high government official who is suspected of instigating the suicide-bombing, and is determined to pursue the investigation using her skills and wits without the interference of the male detectives assigned to the same case.  Her assistant Billie Beale proves once again to be a valuable asset to the case, despite the fact that his family life is going through a distressing emotional upheaval.

Having followed Maisie Dobb’s story from the previous six books in the series I was curious to see how the explosion from the suicide would affect her.  As a nurse who suffered from PTSD (war neurosis as it was termed after the war) Maisie has had to learn to identify the source of the mental anguish she suffers from and come to terms with the loss of the love of her life.  Maisie is a strong, intelligent and compassionate woman who works constantly to keep the past at bay.  She’s human and we can feel her struggle.

This book can be read as a “stand-alone” novel however, Maisie Dobbs’ character has been developed quite nicely through the previous six books and it would be a shame not to have read them first.

An entertaining and informative segment in this series that a reader of historical fiction would enjoy. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series “The Mapping of Love and Death”.

Tour Stops

Tuesday, March 1st: My Book RetreatMaisie Dobbs

Wednesday, March 2nd: Jancee ReadsMaisie Dobbs

Wednesday, March 2nd: Reading RealityBirds of a Feather

Thursday, March 3rd: View from the BirdhouseBirds of a Feather

Thursday, March 3rd: BookNAroundPardonable Lies

Thursday, March 3rd: Puddletown ReviewsPardonable Lies

Thursday, March 3rd: From the TBR Pile – Messenger of Truth

Monday, March 7th: Books & TeaAn Incomplete Revenge

Monday, March 7th: Olduvai ReadsAn Incomplete Revenge

Tuesday, March 8th: #redhead.with.bookAmong the Mad

Wednesday, March 9th: Lavish BookshelfThe Mapping of Love and Death

Thursday, March 10th: Joyfully RetiredA Lesson in Secrets

Monday, March 14th: Queen of All She ReadsElegy for Eddie

Monday, March 14th: Lis Carey’s LibraryLeaving Everything Most Loved

Tuesday, March 15th: Nighttime Reading CenterLeaving Everything Most Loved

Tuesday, March 15th: Lit and LifeLeaving Everything Most Loved

Wednesday, March 16th: Emerald City Book ReviewA Dangerous Place

Wednesday, March 16th: History from a Woman’s PerspectiveLeaving Everything Most Loved

Monday, March 21st: A Bookish AffairLeaving Everything Most Loved

Monday, March 21st: Book NerdA Dangerous Place

Wednesday, March 23rd: Carina GonzalezA Dangerous Place

Thursday, March 24th: My Reader’s BlockLeaving Everything Most Loved

Thursday, March 24th: Lis Carey’s LibraryA Dangerous Place

Tuesday, March 29th: Curling Up by the FireJourney to Munich

Tuesday, March 29th: nomadreaderJourney to Munich

Wednesday, March 30th: A Chick Who ReadsJourney to Munich

Thursday, March 31st: A Bookish Way of LifeJourney to Munich

Friday, April 1st: A Bookish AffairA Dangerous Place

Friday, April 1st: My Book RetreatJourney to Munich

Monday, April 4th: Raven Haired GirlJourney to Munich

Tuesday, April 5th: Broken TeepeeJourney to Munich

Wednesday, April 6th: Reading RealityJourney to Munich

Thursday, April 7th: Dwell in PossibilityJourney to Munich

Monday, April 11th: Luxury ReadingJourney to Munich

Tuesday, April 12th: M. Denise CostelloJourney to Munich

Wednesday, April 13th: A Bookish AffairJourney to Munich

Thursday, April 14th: A Bookworm’s WorldJourney to Munich

Monday, April 18th: Joyfully RetiredJourney to Munich

Tuesday, April 19th: Lavish BookshelfJourney to Munich

Wednesday, April 20th: bookchickdiJourney to Munich

Wednesday, April 20th: Emerald City Book ReviewJourney to Munich

Thursday, April 21st: Nighttime Reading CenterJourney to Munich

Monday, April 25th: Time 2 Read – Journey to Munich

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