Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear


This is the sixth in the series that I have enjoyed listening to.  Though we have moved into the Depression era (the beginning of 1932) the Great War continues to be an important backdrop to the story.

Maisie is recruited to work with the police, in particular a high-ranking Scot named Robbie McFarland, to find a madman sending threatening letters to the PM and others. While others are looking into the ranks of the Oswald Mosley followers, the Irish, labor, and other such groups, Maisie and her assistant Billy find the guilty party. He was a brilliant scientist, very helpful during the war in research on the chemical warfare experienced and undertaken by the British, but occasionally had to be hospitalized for mental health matters.

The author makes the point that madness does not always present itself in a murderous way. Maisie mentions her own struggles in coping with her experiences from the war and Billie’s wife falls into a depression following the death of one of their children. Doreen is initially sent to a very old-fashioned asylum which she might never have been able to leave. Fortunately Maisie knew a more progressive doctor and Doreen is transferred to a modern institution where she began her recovery.

Jacqueline Winspear, Among the Mad, Henry Holt and Company, 2009, 320 pages (I listened to the audiobook). Available at the UVa and public libraries, and from Amazon.

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