Among the Mad

Maisie Dobbs #6 by Jacqueline Winspear
Published on:  April 1, 2010

Among the Mad

In Among the Mad, Maisie Dobbs is out on a busy street with her employee on Christmas Eve when she witnesses a WWI veteran commit suicide. The next day a letter is received addressed to the Prime Minister indicating there will be more loss of life unless something is done to help these veterans; however, the letter goes on to mention Maisie by name. Scotland Yard’s Special Branch calls Maisie and the detective work begins.

There are 2 things I really love about this Maisie Dobbs mystery. 1) I appreciate the method of how Maisie Dobbs completes her detective work. Her approach is to look at what happened and start asking questions – the right questions – the questions you and I might ask as a reader. Then, she tries and finds somebody who can answer those questions. It’s methodical and we get answers slowly, but it feels natural within the confines of the story.

The 2nd thing that I really loved about this particular Maisie Dobbs mystery is how delicately the story speaks on veterans issues, veteran experiences, and veteran health care and rehabilitation. In addition, the author is able to show us the inner workings of the mental health care system of 1931/1932, the red tape involved, and the different British government agencies and how they work together (or don’t work together). All of these aren’t issues of just 1931/1932, but are still issues today. Within the confines of the story we are shown the part of history that we sometimes forget or know little about – which is how mustard gas and chlorine gas were used in WWI and the effects it had on soldiers both physically and mentally. The story even reaches out past soldiers and veterans and shines a light on how different mental health facilities treated patients and the methods they practiced and employed on patients who were not veterans.

Audio Book Review: Although this is only my 2nd Maisie Dobbs mystery, I have come to not only appreciate how well written these stories are, but I have also come to appreciate how well produced and voice-acted the audio books are. One example of this incredible work is how tired Maisie sounded on the audio book at the beginning of the story after she is injured from an explosion, but is called up by Scotland Yard before she has any time to rest and recuperate. She just sounded so tired…. Another example of the quality work of the voice-actress is whenever Maisie ‘implores’ people to listen to her in times when things look dire. Maisie has a voice and it comes through loud and clear on how important the subject at hand is to her.

All in all, I highly recommend this book and the audio book as well. I look forward to getting the next one too and hopefully my small library has it on audio for me to check out.

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