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Cover image for Among the mad : a Maisie Dobbs novel
Among the mad : a Maisie Dobbs novel
Large print ed.
Publication Information:
Waterville, Me. : Thorndike Press, 2009.
Physical Description:
471 pages (large print) ; 23 cm.
Number in series:
bk. 6.
It's Christmas Eve, 1931. On the way to see a client, Maisie Dobbs witnesses a 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. After being questioned and cleared by Detective Chief Superintendent Robert MacFarlane of Scotland Yard's elite Special Branch, she is drawn into MacFarlane's personal fiefdom as a special adviser on the case. (Bestseller).
Conference Subject:


Call Number
LP MYSTERY Winspear, J.

On Order



In the thrilling new mystery by the "New York Times"-bestselling author of "An Incomplete Revenge," Maisie Dobbs must catch a madman before he commits murder on an unimaginable scale.

Author Notes

Jacqueline Winspear was born in the county of Kent, England. She was educated at the University of London's Institute of Education. After graduation, she worked in academic publishing, in higher education, and in marketing communications in the UK. In 1990, she emigrated to the United States. She was working in business and as a personal/professional coach when she decided to try writing.

Her first novel, Maisie Dobbs, won the Agatha Award for Best First novel, the Macavity Award for Best First Novel, and the Alex Award. She is the author of the Maisie Dobbs Mystery series. She has also won the Agatha Award for Best Novel, the inaugural Sue Feder/Macavity Award for Best Historical Mystery, and the Bruce Alexander Award for Best Historical Mystery. Her title, A Dangerous Place, made The New York Times High Profile titles list. Journey to Munich, a book in the Maisie Dobbs Series, made the New York Times bestseller list in 2016.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Bestseller Winspear's sixth Maisie Dobbs novel (after 2008's An Incomplete Revenge) raises the stakes considerably for her psychologically astute sleuth. On Christmas eve 1931, a man Maisie passes on a London street detonates a bomb, killing himself and slightly wounding Maisie. This traumatic event turns out to be linked to threatening letters the British prime minister starts to receive, the first of which mentions Maisie by name. Maisie joins a high-powered investigative team devoted to averting the cataclysmic disaster promised by the unknown author of the messages. By providing the letter writer's perspective, Winspear removes some of the mystery. In addition, Maisie's speculative guesses about the profile of the criminal, while accurate, have less logical grounding than traditional puzzle fans might prefer. Still, Winspear does her usual superb job of portraying London between the world wars. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus Review

Psychologist and private investigator Maisie Dobbs (An Incomplete Revenge, 2008, etc.) returns for the sixth time in this bleak, haunting mystery. Her almost preternatural intuition can tell Maisie there's something broken in a wounded veteran seconds before he pulls the pin on a grenade, killing himself and stunning a street full of Christmas shoppers. Maisie is saved at the last moment by her diligent assistant, Billy Beale, but the Depression has hit Britain hard in the winter of 1931, and there are other desperate men still lurking. This is a London full of suffering souls, from Billy's wife, Doreen, sick with grief over their lost daughter, to lonely Maisie herself. When an anonymous letter threatens more violence to come, Scotland Yard calls on Maisie to track down the would-be killer. Special Branch and Military Intelligence join them, sometimes cooperating, something butting heads, as they comb fascist meetings and asylums for someone capable of visiting the gruesome deaths of the Great War on innocent civilians. As the investigation closes inexorably on the madman in a race against the clock, Winspear manages to offer a final glimmer of hope among the despair. The lamentation over economic crisis, terrorism and traumatized veterans feels both true to its setting and disquietingly contemporary. Well-crafted and well worth reading. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs returns in this fifth series entry, taking place from December 1931 to January 1932. Maisie is still based in London, which her father calls a desperate sort of place, a theme that pervades this bleak historical mystery, strong with period detail and culture. Recovering (or not) from World War I continues to be a theme, with Maisie, the victims and killers, and nearly everyone else around her all still suffering the effects of the Great War. In a significant change from previous series entries, Maisie does not work alone but is seconded to the Special Branch of Scotland Yard and must integrate her special brand of investigation into the police team. Another change and one that makes for a tighter plot and faster pace than Winspear's previous efforts is the limited time frame of the investigation, as the letters threatening the prime minister and all of London contain short deadlines. Series readers will be pleased with Maisie's continued growth and healing, even as she grieves the death of her fiancé, and will empathize with her assistant Billy's struggles on behalf of his depressed and suicidal wife. Winspear breathes new life into this solid series, but the novel has enough background to make it suitable for new readers as well as highly satisfying fare for established fans.--Moyer, Jessica Copyright 2008 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

In her first novel, DREAM HOUSE (Harper/HarperCollins, $24.99), Valerie Laken has written the perfect haunted house story for these unnerving times. While the ghosts that come with this property don't rattle chains or shake the bed at night, they manifest themselves in subtler and crueler ways, by reminding us that the homes we love may not love us back. When Kate and Stuart Kinzler buy a ruin of a house in the historic district of Ann Arbor, Mich., Kate's father, a successful contractor who's footing a chunk of the cost, is horrified. But Kate has her reasons. "Haven't you ever just fallen in love with a house?" she asks plaintively, dismissing the corroded pipes, the rotting woodwork, the lack of insulation and - ominously, for those reading for symbols - the crack in the foundation. A schoolteacher who once dreamed of being an architect, Kate is sure she's found the ideal project to poke in the eye of her perfectionist father: "I want to stare hard at something flawed and love it anyway." Stuart, a lackluster computer programmer with plenty of his own emotional baggage to unpack, feels forgotten by his wife in her single-minded zeal to remake the place in her image. Even in their new bed, "he was alone as ever." Clearly, this is a couple in trouble, and the last thing they need to hear is that their new home was the scene of a murder. Laken divulges that piece of information with the delicacy of a poet and the punch of an old hand at the suspense game. In a prologue so carefully constructed it could satisfy as a short story, we view that long-ago tragedy through the eyes of a teenager earning his college tuition by cleaning up crime scenes. It's the sad story of the oldest son in a poor family turning a gun on the violent man who has been abusing their mother, and it isn't over yet. Unbeknownst to Kate and Stuart, the killer has served his 18-year sentence and is now standing outside in the garden. Having assembled the plot machinery for a sturdy thriller, Laken does none of the expected things. Instead, she uses the framework to support an ambitious study of people in search of a home - "home" being a metaphor for the elusive something that defines and validates the self. Kate may be the main character, but everyone in the novel has a relationship with the old wreck she's restoring. What she alone comes to understand is that every house has its own history, which can't be scrubbed clean, and its own soul, which can't be bought. Jacqueline Winspear carries on her champion work on behalf of traumatized war veterans, "men who are still waiting for their armistice," as she puts it, in AMONG THE MAD (Holt, $25), the sixth novel in an outstanding historical series featuring Maisie Dobbs, a battlefield nurse in World War I who has gone into practice as an investigative psychologist in post-war London. By 1931, England has finally begun emptying its mental institutions of the 80,000 men who've been given a diagnosis of shell shock, while ignoring those "who are in a cell in their mind." But when one of these walking wounded detonates a grenade on Christmas Eve, Maisie is tapped for a government investigation into terrorist groups that recruit mentally unstable veterans to carry out their anarchist agendas. Maisie may have tenuous credentials for serving in such high-powered company, but Winspear uses her visits to hospitals and mental asylums to document the outdated protocols used for treating war-damaged psyches. Like Maisie, the novel's storytelling style is efficient and humorless, but deeply empathetic. The narrator of Sean Doolittle's suburban suspense novel, SAFER (Delacorte, $24), is an English professor from Massachusetts who forgets his Robert Frost when he and his wife relocate to Clark Falls, Iowa, "a pleasant little university town 1,500 miles from Boston." On their first night in their new home at 34 Sycamore Court, Paul and Sara Callaway are the victims of a home invasion, and before Paul can be reminded that "good fences make good neighbors," he's on patrol with the local watch committee and getting cozy with the residents of his development. Too cozy, as it turns out, when he's arrested for sexually exploiting the 13-year-old girl next door, a bogus charge cooked up by the tyrannical ex-cop who runs the neighborhood association as if it were his private police force. Despite an over-the-top ending, Doolittle cleverly articulates the vulnerability of a close-knit community where those friendly people who know your name also know your darkest secrets. When held in the hand, THE MANUAL OF DETECTION (Penguin Press, $25.95) looks positively sinister, with an all-seeing golden eye glaring out from its bilious green cover. When opened, this first novel by Jedediah Berry lives up to the eerie packaging, reading like something lifted from Ray Bradbury's "Dark Carnival" and dropped into a Kafka setting. True to its title, the book offers precise instructions for the novice detective. (Chapter 6, "On Leads," opens with the droll directive to "follow them lest they follow you.") Charles Unwin, a clerk for one of the professional operatives in a vast, sterile agency, does his best to obey the manual when he's promoted to detective, intent on finding his predecessor, who has vanished. As he navigates the rainy streets of an unnamed and impersonal city, he's led closer to Caligari's Travels-No-More Carnival, which may be the repository of all knowledge "or simply a construct of his own fancy." Either way, Unwin's uncanny adventures make for a memorable trip. In her first novel, Valerie Laken has written the perfect haunted house story for these unnerving times.

Library Journal Review

Winspear's sixth Maisie Dobbs novel opens on Christmas Eve 1931, as Maisie witnesses an injured war veteran-turned-beggar blow himself up on a crowded London street. This tragic event turns sinister the next day when the prime minister receives a menacing letter that demands the government immediately render aid to alleviate the suffering of the unemployed, particularly war veterans who served their country dutifully. If no action is taken within 48 hours, there will be consequences. Is this one human's act of madness, or does the conspiracy run deeper? Psychologist and detective Maisie partners with Scotland Yard to prevent the loss of even more life. Winspear has written an intriguing psychological mystery about the damage war inflicts on a person's soul, as well as a thought-provoking look at the lengths to which the hopeless and mentally unstable might go to be heard. Recommended for all historical mystery collections. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 10/1/08.]-Susan O. Moritz, Montgomery Cty. P.L., MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.