Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear

Yesterday was such a gloomy, rainy (and then snowy), miserable day that it was a perfect day to finish reading this book by Jacqueline Winspear, when I wasn't doing laundry or playing with my three year old!
I haven't read any of the Maisie Dobbs books before, this is the sixth in the series, and was very impressed by how clean it is! Really, nothing objectionable at all, it was hard to believe that it wasn't written a long time ago-very few obscenities, no sex, some violence which is expected in a murder mystery-any age could read this book.
The setting is 1932 London. Maisie is a private detective but formerly was a nurse. She served during the Great War and is very familiar with the effects of war and suffering on people, especially on their mental state. She happens to witness the suicide of a war veteran on a busy London street in the midst of Christmas Eve shoppers and the next day is surprised to learn that she is mentioned in a letter threatening more violence is the needs of war veterans are not met. She is brought in to work with Scotland Yard in solving the case and does so with intelligence, hard work, and the help of her assistant Billy Beale. Billy is a war veteran but most of his difficulties stem from the loss of his young daughter several months earlier and the inability of his wife to accept the loss. She ends up in an asylum. With the trauma of war and the trauma of loss as themes, this book shows how difficult dealing with diseases of the mind can be.
I enjoyed the book, and thought that the plot was engaging although the theme of helping war veterans was a bit heavy-handed at times and the dialogue was somewhat stilted. My greatest complaint would be that I don't feel that I got to know Maisie at all. She just didn't seem to have much personality. Maybe the earlier books in the series were better at that. All in all, a good read and refreshingly clean! Rated PG.
Gotta go wake up the kids and get ready for the day, at least the sun is shining today!
Too long on the computer this morning-Lyss missed the bus, ooops!

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