Among the Mad
is the 5th
in Jacqueline Winspear’s wonderful series of Masie Dobb’s books, which began during WWI in England. Masie was a nurse, who became interested in mental health and psychology while treating patients during the war, those who remained injured in their minds long after any physical wounds had healed. It is now 1931, and Masie now uses her knowledge of psychology in her work as a private investigator. She has been called in to Scotland Yard to help work on a case in which anonymous letters has been received from a person with knowledge of chemical weapons is threatening to use them on government officials and even the civilian population if Parliament doesn’t do something to support the forgotten men whose lives, bodies, and minds were broken by the War. The perpetrator has already struck, killing first innocent animals, and then a junior minister from the Home office. They don’t know who might be next, the Prime Minister or even the public at large. Either way, time is running out.
The story is shows great empathy toward the victims of war and experiment, and lets us inside Masie’s personal life. But it is first and foremost a study in detective work – one in which the reader gets some insight to the difference between the work private investigator whose knowledge and instincts can lead in very different directions as a huge bureaucratic police investigations team.