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Henry Holt and Co.
<DIV><DIV><P>In the thrilling new novel by the <I>New York Times</I> bestselling author of <I>An Incomplete Revenge</I>, Maisie Dobbs must catch a madman before he commits murder on an unimaginable scale</P><P>It’s Christmas Eve 1931. On the way to see a client, Maisie Dobbs witnesses a man commit 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. Meanwhile, Billy Beale, Maisie’s trusted assistant, is once again facing tragedy as his wife, who has never recovered from the death of their young daughter, slips further into melancholia’s abyss. Soon Maisie becomes involved in a race against time to find a man who proves he has the knowledge and will to inflict death and destruction on thousands of innocent people. And before this harrowing case is over, Maisie must navigate a darkness not encountered since she was a nurse in wards filled with shell-shocked men.</P><P>In <I>Among the Mad</I>, Jacqueline Winspear combines a heart-stopping story with a rich evocation of a fascinating period to create her most compelling and satisfying novel yet.</P></DIV></DIV>
Henry Holt and Co.
<p align="left"><span class="h1"><strong> Jacqueline Winspear on <em>Among the Mad</em></strong></span><br /></p> <img alt="Jacqueline Winspear" height="200" src="http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/books/authors/Winspear_Jacqueline.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; float: left; margin: 5px;" width="134" /> From the time I realized that in Maisie Dobbs I had a series character, I've wanted to explore further the phenomenon of the range of war neuroses known to the layperson as "shell shock," and how we see those whose behavior isn't always within the bounds of what we consider "normal." I also wanted to look again, through the lens of story and history, at the manner in which society treats wounded veterans, especially those whose wounds cannot be seen, but are of the mind and spirit. To do this, I drew as much upon personal experience as my research. <br /><br />As many of my readers know, my grandfather suffered both physical wounds and shell shock in the Great War, and as a child I remember having to be quiet around him, so as not to excite or trouble an elderly man with terrible memories. Later, in my mid-teens, I attended a school where we were required to undertake community service one afternoon each week (and we had to attend school on Saturday mornings to make up for it!). So, on Wednesday afternoons, I joined a small group who visited a psychiatric hospital--to talk to the patients, make the tea, read to them and generally offer kindness and companionship. I can recall many of the patients, some who were obviously not able to live outside an institution, and others who inspired one to wonder why they were there at all--and when you found out, the reason was often shocking. I remember one patient I talked with each week, an astoundingly sharp, intelligent man. He had been a top-ranking surgeon, one who was regarded as almost without peer. He was also a madman, a murderer. I thought of him often while writing <em>Among the Mad</em>. <br /><br />Last year, during my book tour, a military chaplain came to one of my events and stayed behind afterwards to talk to me. He told me that he recommended my books to the families of those who have suffered loss during the Iraq war, and especially to people who are trying to accommodate the special needs of a soldier suffering from what we today call Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). He added that in reading a story where such losses are suffered in a time of war, yet separated by history, it facilitates a deeper understanding of what the returning veteran might be experiencing, and challenges involved in coming home from war. <br /><br />The recent news that servicemen and woman wounded by PTSD will not be eligible for the Military Order of the Purple Heart--awarded to US military personnel who have been wounded or killed in a war zone--struck a chord. In Britain during and following the Great War there was much controversy about war neuroses, and many soldiers were denied a pension as a result of a clampdown on the diagnosis of shell shock. In my second novel, <em>Birds of a Feather</em>, one of the characters says, "That’s the trouble with war, it’s never over when it's over, it lives on inside the living." Such a sentiment is never more true than in the case of the man or woman who has served their country in a time of war, but who has to live with that war reverberating in their mind every single day for the rest of their lives. Maisie Dobbs is such a person, as is the person she is in a race to find in <em>Among the Mad</em>.