HANGING ON THE WIRE by Gillian Linscott


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 The time is June 1917; the death toll in Britain's war with Germany has reached shocking numbers; and here, in a second outing, suffragette/amateur-sleuth Nell Bray (Sister Beneath the Sheet, 1991) answers a call for help from her friend Jenny Chesney, who's assisting Dr. Julius Stroud at a small, experimental military hospital in Wales. Dr. Stroud, a passionate convert, is trying to cure his physically unwounded casualties with the new psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud. When Nell arrives at remote Nantgarrew, she finds Jenny much troubled by a shooting incident--as well as by the malicious tricks of local war-advocate Monica Minter--but less than forthcoming about personal problems that may involve patient Ralph Keyson, a divisional staff officer and the hospital's most hated man. When Keyson's found shot to death, it's not long before starchy Brigadier Moss arrives, gung-ho to close the facility and send patients back to the front. Nell's stubborn detecting may moderate those plans, but she's helpless in the face of further tragedy. The author's highly original theme and setting are ill-served by choppy, often tedious plotlines and (aside from the vigorous Nell) stretchy character development. Still, worth reading for its evocative creation of time, place, and ideas whose era was about to arrive.

Pub Date: Jan. 22nd, 1993
ISBN: 0-312-08806-X
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1992


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