“A Tightly Raveled Mind”

9781935955924_p0_v3_s114x166  Who is killing the psychiatrist’s patients and why?  These are the key questions that must be answered in this first novel by Diane Lawson, who is herself a practicing psychiatrist.

Dr. Nora Goodman. the mother of two children, separated from her husband, Dr. Richard Kleinberg, also a psychiatrist, has a very limited practice.  She sees her patients for one hour each day and has been seeing them for several years.  Their progress is exceedingly slow.  Each patient suffers from a different problem ranging from sexual fetishes to severe depression.  Using the principles of Freudian psychology, Dr. Nora struggles to help her patients find their way.

One morning her 8:00 a.m. the very punctual Howard Westerman did not appear at her office door.  It is only later in the day that she learns that Westerman died in a fire in his chemical lab.  One week later, her 9:00 a.m patient Allison Forsyth also does not appear.  Later, she learns that Allison threw herself for a downtown building.

“A Tightly Raveled Mind” is filled with very disturbed people, including Dr. Nora Goodman herself.  Lawson uses her medical background to explain in detail the problems Goodman’s patients experience.  But sometimes all her explanations get in the way of the plot.  When Nora get romantically involved with an ex-San Antonio detective, now local private detective, I as a reader wondered what makes this lady tick.

I stuck with the novel for two reasons.  One it was set in San Antonio, specifically Alamo Heights, an area I have visited several times.  And two I had to see if my hunch as to “who was behind the murders” was right.  It was.

This book would appeal to readers who are interested in psychiatry and who favor a non-traditional type of murder mystery.

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