(3 customer reviews)


  • Author Name: Peter Tyrer
  • Publication Date: 28/10/2020
  • Format: Paperback

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SKU: 9781913551117 Categories: , , Tags: , , ,


It is 1967. A mysterious disease appears in an English town. People fall down suddenly, poleaxed, and many die. Is it caused by a bacterium, a virus, a poison? Nobody knows, and top doctors squabble over its cause. But then two junior doctors and a young anthropology student, who has recovered from the disease, join together.

The three investigators continue their work to find out the cause of the disease, a virus whose worst effects are only shown in those who are very anxious. They think they have found the cause and the solution. But will they be in time?

This is a gripping dystopian tale, very much relevant to events unfolding today and written by Emeritus Professor of Community Psychiatry at Imperial College, London, Peter Tyrer whose long-standing interest in the connections between mental and physical health informed the novel.

Peter Tyrer is Emeritus Professor of Community Psychiatry at Imperial College, London. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, a Fellow and Honorary Fellow (by Distinction) of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. He is still actively researching environmental treatments for mental illness and health anxiety. These outcomes come to the fore in Poleaxed. He has published 620 original articles and thirty-five books, mainly for specialist readers but sometimes for the general public, and his current quest is to make the intricate details of medical and mental health practice more accessible to the general public, by writing fiction from the viewpoint of an insider, not a spectator or a voyeur. He has also written a play (The Death of King John) and an operetta about Robert and Elizabeth Browning. Peter lives in Newark, Notts.

3 reviews for Poleaxed

  1. John Patrick

    With perfect timing, here is a prescient account of how a potentially serious epidemic in the UK is first confined to a provincial town and finally safely eliminated. Written in 2019 about a fictional 1960s event, Peter Tyrer shows experts at odds over the management of the outbreak, with personalities bristling with ambition and prejudice. And we read how the insights of the patients themselves, once they were sympathetically listened to, revealed the vital clues that explained why some people succumbed while others escaped.

    All this in a story told with wit and pace, the main characters brought to life through making their fair share of mistakes as well as solving the epidemic’s central challenge: what is the cause, and how do we stop it?

    I write this in November 2020 when the UK has still not mastered its contemporary COVID epidemic. Tyrer is a medic with long experience in psychiatry, politics and publicity. Officials and politicians in Ministry of Health and the Cabinet Office should all read this – and not wait to get it as a Christmas gift. And we can all use this novel to reflect on our own contribution to the people’s response to this contemporary threat to our society.

  2. NetGalley review

    Very interesting premise. I appreciated how the author used his knowledge in psychiatry to develop the plot. If only everyone in the real world had as much respect for each other as Medenby citizens did in adhering to a lock down at the beginning of the pandemic!

  3. Philip Graham

    This is a terrific read with unrivalled contemporary interest. A small town is hit by an epidemic , cause unknown. Managing the crisis pits doctors with different vested interests against each other. As they fight for professional dominance, a patient makes an unexpected, valuable contribution to understanding what is going on. Peter Tyrer, the author, as a psychiatrist with a special interest in health anxiety, is well equipped to describe the pattern of events with authority. As a bonus, he writes extremely well so that the reader is carried along, both fascinated by the issues raised and wanting to know what is going to happen next. A brilliant novel.

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