The Madness Underneath
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publication date: February 26th 2013
Published by: Harper Collins Children’s Books
ISBN: 0007432275
Publication Order
The Name of the Star
The Shadow Cabinet

The Madness Underneath is the second book in the Shades of London series, written by Maureen Johnson.

Official SummaryEdit

After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Deveaux has been living in Bristol under the close watch of her parents. So when her therapist suddenly suggests she return to Wexford, Rory jumps at the chance to get back to her friends. But Rory’s brush with the Ripper touched her more than she thought possible: she’s become a human terminus, with the power to eliminate ghosts on contact. She soon finds out that the Shades—the city’s secret ghost-fighting police—are responsible for her return. The Ripper may be gone, but now there is a string of new inexplicable deaths threatening London. Rory has evidence that the deaths are no coincidence. Something much more sinister is going on, and now she must convince the squad to listen to her before it’s too late.

In this follow-up to the Edgar Award-nominated THE NAME OF THE STAR, Maureen Johnson adds another layer of spectacularly gruesome details to the streets of London that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.


When madness stalks the streets of London, no one is safe…

There's a creepy new terror haunting modern-day London.
Fresh from defeating a Jack the Ripper killer, Rory must put her new-found hunting skills to the test before all hell breaks loose…

But enemies are not always who you expect them to be and crazy times call for crazy solutions. A thrilling teen mystery.

Plot (to be added) Edit

The story starts when a man, Charlie Strong, who runs a pub called The Royal Gunpowder Pub, is called by his barman, Sam, to look at a mysterious X drawn in chalk on the basement floor, which Sam swears he didn't draw WhIle Charlie is distracted by trying to clean it up, suddenly, a hammer rises, seemingly by itself, and strikes him to death.

Meanwhile, Rory is in therapy. She tries to avoid talking to her therapist about anything, and leaves the office. She sees a ghost and wants to talk to him and be friends, but sadly, he explodes when she touches him. Rory goes to her new flat in Bristol and tries to find information about the other Shades, or where they are now, but is unable to find any current information about them, or their location.

Rory's therapist suggests Rory be re-enrolled in Wexford, so she is.

That night, Stephen sneaks Rory down to the Tube to demonstrate her ability to terminate ghosts with a single touch for Thorpe so he won't shut down the Shades.

Stephen takes Rory to see Boo and Callum. He drops the bomb that Rory has the ability to erase ghosts by physical contact, just like a terminus. The three friends talk about this: Rory says how she got the ability, and how it works. They discuss the future of the Shades for a while, and then Stephen takes Rory back to Wexford. The next morning, Charlotte talks to Rory and Jazza, but she acts surprisingly relaxed for someone who was hit the head with a lamp by an invisible attacker. Charlotte credits this to her therapist, and gives Rory her card.

That evening, Rory and Jerome go on a date.

The next day, Rory panics when she realizes that she can't catch up with her classmates and is going to fail.

She decides to call the number Charlotte gave her. A woman named Jane answers and tells Rory to come over right away. Rory hesitates, but decides to go. Jane meets her outside with an umbrella. They go inside the house, to a room with a chair in it. Rory sits down and talks about her troubles with school and stuff, while Jane listens and tells Rory about how a man once tried to kill her years ago.

The next day, Rory reads an article about the murder at The Royal Gunpowder Pub.

She takes a test to assess her across academic performance, and does some research at the British Library, where she finds out the area around Wexford was used as an unmarked graveyard for Bedlam's dead, and formes a theory that when the last terminus was destoryed, it caused an explosion that woke the ghosts of Bedlam's patients and angered them.

Rory calls Stephen about it, and after an argument, he takes her with him to see Sam, who opens up to her about what he saw, but, unable to cope, desperately convinces himself he really did kill Charlie. Rory and Stephen go to the pub next, where Rory terminates the ghost that murdered Charlie.

Rory goes back to Wexford, where she and Jerome break up.

The next day, Claudia calls Rory to her office and tells her she's too far behind in her studies to take her upcoming exams. Charlotte invites Rory into her room and suggests that they call Jane.

Rory and Jane talk about the Sight, and Jane convinces Rory that she has to run away from Wexford immediately.

Rory stays the night, and finds a phone to call Boo the next morning. Boo tells her about the strange case they're investigating about the death of a phychic named Dawn Somner, and tells her to come over.

Rory tells Jane she has to meet some friends but that she'll come back. Jane loans Rory a big red coat and a bobble hat to desguse herself with. Devina drives Rory to Waterloo station, and Rory walks from there to the Shades new flat. Stephen gives her the facts of the case, and they investigate the scene of the crime. Rory discovers that a missing Tarot card, the Tower, eerily resembles the circumstances of Dawn's death. The discussion is cut off when Stephen gets a call from Thorpe that Rory's parents have reported her missing. He asks Boo and Callum to leave the room, and he and Rory have a fight. Rory lies that she'll go back to Wexford, and returns to Jane's house. Once she comes back, Rory's alarm bells are set off, first by a creepy guy named Jack, and second by seeing Charlotte's blazer hanging up to dry, even though Charlotte should be taking her exams. Rory puts the pieces together and tries to run, but is intimidated into leaving for the country with Jane and her followers.

Suddenly, Stephen deliberately crashes his car into their own to save Rory.

They go to a flat that belongs to Stephen's father to hide. Stephen brushes off the idea of going to a hospital, saying that he's fine, except for a headache. and Stephen talk and share a kiss, which is interrupted by Callum.

The next morning, Stephen suffers a brain hemorrhemorrhage, and falls into a coma.

The others rush him to a hospital, but his condition deterates, and they decide to pull the plug.

Over Callum's objections, Rory decides to try to bring Stephen back as a ghost, and holds his hand as he dies.

Retroactive Continuity

There are a couple of pieces of backstory and story continuity that were altered or 'ret-conned' after the first book.

The 'Shades'

In The Name of the Star, Stephen sits down to explain things to Rory and says that a 'shade' is another word for 'ghost'. Rory also refers to the term 'Shade' as a synonym for 'ghost':

"This was Alistair, whom I’d come to think of as someone who went to my school—not just some shadow in a tunnel. Or what did they call it? A shade." –Rory, The Name of the Star.

However, in The Madness Underneath, the term 'Shade' is henceforth used to label a person who possesses the Sight or who is a member of the Department of Paranormal Investigations.


Rory likes to tell her new classmates anecdotes about her family back in Bénouville, Louisiana. The most frequent subjects of these stories are the eccentric members of her own family. In The Name of the Star, Rory refers to Diane as 'Cousin Diane'. Rory also refers to her as 'Cousin Diane' for the majority of The Madness Underneath. However, at the conclusion of Chapter 22 she is mentioned as 'Aunt Diane'.

Alternate Book Cover