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The Mapping of Love and Death (Maisie Dobbs Series #7)

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In the latest mystery in the New York Times bestselling series, Maisie Dobbs must unravel a case of wartime love and death—an investigation that leads her to a long-hidden affair between a young cartographer and a mysterious nurse.

August 1914. Michael Clifton is mapping the land he has just purchased in California's beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, certain that oil lies beneath its surface. But as the young cartographer prepares to return home to Boston, war is declared in Europe. ...

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Overview

In the latest mystery in the New York Times bestselling series, Maisie Dobbs must unravel a case of wartime love and death—an investigation that leads her to a long-hidden affair between a young cartographer and a mysterious nurse.

August 1914. Michael Clifton is mapping the land he has just purchased in California's beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, certain that oil lies beneath its surface. But as the young cartographer prepares to return home to Boston, war is declared in Europe. Michael—the youngest son of an expatriate Englishman—puts duty first and sails for his father's native country to serve in the British army. Three years later, he is listed among those missing in action.

April 1932. London psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs is retained by Michael's parents, who have recently learned that their son's remains have been unearthed in France. They want Maisie to find the unnamed nurse whose love letters were among Michael's belongings—a quest that takes Maisie back to her own bittersweet wartime love. Her inquiries, and the stunning discovery that Michael Clifton was murdered in his trench, unleash a web of intrigue and violence that threatens to engulf the soldier's family and even Maisie herself. Over the course of her investigation, Maisie must cope with the approaching loss of her mentor, Maurice Blanche, and her growing awareness that she is once again falling in love.

Following the critically acclaimed bestseller Among the Mad, The Mapping of Love and Death delivers the most gripping and satisfying chapter yet in the life of Maisie Dobbs.

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Editorial Reviews

Marilyn Stasio
Always the thorough researcher, Winspear surpasses herself in this absorbing novel by giving Maisie an exacting assignment: learning the skills cartographers bring into battle and then discovering why someone would want to kill one of them.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Set in 1932, bestseller Winspear's endearing seventh Maisie Dobbs novel (after 2009's Among the Mad) centers on Michael Clifton, a young American cartographer during the Great War, whose remains turn up in a French field. Evidence suggests to Maisie that Michael, rather than dying in a shell blast, was murdered. Michael's parents arrive in London with letters from an unnamed English nurse that raise disturbing questions about the nurse's relationship with their son. The plucky inquiry agent embarks on a search for this woman, following a trail that leads to Chatham, home of the School of Military Engineering, which Michael attended. There she learns about the vital role that cartography played in the war. At times, subplots involving socialite James Compton, a frustrated suitor, and the family problems of Maisie's assistant, Billy Beale, slow the pace. As often in this winning series, the action builds to a somewhat sad if satisfying conclusion. 10-city author tour. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Mapping the human heart is more art than science. Winspear's seventh Maisie Dobbs novel (after Among the Mad) finds the detective employed by the parents of a soldier and cartographer, Michael Clifton, who fought during World War I. Missing for 16 years, the bodies of Clifton and his unit are discovered in France. The postmortem reveals that while the unit perished during a shelling attack, Clifton was already dead from a crushed skull. The only clues found with the body are Clifton's deteriorated journal and love letters to an unnamed nurse. There's also the dilemma of the California land purchase, potentially lucrative, that Clifton made just before he enlisted. With no deed of sale or will apparent, the land is mired in legal entanglements. This case has long grown cold, but Maisie is too relentless an investigator to let it prevent her from bringing a murderer to justice. VERDICT An engaging plot coupled with captivating characters makes this the best Dobbs novel to date. Highly recommended for historical mystery aficionados who enjoy intriguing whodunits wrapped in a wartime love story.—Susan O. Moritz, Montgomery Cty. P.Ls., MD
Kirkus Reviews
The long aftermath of murder on a World War I battlefield. Sixteen years after he enlisted in the Royal Engineers and was declared missing somewhere in France, American cartographer Michael Clifton's remains and few possessions are dug up by a farmer in the Somme Valley, setting his parents on a quest to find the author of the surviving love letters signed only as The English Nurse, or Tennie. They appeal to London private investigator Maisie Dobbs (Among the Mad, 2009, etc.) for help, but a quick scan of the autopsy work convinces Maisie that she's involved not only in a missing-person case but a murder enquiry-Michael was bludgeoned to death with one of his surveying instruments. Then things start to happen in the present. Edward and Martha are nearly killed in their hotel room. Maisie is attacked on the street and her briefcase stolen. And Tennie remains elusive. Through it all, Maisie remains unruffled. Several likely beaux for her pop around, and she finds time to consult with two mentors, one on his death bed, the other urging her to close her eyes and see. There'll be another death, Upstairs-Downstairs snobbery, greed, romance, familial revenge and lots of tea drinking before Maisie wraps up the case and even becomes an heiress herself. Undemanding fare, with perhaps too many characters whose tragic episodes in their past are exacerbated by family silences.
People

“Compelling.”

People (3 1/2 out of 4 stars)
“Compelling.”
People (3 ½ out of 4 stars)
“Compelling.”
(3 1/2 out of 4 stars) - People Magazine
"Compelling."
Alexander McCall Smith
“In Maisie Dobbs, Jacqueline Winspear has given us a real gift. Maisie Dobbs has not been created—she has been discovered. Such people are always there amongst us, waiting for somebody like Ms. Winspear to come along and reveal them. And what a revelation it is!”
Deirdre Donahue
“When people ask me to recommend an author, one name consistently comes to mind: Jacqueline Winspear.”
Marilyn Stasio
“A sleuth to treasure.”
Johanna McGeary
“A detective series to savor.”
Dick Adler
“[Catches] the sorrow of a lost generation in the character of one exceptional woman.”
Tom Nolan
“What charms most is Dobbs herself: a woman ‘not as adept in her personal life as she was in her professional domain,’ and all the more engaging for that.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780749040789
  • Publisher: Allison & Busby, Limited
  • Publication date: 11/28/2011
  • Series: Maisie Dobbs Series , #7

Meet the Author

Jacqueline Winspear

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels featuring Maisie Dobbs, a former World War I nurse turned investigator. Originally from the United Kingdom, Winspear now lives in California.

Biography

Lovers of British mysteries and historical novels will find something to appreciate in Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs books. Maisie, a housemaid-turned-student-turned-nurse-turned private investigator in early 20th-century London, manages to straddle Britain's class system by being a woman of exceptional "bearing" and intellect who happens to come from working-class stock. As an investigator, she's green, but sharp and ambitious. She's also surrounded by vividly sketched secondary players, such as her benefactor, Lady Rowan, and mentor Maurice Blanche.

In Winspear's first Maisie story, we learn the character's background: Forced by family circumstances to go to work as a housemaid at an early age, Maisie Dobbs' curiosity and intellect are noticed by her employer, Lady Rowan. Rowan takes care of her education, and she makes it to university – but the Great War interrupts her ambitions. She serves as a nurse in France, then returns to England and starts her career as a private investigator in 1929. Her first case seems like a simple investigation into infidelity; it grows into something larger when it leads realizes there's something amiss at a convalescent home for war veterans called The Retreat.

Winspear's talent didn't go unnoticed when her first novel was published in July 2003. Maisie Dobbs was named in "best" lists in both the New York Times and Publishers Weekly. It was also nominated in the best novel category for an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America. There was an almost palpable sense of relief in the reviews, pleasant surprise that someone had offered not only a solid addition to the historical mystery genre, but had given it further depth and breadth. As an NPR reviewer put it, "[The book's] intelligent eccentricity offers relief."

Telling Maisie's stories using a warm third-person narrator, Winspear charms with her ability to convey the historical context surrounding her characters, particularly regarding the impact of the Great War. For this reason, and because her mysteries steer clear of graphic violence or sex, her books are often recommended for younger readers also. Far from hardboiled, Winspear's characters are very human, and she delivers a little romance and heartache along with the criminal wrongdoing.

Part of the appeal in Winspear's books also lies in her ability to bring a deeper, more philosophical atmosphere to the proceedings. Maisie is trained in Freudian psychology and is as interested in helping as she is in solving. A case referenced in the second Maisie story, Birds of a Feather, for example, "would not be filed away until those whose lives were touched by her investigation had reached a certain peace with her findings, with themselves, and with one another." Reading Winspear's Dobbs series may not bring inner peace, but there is something relaxing about spending time with her appealing characters.

Good To Know

Winspear also works as a creative coach. She writes on her web site, "As a coach I am engaged by those who want to establish clear intentions for their artistic endeavors, to support and encourage so that they sustain a level of energy and empowerment which is demonstrated in work that is rewarding, inspiring -- and finished!" Winspear also writes about international education.

Winspear loves outdoor pursuits such as horseback riding, hiking, sailing, and mountain biking; she's also an avid traveler, according to her web site bio.

In our interview, Winspear shared some fun facts about herself:

"My first ever job after college was as a flight attendant. I wanted to travel and could not afford it, so I decided to get myself a job where I could travel. I did it for two years and had great fun."

"My worst-ever job was in an egg-packing factory when I was 16."

"I love dogs, horses and generally all animals. I will always stop to check on stray dogs -- I once ended up in the emergency room with a tick embedded in me which had jumped off a dog I had rescued from a busy road. It was a deer tick, which carries Lyme Disease, so I wasn't taking any chances. Funnily enough, when I opened the only magazine in the emergency room, it was to a page carrying an article on tick bites and disease. It stated that you have six hours after the tick embeds itself, before it begins to release the bacteria that cause disease. I counted the hours from rescuing the dog, and by the time the doctor came in I was pleading, ‘Get this thing out of me!!!'"

"My favorite way to unwind is to go for a walk with my husband and the dog at the end of the working day, then we go to our local health club for a swim and to sit by the pool and read for a while. I love time with family and friends, but completely relish time on my own when I have no agenda to follow, no to-do's, just me and time alone."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Jackie Winspear
    2. Hometown:
      Ojai, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 30, 1955
    2. Place of Birth:
      Weald of Kent, England
    1. Education:
      The University of London’s Institute of Education
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 87 )
Rating Distribution

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(47)

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(24)

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(9)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 87 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    I Love This Series -- This Book Was the Best

    I finished this book in one day, even getting up in the middle of the night so I could find out how it ended. Very well crafted, interesting mystery and all of the characters I've grown familiar with and care about. Loaned it to my mother, as I have loaned the rest of the series, and she too finished it in one day because she couldn't put it down! We both agreed that this is the best Maisie Dobbs book so far.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This is a terrific Depression Era whodunit

    In 1932, Maisie Dobbs receives a note from Dr. Hayden of Massachusetts General Hospital who volunteered as a combat physician during the Great War; and of whom Maisie worked with. He asks her to meet with an elderly American couple whose son went missing during the 1916 Battle of the Somme. The Clintons inform her that farmers in France have uncovered a series of rooms that were part of the trenches. Inside are bodies of the British Cartography Section including their son who joined as a teen in 1914. They want to know who killed him as the autopsy revealed he died from a blow to his face.

    Maisie, with Billy supporting her agrees, to investigate. She looks at the other information like letters and a dairy to help her. As she digs deep into what happened in this trench room in 1916, Maisie also copes with personal issues starting with Billy's wife leaving the psychiatric ward, Dr. Maurice's illness, Stratton's replacement at the Yard and her feelings for Canadian expatriate James Compton.

    This is a terrific Depression Era whodunit as Maisie knows she has achieved her prime goal and is now entering her middle years so feels a bit adrift as she is undecided what next. The case is superb as the inquiry provides the reader a deep look at trench warfare during WWI. As entertaining as the military mystery are the goings-on in the heroine's personal life. The mapping of Love and death is a great historical investigation thriller.

    Harriet Klausner

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 23, 2012

    I love Maisie Dobbs!

    The author never disappoints. Maisie Dobbs is a woman that we can relate to. She's strong, smart, and very intuitive. The story unfolds with twists and turns, and leads us to late, sleepless nights!
    I always feel sad when the book ends, and I have to say goodbye to Maisie until the next book comes along.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    Winspear's best thus far!

    Maisie Dobbs is one of my favorite series, and Jacqueline Winspear does not disappoint in the latest novel. In previous books, I occasionally felt the case overshadowed Maisie's own journey, the real story in these books. However, The Mapping of Love and Death provides a great balance between the two and deepens Maisie's character even further. A great read!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    I absolutely love these books!  As a child I loved mystery stori

    I absolutely love these books!  As a child I loved mystery stories and read books by Enid Blyton.  Later, I discovered Agatha Christie.  Now Maisie Dobbs is my favorite series.  I hope Ms. Winspear keeps it up for a long time. I love her attention to historical details and look forward to each new book.  

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2012

    Excellent book and author!

    I enjoyed this book immensely. It is well-written, well-researched with interesting history woven into the story. All the characters have well-definied personalities, traits, habits, etc. You become engaged in the story from the beginning. Maisie Dobbs' is a devoted, thoughtful, respectful, and intelligent detective and she is dedicated to a fair and thorough final conclusion. Ms. Winspear's books are a delight to read...calming and interesting for a summer read. Enjoy!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2010

    Maisie Rides Again

    In this seventh book of the Maisie Dobbs detective series, author Jacqueline Winspear takes us inside the world of cartographers serving in the British Army in the first World War. Always well-researched, she once again throws light on a little-known area of of the first "Great War." She also brings in ties to the early land development days in the first part of the twentieth century in California, tying the two together as Maisie investigates the death of a young American cartographer who served for Britain during the war. There are several important personal developments for Maisie, who finalizes her relationship to her longtime mentor Maurice Blanche and enters a new phase of her connection to the Compton family. Assistant Billy Beale returns as Maisie's man on the ground in her unconventional yet satisfying investigation.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 6, 2014

    The Mapping of Love and Death is the seventh book in the Maisie

    The Mapping of Love and Death is the seventh book in the Maisie Dobbs series by British-born American author, Jacqueline Winspear. Psychologist and investigator, Maisie Dobbs is engaged by a Boston couple, Edward and Martha Clifton, whose youngest son, Michael, died in the trenches in France in 1917. Not until fifteen years later were his remains found, and with them, letters from an English Nurse. 




    Michael was a cartographer who had just spent part of his inheritance on land in California that he felt sure bore oil. When the autopsy report shows that he was murdered, Maisie is asked to track down his unnamed nurse and, if she can, to find his murderer. To distract her from her task, James Compton returns from Canada for good, her mentor, Maurice Blanche becomes increasingly frail, and Billy Beal is understandably apprehensive about Doreen’s return from hospital. 




    This instalment explores the vital role of cartographers in war, as well as the important contribution of the many Nursing Units, and the purpose of cinematographers on the front lines. Maisie has to deal with DI Caldwell now that Stratton has gone to Special Branch; she is mugged, goes to car races, visits the School of Military Engineers and more than one hospital. The value of post-traumatic counselling is highlighted, and Winspear drags several red herrings through her plot to keep the reader guessing on more than one front. The final chapters see great changes wrought in Maisie’s personal life and presage possible major alterations in her career. Once again, an excellent read that will have readers seeking out the next book in the series, A Lesson In Secrets. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 9, 2010

    Terrific

    This is the latest in a terrific (and my favorite) mystery series!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2010

    A wonderful series

    The latest Maisie Dobbs is a wonderful cap to a fabulous series. I hope Jacqueline Winspear keeps writing. Maisie is like a wise friend. I will read and reread these books. i also reommencd the Charles Todd Ian Rutledge books, which are set between WWI and WWII as well.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2010

    Maisie Dobbs is a real person and you can feel her life and the lives of all the characters in the story. I can't wait to see where life and love will take Maisie next.

    This is the kind of story to take you away to another time and place but keeps you in the here and now as far a the relivince of the story goes. I can relate to war and what it must have been like for those who lived through the first world war. We are going through it again and Maisie has helped me to understand many of the problems and feeling left behind.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2013

    Tigerfang

    Helllo im tigerfang and i need a friend! -tosses a mouse in her direction-

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2013

    Shade

    Shade:*looks at him closely* i do not need food to be tempted. But thank you anyway. *she acted confident even though she was smaller then normal*

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2013

    Absorbing mystery

    Beautifully written, excellent plot - holds the reader's interest!!

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  • Posted March 31, 2013

    If you enjoy British mysteries, then THE MAPPING OF LOVE AND DEA

    If you enjoy British mysteries, then THE MAPPING OF LOVE AND DEATH is for you. Jacqueline Winspear creates a heroine in Maisie Dobbs who has a strong moral code, and she’s every bit the three-dimensional character that springs to life in well-written prose. It’s hard not to get behind her and root for her every step of the way.

    While I appreciated the writing, the prose felt long and drawn out, the dialogue often turning into monologues instead of having the more immediate punch of a soliloquy. And I had to force myself on more than one occasion to reach the end. My only explanation is that I never completely identified with the characters or felt as though I had fully inhabited their world. Instead, I felt more like an observer, only touching the surface before being carried away. Not that this is any reflection on the author or her writing. I blame it on the British and their sophisticated nature and multiple levels of bureaucracy, whereas I take a more open-ended and far encompassing approach to my humor.

    And this is why I’ve never been a big fan of British mysteries, other than Rhys Bowen’s Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, or Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. I’ve pondered this scenario on multiple occasions, and I’ve reached the following conclusion: there’s an aristocratic stiffness underlying these mysteries that makes me want to turn and run in the other direction faster than being shot out of a cannon. But it’s not going to stop me from seeking out any mystery, including the British ones, because I’m ever the optimist, and I know one day, not too far in the future, I’ll be pleasantly surprised again.

    Robert Downs
    Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2013

    Great read

    And interesting period references.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    Maisie Dobbs is Addictive

    I have only recently found Jacqueline Winspear's wonderful Maisie Dobbs series, and I have now devoured all of them. Highly recommended.

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  • Posted February 8, 2013

    Great sense of time and place(s)

    This author excels at time and place. As a Geography major and cartography aficionado, I loved how she uses mapping both literally and figuratively, as do all the best cartographers. Love this series!

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  • Posted January 25, 2013

    I recommend this title.

    Maise continues to have many different problems or crimes to solve. It has been a while since I've read one of these and each case has many turns with finding the English Nurse and who killed Michael Clifton. The book is well worth reading.

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  • Posted January 25, 2013

    good read

    This was my first book in the Maisie Dobbs series, and I really enjoyed it, I recommended and will definitely read more books by Jacqueline Winspear.

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