A fine novel, written with Winspear’s sure hand and ability to meld historical events into an engaging crime narrative. Fans will savor this one as they anticipate what Maisie will do in WWII.
A female investigator every bit as brainy and battle-hardened as Lisbeth Salander.
Maisie Dobbs might be classified as a secret weapon judging by her courage and fierce determination as she plunges into wars…. Winspear has created a vivid niche.
A series that seems to get better with every entry.
A female investigator every bit as brainy and battle-hardened as Lisbeth Salander.”
With clarity and economy, Winspear lays the historical groundwork…. The setting matters, but what may matter more is the lovely, sometimes poetic way Winspear pushes her heroine forward…. May she shine on the literary scene for many books to come.
Although In This Grave Hour is a well-realized historical novel… many of the issues it raises continue to hold currency today…. And, of course, Maisie, with her quiet competence and unfailing compassion, continues to be one of the most interesting and resilient characters in mystery fiction.
Winspear conveys compassion and grief so well that it’s hard for readers to not relate to the characters and what they’re experiencing, even if they’ve not shared the exact circumstances…. Readers who like straightforward whodunits can also expect satisfaction. Ditto anyone who enjoys the rich character development and exploration of important life issues.
While Winspear maintains her focus on the volunteers and charitable organizations involved in their rescue and relocation, her portraits of individual evacuees like Anna, a homeless waif so traumatized she has stopped speaking, are enough to break your heart.
The plot of bestseller Winspear’s uneven 13th Maisie Dobbs novel (after 2016’s Journey to Munich) has promise. Shortly after Neville Chamberlain’s announcement on Sept. 3, 1939, that Britain is at war with Germany, Maisie receives a summons—to her own London flat—from Francesca Thomas, a member of a Belgian resistance movement during WWI. Thomas asks the psychologist and investigator to look into the murder of a Belgian refugee, railway engineer Frederick Addens, who was shot execution-style. Scotland Yard has made little progress on what for them is a low-priority case. Maisie agrees to help, despite her reservations about her client. Unfortunately, Maisie shows a lack of acuity when she not only endorses her late mentor’s dubious aphorism, “Coincidence is a messenger sent by Truth,” but also agrees that it merits displaying on her office wall, so as to be the first thing that she and her staff see every workday. The mystery fails to grip, and the quality of the prose falls short of Winspear’s usual high standard. Agent: Amy Rennert, Amy Rennert Agency. (Mar.)
Maisie Dobbs, a World War I nurse-turned-psychologist and investigator, traveled to 1938 Germany on her last outing, Journey to Munich, which debuted at No. 4 on the New York Times best sellers list. Here, Britain has just declared war on Germany, and the death of a group of refugees has Maisie wondering just how close to home the enemy really is. With a nine-city tour.
As World War II dawns for Britain, investigator Maisie Dobbs takes on a case involving murdered Belgian refugees with shadowy ties to the Great War.Back in England after her undercover mission in Germany (Journey to Munich, 2016, etc.), Maisie re-establishes herself as private investigator extraordinaire just as Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announces that England is once again at war on Sept. 3, 1939. Conflict, of the armed or emotional variety, is nothing new to Maisie: she's been suffering nobly for the entirety of Winspear's series, since the death of her husband and her subsequent miscarriage. So when Dr. Francesca Thomas, a Belgian national who once fought with the resistance group La Dame Blanche and trained Maisie in all things spy, comes inquiring about a new murder investigation, Maisie's interest is piqued. Fellow Belgian Frederick Addens, who came to London as a teenager during WWI and later married an Englishwoman, was shot to death outside his engineering post at St. Pancras station, but Dr. Thomas doesn't buy the cops' explanation that theft motivated the murder. Maisie starts digging, uncovering a trail of mysterious figures with questionable alliances, several of whom don't survive her investigation. Also occupying her time is the plight of 5-year-old Anna, a refugee who's been evacuated to Maisie's family home in Kent but seems to have no family of her own, sending up not only Maisie's detecting red flags, but her long-dormant maternal ones as well. Winspear teeters on the brink of stating the emotionally obvious at times but largely pulls back and weaves a convincing historical drama together with a rocky journey for her heroine.