As Europe buckles under Nazi occupation, Maisie Dobbs investigates a possible murder that threatens devastating repercussions for Britain's war efforts in this latest installment in the New York Times bestselling mystery series.
Once again, Ms. Winspear brings a vanished era to life with clarity and insight. Maisie Dobbs—businesswoman, widow, single mother of an adopted little girl, lady-friend of a dashing American diplomat—continues to mature and impress in her admirable mission to balance the scales of justice.
That's gripping stuff and, as always, Winspear finesses the thriller elements without losing sight of the character stuff that readers probably care about most: Even as Maisie is puzzling over the murder, she's also finding a safe place for the boy and his loved ones, who are being hunted by the killer and by Freddie's violent father. Where Winspear isn't as successful is in integrating the bucolic life that dominated a couple of previous novels in the series ... It feels like Winspear is building up to a turning point ... Winspear still offers entertaining insight into midcentury detective work (Maisie capably demonstrates how to search a bomb site and another scene outlines how to respond to an air-raid warning) ... Winspear has gotten Maisie out of and into plenty of jams before so I don't doubt that she's working on compelling new dilemmas, and no one will blame her for granting tragedy-plagued Maisie a novel or two of perfect bliss.