Four years after she set sail from England, leaving everything she most loved behind, Maisie Dobbs at last returns, only to find herself in a dangerous place . . .
In Jacqueline Winspear‘s powerful story of political intrigue and personal tragedy, a brutal murder in the British garrison town of Gibraltar leads Maisie into a web of lies, deceit, and peril.
Spring 1937. In the four years since she left England, Maisie Dobbs has experienced love, contentment, stability—and the deepest tragedy a woman can endure. Now, all she wants is the peace she believes she might find by returning to India. But her sojourn in the hills of Darjeeling is cut short when her stepmother summons her home to England; her aging father Frankie Dobbs is not getting any younger.
But on a ship bound for England, Maisie realizes she isn’t ready to return. Against the wishes of the captain who warns her, “You will be alone in a most dangerous place,” she disembarks in Gibraltar. Though she is on her own, Maisie is far from alone: the British garrison town is teeming with refugees fleeing a brutal civil war across the border in Spain.
Yet the danger is very real. Days after Maisie’s arrival, a photographer and member of Gibraltar’s Sephardic Jewish community, Sebastian Babayoff, is murdered, and Maisie becomes entangled in the case, drawing the attention of the British Secret Service. Under the suspicious eye of a British agent, Maisie is pulled deeper into political intrigue on “the Rock”—arguably Britain’s most important strategic territory—and renews an uneasy acquaintance in the process. At a crossroads between her past and her future, Maisie must choose a direction, knowing that England is, for her, an equally dangerous place, but in quite a different way.
Maisie Dobbs suffers a surplus of tragedy in Winspear's 11th novel featuring the London investigator and psychologist (after 2013's Leaving Everything Most Loved). Following an enigmatic preface set in 1937 Gibraltar, in which Maisie is under surveillance after discovering a corpse, the action flashes back to 1934. Within just a few pages, spanning several years, Maisie is engaged, married, and widowed, and gives birth to a dead child. It's no wonder that the still-fresh wounds keep her from returning home to England as she tries to find the resolve to carry on and "find the person she used to be." Back in the present, Maisie literally stumbles over the corpse of photographer Sebastian Babayoff while on an evening stroll, possibly disturbing the killer before he could complete the robbery that the local police believe to have been his motive. Taking a different view, Maisie comes to conclude that the dead man captured an image on his camera that was dangerous to others. The plot works better as a historical novel depicting pre-WWII turmoil than as a whodunit.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A Dangerous Place
I love historical mysteries and this is the best I have ever read. After 45 years of reading mysteries, this work was a real treat. Hats off to Jackie (?).
Not Much of a Mystery
This Maisie Dobbs book was slow and repetitious, plus almost lacking in plot. I almost didn't finish it. I gave it three stars instead of two because the time and place were interesting but will think twice before reading the next book in the series.
This book takes place in a place and time I know little about, and it was fascinating to research the research, like a treasure hunt. (Thanks, Google.) One of Winspears's gifts is the "drawing" of places; the reader can vividly "see" the scenes. A transportive read.