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In This Grave Hour: A Maisie Dobbs Novel Hardcover – March 14, 2017
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“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.” (Marilyn Stasio, New York Times)
“With authority and compassion, Winspear excels at captivating plotting, authentic casting and refined prose. Superlative crime fiction that breaks the boundaries of the genre, ‘In This Grave Hour’ portrays a past that reverberates in the present.” (Jay Strafford, Richmond Times-Dispatch)
“Winspear’s compelling series entry feels very timely in light of our current political climate over issues of refugees and immigration. Fans will line up to get this installment, but it also serves as a good introduction for new readers.” (Library Journal, starred review)
“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.” (David Pitt, Booklist)
“A female investigator every bit as brainy and battle-hardened as Lisbeth Salander.” (Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh Air)
“A series that seems to get better with every entry.” (Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal)
“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.” (Robin Bianco, USA Today, 3.5 out of 4 stars)
From the Back Cover
Sunday September 3rd, 1939. At the moment Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain broadcasts to the nation Britain’s declaration of war with Germany, a senior Secret Service agent breaks into Maisie Dobbs’s flat to await her return. Dr. Francesca Thomas has an urgent assignment for Maisie: to find the killer of a man who escaped occupied Belgium as a boy some twenty-three years earlier during the Great War.
Within days, in a London shadowed by barrage balloons, bomb shelters, and the threat of invasion, another former Belgian refugee is found murdered. And as Maisie delves deeper into the killings of the dispossessed from the “last war,” a new kind of refugee—an evacuee from London—appears in Maisie’s life. The little girl billeted at Maisie’s home in Kent does not, or cannot, speak, and the authorities do not know whom the child belongs to or who might have put her on the “Operation Pied Piper” evacuee train. They know only that her name is Anna.
As Maisie’s search for the killer escalates, the country braces for what is to come. Britain is approaching its gravest hour—and Maisie could be nearing a crossroads of her own.
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Top Customer Reviews
Maisie is not your average "girl sleuth."
She has the courage to speak her mind along with impeccable manners; a no-nonsense woman who is also witty and compassionate.
I really appreciate that Maisie's compassion comes across as genuine and sugar-free.
Her intuitive take on everyone and everything around her is spot on: As I see Maisie, she is the poster child for cognitive thinking.
No one bests Maisie...other than her dad, as you will see in this 13th story in the life of Maisie Dobbs.
This book begins with a radio announcement at 11:15 am, September 3rd, 1939.
Nevile Chamberlain, the Prime Minister of Britain, announces that England is now at war with Germany.
Throughout the book, we read many authentic details of England's preparations for all-out war. Every citizen is given a gas mask and expected to have it with them at all times. The full blacking out of windows at night is rigidly enforced. The strange "barrage balloons" loom over London, a highly visible and ominous reminder that a new kind of war is under way.
Maisie, who has recently returned from grief-stricken wanderings abroad, reopens her business as "Psychologist and Investigator" of her own detective agency. She is approached by a member of the Belgian Embassy and asked to investigate the murder of a man who had been a refugee from Belgium in the first World War.
As Maisie sets about solving the case, more murders occur, all seeming to point to a common denominator involving a group of Belgian refugees who fled from Belgium to England during WWI.
In the meantime, Maisie becomes involved with a little girl who was evacuated, along with many other children, from London to Kent in the hopes of protecting them from the worst of the bombings sure to come.
Among the children are little Anna, who has no papers with her to explain who she is or where she is from. The child has with her only her gas mask and a little case she will not let out of her sight.
Anna cannot or will not speak a single word.
Although "In This Grave Hour" is a well-tuned mystery novel, it is also a much different story as well; one about the triumph of love and compassion over seemingly unbearable anger and heartache.
While this book can be read and enjoyed out of sequence, each book is a continuation of the one before, in the course of Maisie's life.
I recommend starting with book one: "Maisie Dobbs," if you like to start "at the beginning."
All of the books in this series are peppered with well-researched facts and tidbits about the era. Some of these provide just enough "cozy" to make things interesting to those who enjoy such details. But Winspear's books are far more than "cozies."
They are well-written mysteries, and, in my opinion, excellent literature.
I am somewhat concerned that I hadn't read anything of Maise being in the civil war in Spain. I think that would make for a delicious tale! And especially if some romance for Maise was involved. She can't keep mourning for James, I hope. And, I hope a future book includes Anna living with Maise...Giving Maise a family of her own....A child to love and grow with...A grandchild for Frankie Dobbs. Wouldn't it be loverly?
In this book, which opens with the declaration of war by King George, and Maisie is back in London after her travels to Canada, Germany, Gibraltar and Spain. She is visited by a very high up Secret service person who breaks into her apartment to meet her. Dr. Thomas, the secret service agent, is very well placed in the British and Belgian embassies and is investigating the execution style deaths of 2 Belgian immigrants. The police are overwhelmed with additional duties looking for spies and illegals who might spy on the English preparations and armaments, so Dr Thomas asks Maisie to figure the puzzle out.
The plot is full of twists and turns and Maisie shines in her efforts to unravel things. In the meantime you get a hearty helping of what England was like at the beginning of the Second Wold War,and her lack of preparations brought on by Chamberlin 's efforts at appeasement.
The author has really done her homework so you get not only a very good, factual picture of the times but a ripping good story that will keep you guessing. This is the only mystery I know of that I wish came with a bibliography.