The 14 novels published to date in the Maisie Dobbs series are one of the most pleasurable ways to learn about British history from the First World War to the Second. (The 15th is due in 2019.) Author Jacqueline Winspear skillfully develops the themes that dominated British life during that period:
- the oppressive weight of the First War;
- the pronounced class divisions, now only slowly weakening;
- the grave impact of the Depression;
- and the growing threat of fascism both at home and on the Continent.
In her 13th entry in the series, Winspear opens the novel on the day (September 3, 1939) that Great Britain declared war on Germany.
In This Grave Hour (Maisie Dobbs #13) by Jacqueline Winspear (2017) 368 pages
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The 13th entry in the Maisie Dobbs series
Since returning from an extended stay abroad, Maisie Dobbs has rebuilt her practice as a “psychologist and investigator.” Most of her work concerns the general run of domestic cases typical of private eyes. But as the war has drawn nearer she has been tapped by government agencies such as Scotland Yard’s Special Branch and the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) for special assignments as well. Now, with war underway, she finds herself embroiled in another such case. This one is rooted in World War I, as so much in her life has been.
Continuing the story of British life between the world wars
During the First War, thousands of Belgians fled the onrushing German Army when hostilities commenced. In This Grave Hour is a story involving a group of young Belgian men who, unlike most of their countrymen, remained in Britain after the war. One of them has been murdered, and a senior official in the Belgian Embassy has turned to Maisie to investigate the case. Scotland Yard has turned up no leads. Of course, we know Maisie will eventually succeed. And in the course of the case, we will gain new insight into the state of affairs in the UK as war returned to the Continent.
For additional reading
I’ve reviewed all the novels in this series at The Maisie Dobbs novels from Jacqueline Winspear.
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