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Here is a copy of the review I posted on Goodreads (Goodreads user name Joan, from Stratford ON):
I liked this installment of Maisie Dobbs a lot, although I am dismayed by one thing. Without spelling it out, let's just say that Winspear has -- without batting an eyelash -- suddenly jettisoned Maisie's personal life into the post-sexual-revolution 21st century, and Maisie's inner circle seems virtually blasé about it. Ack! Screaming anachronism. I'm also watching with fascination as Maisie bit by bit becomes (or is set to become) one of the most propertied women in England.
That said, the story has a good balance and atmosphere. I found it interesting that the national powers that be were busy looking for destructive influences but missed the one that was right under their noses.
I liked this installment in the Maisie Dobbs series, but after the spectacular seventh installment (The Mapping of Love and Death), I found this one a teensy bit of a letdown -- it almost felt like we were treading water. The mystery was interesting enough, and yet somehow I kept expecting some sort of revelation with more oomph to pop up late in the book. And in Maisie's personal life, it also felt like we weren't making much progress, though I continue to enjoy the storyline surrounding her relationship with James. I still think this was a solid installment, and not my least favorite in the series by any means, but I was left wanting a bit more foreward motion. (Which, of course, means that I'm eager to pick up book #9.)
Have loved all of this series. Winspear always keeps me guessing until the very end of the book. I highly recommend the entire series!
When Maisie Dobbs is sent on a mission for the British secret service, she goes undercover as a teacher at a college. Surrounded by a cast of characters that could all be suspects in subterfuge, Maisie must use her powers of deduction to stop a net of espionage that is about to involve Britain in the coming Nazi menace.
Unfortunately Maisie is perfect and fearless she is not a character I would enjoy reading about again.
Maisie Dobbs goes undercover for Scotland Yard & the Secret Service, posing as a philosophy teacher at a small college in Cambridge in 1932.
Really like this series of mysteries. This wasn't as satisfying as most though - the characters felt too obvious. However the historical background and the conflicts resulting were interesting. I hope these will be explored further in the next novel.
I love the Masie Dobbs character. I have read all of the books in this series. This book was probably my least favorite. But that is mainly because I really liked all her other books. Interesting series given time and place. It will be interesting how the author handles the Nazis and the years leading to Word War II.
reviewed in the Stratford Gazette's Shelf Life column
One of the best of Winspear's Massie Dobbs mysteries, and one that moves along the historical background to the pre-WWII period as the characters and plot develop.
Can't wait to read this installment. She is one of the best historical mystery writers.