A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear
Series: #11 in the Maisie Dobbs series
Publication Date: 2015
Source: Copy provided by the publisher
From the publisher:
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.
The first chapter of this one threw me for a loop. Winspear covers a span of three years with a series of correspondence in which a LOT happens to Maisie. The chapter ends with her heading home to London but getting off the ship in Gibraltar because she just can’t yet face the people who love her most.
It’s a book’s worth in one chapter but I sort of understand why Winspear did it. The outcome of it is that the series sort of reboots back to the Maisie that the first book introduced. She’s a single woman, looking for what to do with her life yet still healing from what she’s experienced. That absolutely describes the Maisie from the first book and this book sets up an older and wiser Maisie yet in many ways in the same starting place she was 11 books ago.
Because of that this book would work quite well as a starting point for readers new to the series.
As with the others in the series this is less of mystery than it is a story of the time and place. It made me do some googling about Gibraltar’s history, the Spanish Civil War and Sephardic Jews. The whole era of Europe between the two World Wars is fascinating to me.
I will admit however that I’m getting annoyed with the detailed description of every single item of clothing that Maisie puts on every day.
Despite that I enjoyed the book even though the beginning was startling. I’m looking forward to see what Maisie is up to in the next book.