by Jacqueline Winspear
Category: Fiction / Mystery
352 pages; ISBN: 0805078975
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Henry Holt, Sep 2005, $23.00, 352 pp.
In 1930 through Sir Julian Compton, Sir Cecil Lawton meets renowned psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs to ask a favor of her, regardless of her high fee. A nervous Cecil explains that his son Ralph served as a member of the Flying Corps, but died in 1917 in France. Cecil’s wife Agnes believed her son lived in spite of the contrary evidence and turned to spiritualists as her mental state collapsed. Three months just before dying Agnes made Cecil vow on her deathbed to find Ralph.
Though she believes this is a wild goose chase, Maisie agrees to make some inquiries although she admits she is not sure how to proceed. She is curious as to how Agnes reconciled her insistence that Ralph lives with the fact that he never came home to see her. Still she begins her inquiries into what happened to Ralph at his home while seeking a legal miracle worker to help embattled Avril Jarvis. Her efforts take Maisie full circle as the clues lead to her college friend Priscilla Evernden, whose lost brother served with Ralph. Meanwhile someone wants the investigation stopped, tampering with Maisie’s car amongst other attempts to end her inquiries.
The third Maisie Dobbs investigative tale is a fabulous historical mystery that brings to life two eras, 1930 through the heroine’s lifestyle and 1917 through the case. The story line is fabulous to follow because of the cast especially the heroine as she digs deep into the past. Readers who appreciate an intelligent well written period piece detective story will enjoy this fine tale and its predecessors (see MAISIE DOBBS and BIRDS OF A FEATHER).
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