FICTION

A Dangerous Place: A Maisie Dobbs Novel

Harper. Mar. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780062220554. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062220578. M
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Admirers of Winspear's Agatha Award-winning series may be surprised that this 11th installment jumps the psychologist/private investigator's narrative forward several years. At the close of 2013's Leaving Everything Most Loved, Maisie was at a crossroads, shuttering her London office and preparing a journey to India while weighing a marriage proposal from her dashing lover, James Compton. The new book opens four years later in 1937, with a now-widowed Maisie devastated by James's tragic death and her ensuing miscarriage. Reluctant to return to England, she's temporarily taken refuge in Gibraltar, a military outpost and hotbed of geopolitical intrigue. There she stumbles upon the body of a murdered photographer and steps into a mystery touching the local Sephardic Jewish community and nearby turmoil of the Spanish Civil War. Within the tumult, the always introspective Maisie uses her work to regain a measure of inner peace.
VERDICT After hinting at change for several books, the series finally appears to have passed a crucial turning point as it nears the precipice of World War II. While some readers may wonder at the way Winspear handled her heroine's doomed offscreen marriage, many will embrace the arresting period detail and emotional resonance of seeing a new, if heartbreaking, chapter of Maisie's life unfold. [See Prepub Alert, 9/8/14.]

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