FICTION

To Die but Once: A Maisie Dobbs Novel

Harper. Mar. 2018. 352p. ISBN 9780062436634. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062436658. MYS
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OrangeReviewStarA somber mood sets the tone for the 14th Maisie Dobbs mystery (after In This Grave Hour) as World War II has begun. Local pub owner Phil Coombes wants Maisie to find his son Joe, who had been working as a painter for a military contractor. Coombes is concerned because Joe had complained of persistent headaches while working with fire-retardant paint. When Joe's body is discovered, Maisie must investigate whether it was a case of murder or just an accident. She finds more than she ever bargained for in the way of Coombes family secrets and military operations. Everyone has something to hide. Meanwhile, the drama of the British troops trapped at Dunkirk is made personal when Maisie's godson jumps on a yacht to help rescue the men. She is also balancing her own personal life with her investigative business as she explores the possibility of adopting Anna, her family's orphaned evacuee.
VERDICT Winspear has created another rich reading experience for Maisie's many fans, but this title could be seen as entry point for new fans as well. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy a thoughtful mystery. [See Prepub Alert, 9/11/17.]

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