This book opens with a prologue chapter that starts in 1914, when Michael Clifton learns of the war in Europe starting while he had been in California surveying some property he had just purchased. He immediately sets off for England instead of returning home to Boston and his family, to fight in the war. He felt an allegiance due to the fact that his father had emigrated from England as a young man.
Chapter one jumps us to present day, which is April 1932. Maisie, who has now been in business for herself for a few years, and her associate, Billy, are keeping busy with various cases. She has just received a letter from a doctor she had met and worked with as a nurse during the War several years previously. Dr. Hayden is informing her that he had referred an elderly couple he knew from Boston to look her up in order to investigate the death of their son Michael Clifton, who they had believed had been killed during the war, but now further evidence had surfaced that suggests he may have been murdered instead. Maisie has the tough job of trying to solve a 17 year old murder mystery without too much evidence, but being the Amazing sleuth that she is, she does get to the answer and also finds other answers to other problems along the way. One warning, there is a sad goodbye to a main character in this one that has been in all of the books, but it is ok.
Jacqueline WinspearWinspear does a good job with the mystery but I especially like these books because there is the great side story of Maisie’s personal life and all that is going on in it. It is like reading 2 books at once. This is not a “who-done-it” type of mystery; you aren’t fed clues throughout the book to try to figure it out on your own. Instead the author keeps some clues very vague until she tidily wraps it up at the end. The characters that are in her daily life sometimes help in moving the mystery along but, if they aren’t involved in the mystery, they are fun to get to know on their own or just to see what is happening in their lives during this book.
You also get to learn a little more about WWI which tends to be a side theme in all of these books up to this point and will probably continue until 1939 when England is pulled into WWII. One other side note, there is a very promising romance in this one. Maisie has “teased” us a few times but I think this one is a keeper, hopefully!
If you haven’t read any of the Maisie Dobbs mysteries, I suggest you start with the first one which is entitled “Maisie Dobbs”, and work your way up to this, the 7th book of the series. I have enjoyed all of them.