A WWII mystery (and a good one): To Die But Once

To Die but Once: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by [Winspear, Jacqueline]I have been reading Ms. Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs’s novels ever since the first one was published back in 2003.  When the series began, the world was facing WWI.  Now. a number of books later, WWII is coming ever closer to England.

Against the backdrop of the rescue at Dunkirk, the author tells a story that includes a murder, heroism, a spy and war profiteering.  In writing this one, the author drew upon the experiences of her father during the war years.

The reader also spends time with Maisie’s in-laws, her father, Priscilla and her family, her employees and war time evacuee, Anna.  Long term readers of the series will rejoice in the opportunity to visit with them.

I have read books in the series that I liked a tad better but I NEVER regret time spent with Ms. Dobbs.  You won’t either.

From the Back Cover

Spring, 1940. During the months following Britain’s declaration of war on Germany, as far as the population is concerned, nothing much seems to have happened. Despite the sandbagging of underground stations and public buildings, constant government reminders to carry gas masks at all times, and the barrage balloons bobbing overhead, the newspapers are calling it the “Bore War,” and mothers have started bringing children who were evacuated to the country back home.

Against this backdrop of uncertainty, Maisie Dobbs investigates the disappearance of a young apprentice working on a hush-hush government contract. As news of the plight of thousands of soldiers stranded on the beaches of France is gradually revealed to the general public, and as the threat of invasion increases, another young man beloved by Maisie makes a terrible decision that will change his life forever.

Maisie’s investigation leads her from the countryside of rural Hampshire to the web of wartime opportunism exploited by one of the London underworld’s most powerful men, in a case that serves as a reminder of the inextricable link between money and war. Yet when a final confrontation approaches, she must acknowledge the potential cost to her future—and the risk of destroying a dream she wants very much to become reality.

Some reviews:

“The wartime details … transport us with ease to a milieu where danger is omnipresent but—thanks to the presence of steadfast figures like Dobbs and her like-spirited colleagues—so is hope.” (Wall Street Journal)

“Maisie Dobbs is always looking for truth and the underlying motives in her cases. Her stories are ones that this reviewer always wants to read because of her character, values and thoughts on life…. A story about WWII and England that is close to the heart.” (Bookreporter.com)

“Winspear’s protagonist is indomitable and vulnerable, brilliant and kind.” (Chelsea Clinton in Entertainment Weekly)

“A novel that appeals equally to the intellect and the emotions, To Die but Once advances Maisie’s engaging story and reaffirms Winspear’s eminence in her field…. [A] radiant series.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

“First-rate.” (Booklist)

“History comes alive when a character you think of as a friend is in the thick of the action. That’s how Jacqueline Winspear keeps her Maisie Dobbs series so fresh.” (New York Times Book Review)

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