A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear (2011)
This is the 8th novel about private investigator Maise Dobbs. [See my review of The Mapping of Love and Death (the 7th book) for a bit more background.]
In A Lesson in Secrets, set in 1932, “Maise Dobbs’ first assignment for the British Secret Service takes her undercover to Cambridge as a professor – and leads to the investigation of a web of activities being conducted by the emerging Nazi Party.” (from the blurb)
While I hesitated to give the previous book more than an average rating (3 out of 5), I think this one deserves at least 4 stars. Trying to put words to why, I felt that with this book the author managed to break a certain background monotony, even though there is still a strong continuity with the previous books. We get to see Maisie in partly new circumstances and different environment; and at the same time the story mixes a traditional murder mystery with Secret Service involvement and interesting insights into how National Socialism was regarded in Britian at this time (just before Hitler was elected chancellor in Germany).
I think it would probably also be possible to pick up and enjoy this book as a stand-alone novel without having read the previous ones. (Bonus points for managing that in this novel without too much tedious repetition for those readers who did read all of the rest.)
I read this one in print but I have the next one (Elegy for Eddie) in the series waiting on my Kindle, as I happened to find it at temporary bargain price some time ago (probably just before the 10th book was released). I might even get straight on to it…
“Was it that she did not trust happily ever after, that she was deliberately indifferent to the possibility? Or was happily ever after another of time’s secrets, waiting to be revealed on the journey?”