(Maisie Dobbs #11)
A Dangerous Place (2015) is the 11th novel in Jacqueline Winspear’s series about private investigator Maisie Dobbs; the Kindle version just now available at reduced price. (Probably to do with No 12 to be released in March 2016…)
Previously on this blog I have reviewed:
Because of the previous books being closely connected in time, it was a bit of a surprise to pick up A Dangerous Place and find it skipping ahead no less than four years in one swift move; only giving the reader short “rear mirrow” glimpses of dramatic events in Maisie’s life during those years. (Actually after reading the first chapter or two, I felt I had to check and make sure that I hadn’t missed a book or two in between! But no, I had not.)
It is 1937, and Maisie, on her way back to England after four eventful years abroad with memories of both love and loss and grief, decides that she’s still not ready to go back home. So she gets off the ship in Gibraltar, in spite of being warned that this is a dangerous place to be at the moment. Civil war is raging in Spain, and many people are fleeing from there to Gibraltar. A few days after Maisie’s arrival, a photographer and member of Gibraltar’s Jewis community is murdered, and Maisie becomes entangled in this case, which also draws the attention of the British Secret Service.
Just as Maise seems to once again be at a crossroads in her life in this book, as reader I feel a bit “in two minds” as well. On the one hand, congrats to the author for avoiding getting stuck in the same kind of time-trap as for example Elizabeth George with her Lynley series; but on the other hand, I can’t help feeling that Winspear wrote her character into too much of a cosy corner, and eventually found that she had to “cheat” to get Maise out of there and back to being more of a tragic heroine again…
So I’m not really sure whether to wholeheartedly applaud this bold move by the author or not. But no doubt it does set Maisie more free to go off on future dangerous missions set in WWII environment in books to come. (The title of the next novel, to be released in March, is Journey to Munich.) And I guess this may also be as good a place as any for new readers to get aboard and get to know Maisie, even if they’re not sure they want to go back to the very beginning and read all the previous ten books.