Jacqueline Winspear has just released her 12th Maisie Dobbs novel, Journey to Munich. Below, event staffer and mystery enthusiast Meike reviews Winspears’ latest.
- Review by Meike Alana
In Journey To Munich (Jacqueline Winspear’s 12th installment in the Maisie Dobbs series) it is 1938 and Maisie has just returned to London after 4 years abroad—most recently in war-torn Spain, where she worked as a nurse while recovering both physically and emotionally from the sudden death of her beloved husband and the loss of her unborn child. British Secret Service agents Robert McFarlane and Brian Huntley recruit her to help them with an important mission—one that involves extracting a British businessman and inventor from Germany. The German government has agreed to release the prisoner from Dachau under the condition that he is handed over to a family member. The man’s wife is deceased and his daughter is gravely ill, but Maisie bears an uncanny resemblance to his daughter and it is believed that she will make an appropriate substitute. On the eve of her departure for Munich, she is contacted by Canadian newspaperman John Otterburn—the powerful man whom she holds responsible for her husband’s death—with a request that she locate his runaway daughter Elaine, who is believed to be in Germany.
Maisie undertakes both missions—publicly she liaises with the British Consulate to negotiate the release of her “father” from the Nazis at Dachau; surreptitiously she also tries to locate Elaine Otterburn. The presence of Hitler’s “brown shirts” in public areas, and the observance of the German citizens’ unease with the Nazis’ rise to power, sets Maisie on edge—she feels she is in the presence of great evil, and faces down both implied and overt dangers. As she watches two young girls—one of them Jewish—secretly playing together, we come to understand what a powerful force fear was in creating the Hitler phenomena.
For British mystery fans who haven’t yet discovered Jacqueline Winspear, this is a great jumping off spot for the series. Although it’s number 12 in the series, it represents a bit of a departure in that Maisie is working largely alone and many of the characters in previous novels aren’t involved. But be forewarned—you’ll want to go back and read the rest of the series. Maisie Dobbs’ eponymous debut was a national bestseller and received a slew of prestigious awards. Ms. Winspear’s subsequent novels have all received award nominations and most have become immediate national best sellers.
You can find copies of Winspear’s latest on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.