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In This Grave Hour
Cover of In This Grave Hour
In This Grave Hour
A Maisie Dobbs Novel
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"A female investigator every bit as brainy and battle-hardened as Lisbeth Salander." Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh Air, on Maisie Dobbs

Sunday September 3rd 1939. At the moment Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain broadcasts to the nation Britain's declaration of war with Germany, a senior Secret Service agent breaks into Maisie Dobbs' flat to await her return. Dr. Francesca Thomas has an urgent assignment for Maisie: to find the killer of a man who escaped occupied Belgium as a boy, some twenty-three years earlier during the Great War.

In a London shadowed by barrage balloons, bomb shelters and the threat of invasion, within days another former Belgian refugee is found murdered. And as Maisie delves deeper into the killings of the dispossessed from the "last war," a new kind of refugee — an evacuee from London — appears in Maisie's life. The little girl billeted at Maisie's home in Kent does not, or cannot, speak, and the authorities do not know who the child belongs to or who might have put her on the "Operation Pied Piper" evacuee train. They know only that her name is Anna.

As Maisie's search for the killer escalates, the country braces for what is to come. Britain is approaching its gravest hour — and Maisie could be nearing a crossroads of her own.

"A female investigator every bit as brainy and battle-hardened as Lisbeth Salander." Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh Air, on Maisie Dobbs

Sunday September 3rd 1939. At the moment Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain broadcasts to the nation Britain's declaration of war with Germany, a senior Secret Service agent breaks into Maisie Dobbs' flat to await her return. Dr. Francesca Thomas has an urgent assignment for Maisie: to find the killer of a man who escaped occupied Belgium as a boy, some twenty-three years earlier during the Great War.

In a London shadowed by barrage balloons, bomb shelters and the threat of invasion, within days another former Belgian refugee is found murdered. And as Maisie delves deeper into the killings of the dispossessed from the "last war," a new kind of refugee — an evacuee from London — appears in Maisie's life. The little girl billeted at Maisie's home in Kent does not, or cannot, speak, and the authorities do not know who the child belongs to or who might have put her on the "Operation Pied Piper" evacuee train. They know only that her name is Anna.

As Maisie's search for the killer escalates, the country braces for what is to come. Britain is approaching its gravest hour — and Maisie could be nearing a crossroads of her own.

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About the Author-
  • Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestselling Maisie Dobbs series, which includes A Dangerous Place, Leaving Everything Most Loved, Elegy for Eddie, A Lesson in Secrets, The Mapping of Love and Death, and six other novels. Her standalone novel, The Care and Management of Lies, was also a New York Times bestseller and a Dayton Literary Peace Prize finalist. Originally from the United Kingdom, she now lives in California.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 23, 2017
    The plot of bestseller Winspear’s uneven 13th Maisie Dobbs novel (after 2016’s Journey to Munich) has promise. Shortly after Neville Chamberlain’s announcement on Sept. 3, 1939, that Britain is at war with Germany, Maisie receives a summons—to her own London flat—from Francesca Thomas, a member of a Belgian resistance movement during WWI. Thomas asks the psychologist and investigator to look into the murder of a Belgian refugee, railway engineer Frederick Addens, who was shot execution-style. Scotland Yard has made little progress on what for them is a low-priority case. Maisie agrees to help, despite her reservations about her client. Unfortunately, Maisie shows a lack of acuity when she not only endorses her late mentor’s dubious aphorism, “Coincidence is a messenger sent by Truth,” but also agrees that it merits displaying on her office wall, so as to be the first thing that she and her staff see every workday. The mystery fails to grip, and the quality of the prose falls short of Winspear’s usual high standard. Agent: Amy Rennert, Amy Rennert Agency.

  • Kirkus

    February 1, 2017
    As World War II dawns for Britain, investigator Maisie Dobbs takes on a case involving murdered Belgian refugees with shadowy ties to the Great War.Back in England after her undercover mission in Germany (Journey to Munich, 2016, etc.), Maisie re-establishes herself as private investigator extraordinaire just as Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announces that England is once again at war on Sept. 3, 1939. Conflict, of the armed or emotional variety, is nothing new to Maisie: she's been suffering nobly for the entirety of Winspear's series, since the death of her husband and her subsequent miscarriage. So when Dr. Francesca Thomas, a Belgian national who once fought with the resistance group La Dame Blanche and trained Maisie in all things spy, comes inquiring about a new murder investigation, Maisie's interest is piqued. Fellow Belgian Frederick Addens, who came to London as a teenager during WWI and later married an Englishwoman, was shot to death outside his engineering post at St. Pancras station, but Dr. Thomas doesn't buy the cops' explanation that theft motivated the murder. Maisie starts digging, uncovering a trail of mysterious figures with questionable alliances, several of whom don't survive her investigation. Also occupying her time is the plight of 5-year-old Anna, a refugee who's been evacuated to Maisie's family home in Kent but seems to have no family of her own, sending up not only Maisie's detecting red flags, but her long-dormant maternal ones as well. Winspear teeters on the brink of stating the emotionally obvious at times but largely pulls back and weaves a convincing historical drama together with a rocky journey for her heroine.

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    October 15, 2016
    Maisie Dobbs, a World War I nurse-turned-psychologist and investigator, traveled to 1938 Germany on her last outing, Journey to Munich, which debuted at No. 4 on the New York Times best sellers list. Here, Britain has just declared war on Germany, and the death of a group of refugees has Maisie wondering just how close to home the enemy really is. With a nine-city tour.

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Marilyn Stasio, New York Times "While Winspear maintains her focus on the volunteers and charitable organizations involved in their rescue and relocation, her portraits of individual evacuees like Anna, a homeless waif so traumatized she has stopped speaking, are enough to break your heart."
  • Jay Strafford, Richmond Times-Dispatch "With authority and compassion, Winspear excels at captivating plotting, authentic casting and refined prose. Superlative crime fiction that breaks the boundaries of the genre, 'In This Grave Hour' portrays a past that reverberates in the present."
  • Library Journal, starred review "Winspear's compelling series entry feels very timely in light of our current political climate over issues of refugees and immigration. Fans will line up to get this installment, but it also serves as a good introduction for new readers."
  • David Pitt, Booklist "A fine novel, written with Winspear's sure hand and ability to meld historical events into an engaging crime narrative. Fans will savor this one as they anticipate what Maisie will do in WWII."
  • Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh Air "A female investigator every bit as brainy and battle-hardened as Lisbeth Salander."
  • Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal "A series that seems to get better with every entry."
  • Robin Bianco, USA Today, 3.5 out of 4 stars "With clarity and economy, Winspear lays the historical groundwork.... The setting matters, but what may matter more is the lovely, sometimes poetic way Winspear pushes her heroine forward.... May she shine on the literary scene for many books to come."
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A Maisie Dobbs Novel
Jacqueline Winspear
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