21 March 2017

Thirteenth in a Binge-Worthy Historical Mystery Series | In This Grave Hour by Jacqueline Winspear


"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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I mentioned in my review of A Lesson in Secrets that I’ve been binge-reading the Maisie Dobbs series this year. It’s been an absolute pleasure to get to know her character over the course of the series, so reading In This Grave Hour felt a little bittersweet for me—since I didn’t have another Maisie Dobbs novel to immediately pick up at this conclusion. Still, In This Grave Hour makes an excellent addition to the series and will not leave fans disappointed.

In This Grave Hour begins as England joins World War II, and personally and professionally, Maisie sees the daily effects and stresses of this new war. And, of course, when murders connected to events of World War I occur, she must employ her usual sleuthing skills to uncover the truth. Expected and beloved characters make their appearances, fascinating historical details surface, and Maisie tries to make sense of the information she discovers—and with steadily paced revelations, a satisfying conclusion soon arrives.

Jacqueline Winspear does Maisie Dobbs justice with In This Grave Hour. I enjoyed it, even as I struggled to piece together the clues and determine the outcome, and recommend it.


Thanks to TLC Book Tours, I received a complimentary copy of In This Grave Hour and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.


Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestselling Maisie Dobbs series, which includes In This Grave Hour, Journey to Munich, A Dangerous Place, Leaving Everything Most Loved, Elegy for Eddie, and eight 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.

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