Thursday, February 7, 2013

Leaving Everything Most Loved

by Jacqueline Winspear  Harper, March 2013

...long time fans will be well pleased with this one.

The tenth novel in this series in the Maisie Dobbs series and it is a good one.  The year is 1933 and Maisie, a psychologist and private investigator, is asked to investigate the murder of an Indian woman.  It was common practice in England for British families returning from Indian service to bring an Indian amah to care for their children.  Unfortunately when the children are grown, the families often just released these women into a land that did not welcome them.  Usha Pramal the woman who was murdered was a charismatic well educated Indian, beloved by all who knew her.  Her murder was not well investigated by the police and her brother newly arrived from India asks Maisie to investigate.   The murder investigation takes the expected twists and turns as Maisie works slowly but competently towards capturing the murderer.

One of the hallmarks of the Maisie Dobbs novels is that they are well grounded in time and place- in this one London in 1933.  A small number of people led by Churchill and joined by Maisie’s love interest James Crompton are preparing for what they see as inevitable war with a rearming Germany.  Women are struggling to gain opportunities in the working world, in this story highlighted by Maisie’s assistant Sandra Tapley.  The devastating effects of WWI on the British continued well into the 1930s and we see this with the lingering effects on the health of Billy Beale, Maisie’s friend and assistant.  Lastly the overt racism that was common to the times is a consistent theme in this murder investigation.

On the personal front, Maisie continues to be unable to take the step and marry the incredibly patient James.  She has decided to close her business leave England and travel, possibly to India and other parts.  This could be the end of the series but I choose to believe that this will just give the author more exotic locales in which to set the stories.  If you haven’t read the earlier books in this series, it would be best to do so before reading this one, but it will stand alone.  Long time fans will be well pleased with this one.

I read a copy of this book provided by the publisher.

1 comment:

Zibilee said...

I read the first book in this series, and wasn't enchanted as so many others were. I liked the character development, but the fact that the mystery was a little flimsy made me less crazy about it. Still, I am in the minority here, and others have said that the books get better, so I might have to give them another shot. Excellent review today!