Thursday, July 21, 2011

SPL Shelf Life [adult]

This review appeared in the Stratford Gazette on July 21, 2011
Written by Robyn Godfrey, Librarian

A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear
@SPL: FIC Winsp

In the eighth Maisie Dobbs novel, the private investigator feels the winds of change upon  her. Her business is successful, she is newly wealthy (thanks to the legacy of her former mentor), and after years of healing from physical and emotional wounds sustained during WWI, she has finally found love once more. 
But there are much wilder winds approaching her homeland as well. There is a new political party making waves in Britain, the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei – The Nazi Party. 
While her faithful employee Billy keeps the business running smoothly, Maisie is seconded to the Secret Service. Her mission: to infiltrate a college at her alma mater, Cambridge, to sniff out any events or attitudes that are anti-British. 
But Jacqueline Winspeare hasn’t turned the Maisie Dobbs series into one of espionage – as Maisie takes up her post a murder falls into her lap, and she finds that her two jobs intersect in a very brutal way. And then the school’s secretary goes missing. And then so does her new employee, Sandra, whose husband met with a mysterious accident at work.
As if this was not enough on her plate, Maisie finds she has doubts of her new flame’s feelings – he is supposed to be in Canada, but his letters are posted in England. And why is her beloved father so reluctant to move into a bigger home, now that Maisie can afford to see him comfortably settled in retirement? What is Frankie Dobbs trying to hide? 
With several domestic puzzles to solve as well as those of greater international import, Maisie truly does get A Lesson in Secrets from all sides. The novel is told in its carefully constructed way, although Maisie herself has loosened up considerably from her first novel.

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