Author: Jacqueline Winspear
Publisher: Harper, 2011
Hardcover, 336 pages
Genre: Historical Mystery, Private Investigator, #8 Maisie Dobbs mystery
Source: Amazon Vine
First Line: Maisie Dobbs had been aware of the motor car following her for some time.
It's the summer of 1932, and Maisie Dobbs accepts an undercover assignment as a lecturer at a private college in Cambridge. It seems Scotland Yard and the Secret Service want her on campus to monitor any activities "not in the interests of the Crown." Their major focus is on controversial pacifist and college founder Greville Liddicote, but when he is found murdered, Maisie knows that she must conduct her own investigation into this as well.
This eighth book in the series finds Maisie at a crossroads. She has inherited some money and wants to use it wisely to benefit those for whom she cares deeply. She also finds herself open to new experiences, so she's ripe for the picking when Scotland Yard and the Secret Service come knocking.
With Maisie in Cambridge during the week and only in London on weekends, I found myself missing her assistant, Billy. Moreover, I found a subplot involving Sandra, a young woman who'd been in service to Maisie's former employers, very interesting. With Maisie spending much of her time on the road, this particular subplot wasn't fleshed out as fully as I'd hoped.
The major focus of the book is twofold: Britain's sometimes less than stellar conduct during World War I, and Maisie's discovery that the Nazi Party has been making inroads in England-- as some of her fellow lecturers show up regularly to party meetings. To her surprise, Scotland Yard and the Secret Service think her reports on the Nazi Party have absolutely no significance.
This emphasis on foreshadowing World War II, although promising great things in future books, made Maisie less interesting as a character. Even so, this is a strong, excellent series featuring an unconventional heroine. I look forward to Maisie's further adventures.