The Mapping of Love and Death by Jacqueline Winspear
In the latest mystery in the New York Times bestselling series, Maisie Dobbs must unravel a case of wartime love and death an investigation that leads her to a long-hidden affair between a young cartographer and a mysterious nurse.
August 1914. Michael Clifton is mapping the land he has just purchased in California's beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, certain that oil lies beneath its surface. But as the young cartographer prepares to return home to Boston, war is declared in Europe. Michael the youngest son of an expatriate Englishman puts duty first and sails for his father's native country to serve in the British army. Three years later, he is listed among those missing in action.
April 1932. London psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs is retained by Michael's parents, who have recently learned that their son's remains have been unearthed in France. They want Maisie to find the unnamed nurse whose love letters were among Michael's belongings a quest that takes Maisie back to her own bittersweet wartime love. Her inquiries, and the stunning discovery that Michael Clifton was murdered in his trench, unleash a web of intrigue and violence that threatens to engulf the soldier's family and even Maisie herself. Over the course of her investigation, Maisie must cope with the approaching loss of her mentor, Maurice Blanche, and her growing awareness that she is once again falling in love.
Following the critically acclaimed bestseller Among the Mad, The Mapping of Love and Death delivers the most gripping and satisfying chapter yet in the life of Maisie Dobbs.
My Take: This is my first Maisie Dobbs book. Winspear is an amazingingly talented author. Maisie has been around for a number of previous books, developing her own character as well as a number of others that are well loved. Oddly enough, I didn't feel lost at all. I felt a little left out that I didn't know the back story for all of the characters, like Billy's wife who is just coming home from an insane asylum. On the other hand, this does not interfere with the mystery at hand.
The story itself moves along without the choppiness that sometimes accompanies a mystery with a back story. Maisie is simply in her office when she receives the call giving her a heads-up about her next clients who promptly arrive. The couple are quickly described, characters developed, objective provided and they leave. Maisie jumps right on it and begins her sleuthing by making telephone calls, visits, setting appointments and driving to see her dad and her mentor. These relationships are easily assessed by the reader as is the possible love interest of Maisie. Before you can lay the book down for the night, the couple who hired Maisie is brutally attacked and hospitalized in seriously dire condition. That's a real hospital word.
Okay, it's not but it should be.
That's the way the book progresses. For a time without internet and cell phones, Maisie is able to use her time to gather clues, establish her own case map, continue with her personal life, make connections, and eventually solve the mystery. It is a much better developed cozy read than I've ever read. The end result is slightly disappointing to me. I don't want to give anything away but the actual murderer's motive was a little flimsy. On the other hand, the identity of the nurse was exceptionally pleasing to me as was the result.
I will definitely read Maisie Dobbs again and again. As long as Winspear writes, I will continue to read. Excellent!
For more info on Jacqueline Winspear, click her picture below:
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from TLC Book Tours. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”