A Dangerous Place

A Dangerous Place

A Novel

Book - 2015
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Spring 1937. In the four years since she left England, Maisie Dobbs has experienced love, contentment, stability--and the deepest tragedy a woman can endure. Now, all she wants is the peace she believes she might find by returning to India. But her sojourn in the hills of Darjeeling is cut short when her stepmother summons her home to England; her aging father Frankie Dobbs is not getting any younger. But on a ship bound for England, Maisie realized she isn't ready to return. Agains the wishes of the captain, she disembarks in Gilbraltar. Thoush she is on her own, Maisie is far from alone: the British garrison town is teeming with refugees fleeing a brutal civil war across the border in Spain. Yet the danger is very real. Days after Maisie's arrive, a photographer and member of Gibraltar's Sephardic Jewish community is murdered and Maisie becomes entanged in the case, drawing the attention of the British Secret Service.
Publisher: New York : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, ©2015.
ISBN: 9780062220554
Characteristics: 309 pages ;,24 cm.

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j
jsjs
Mar 03, 2017

(from Goodreads review posted recently -- Goodreads name Joan, from Stratford):

The mystery itself moves painfully slowly this time, and the flashbacks at the beginning (where we learn that Maisie overcame all her misgivings about marrying James and briefly became exquisitely happy) feel to me like a cop-out. I suspect writing "happy Maisie" would have been incredibly strange territory for the author, so this was the solution.

That said, the post-trauma story is very well done, and for the first time ever I feel Maisie has begun to seem more like a character than a caricature.

e
EmilyEm
May 24, 2016

When returning to England from India, while still recovering from the tragic deaths of her husband and miscarriage of their child, Maisie departs ship at Gibraltar, a place seething with danger and intrigue as the Spanish Civil War rages just across the border.
Almost at once Maisie is drawn into the mystery of a photographer's murder, one that will introduce her to some in the local Sephardic community and connections people may have to the fighting next door. Good historical mystery while carrying Maisie’s own story along.

Chapel_Hill_MollyL Dec 13, 2015

I have to agree with other reviews of the latest Maisie Dobbs...we were cheated out of huge important chunks of our detective's life. I don't mind what's happened (I have to admit that I prefer the single Miss Dobbs to the married Lady Compton) but I do mind the strange choice to gloss over such rich material. Still, I will always love Maisie Dobbs and hope for a new and interesting service for her moving forward.

m
marthabwaters
Nov 26, 2015

To be perfectly honest, I had no idea how to begin rating this book. To dispense quickly with my thoughts on the mystery: it definitely wasn't my favorite in the series, and I do think it signals a shift in the series away from traditional mysteries towards more spy/espionage tales (which makes sense, as WWII is looming and Maisie has Secret Service connections), which I'm not 100% sure how I'm going to like. We'll see, I suppose. Now, to the rest: the jump forward 3.5 years felt a bit jarring, and to have a bunch of huge -- and traumatic -- events in Maisie's life summed up in a few newspaper clippings and letters at the opening of the book felt a bit too cursory for my taste. Furthermore, the decision to -- SPOILER, though it is literally revealed within the first ten pages -- have Maisie be widowed is a choice I just cannot get onboard with. It felt like Winspear didn't know how to write Maisie as a character who solved crimes while being a wife and mother, so she had to give her a bit of happiness and then snatch it away so that Maisie could once again be Maisie Dobbs, single girl (widow now) solving mysteries. I would have been far more interested to see her try to creatively write around Maisie's changed circumstances. Instead, it's deeply painful to read about a character who has already suffered so much in her life and spent 10 books healing now having fallen back into a really dark, horrible place again. Furthermore, I just really liked James, and I miss him now, and reading about Maisie's reflections on their marriage and his death just made me really, really sad. I'll keep reading, because I'm really invested in this series, but this book made me cry a LOT, and I kind of resent Winspear for it. I feel manipulated, and I don't like it.

LPL_ShirleyB Oct 16, 2015

If you enjoy historical mysteries, I recommend you try this book! The heroine is resolute in a setting of world conflict in the 1930s. The first chapter quickly advances through several years and sets the mood. The core of the mystery begins with chapter 2 and an element of espionage. In spite of this being the 11th book in the Maisie Dobbs series, you need not begin with the 1st in the series.

b
behere
Aug 01, 2015

I felt that the jump across four years was jarring so am not rating this as high as some of her other books in this series.
On the plus side, there are two analogies to splinters that I found effective descriptions of 1) Maisie working through memories to help reduce her pain (see page 161) and 2) using this insight, to help solve the case (see page 286).

l
LauraSteinert
Jul 12, 2015

Another book about feeling sorry for oneself. It seems to be a trend these days. Tragedy is awful, no one wants to hear about someone else's struggle to survive a miscarriage on the day her husband died. That said, if you have ever wanted to visit Gibraltar this is probably going to interest you. Maisie's story started in WWI and this book takes us to the brink of WWII. The cast of shady characters, the threat of war only a few miles away, spies sneaking across the border, and double agents at every turn. And the surprise guest appearance of one of the most famous and beloved people ever to grace our earth.

r
readsalot80
Jul 10, 2015

Another good read by the author. Maisie is trying to recover from the death of her husband and baby. She can't think about returning to England so she lands in Gibraltar where she finds a dead body. In trying to find the person who did this amid the conflict in Spain, she finds a path to recovery. I loved the mystery and her investigation plus the characters of her land lady and the owner of the café. This is good historical mystery to read.

l
lgold08540
Jul 02, 2015

Just so-so. The first few books in the series were engrossing; the middle ones boring. I was so hopeful when I began to read this latest Maisie Dobbs novel. It was a bit formulaic and methodical. If there is another volume, perhaps the plot will have more suspense and be less predictable.

y
yllohmik
May 20, 2015

Maisie continues to evolve and change as she has thruout the series. Very well written.

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r
readsalot80
Jul 10, 2015

Maisie is trying to recover from the deaths of her husband and new born baby. She is coming back from India to England but can't face her family or England so she stops in Gibraltar. She finds the dead body of photographer Sebastian Babayoff. She doesn't believe the police that a robber did it. She finds his camera at the scene and realizes that he took a picture he shouldn't have. Amid the war in Spain, Maisie looks into the death with the help of people on both sides of the war. She meets two nurses who take her to a small village clinic which is run by a nun who is a teacher. This turns into her path of recovery with knowing she will return to England for Christmas.

SPL_Robyn Mar 31, 2015

When last we saw Maisie she had made the decision to leave England and everything she held most dear, and to travel to India. She left behind James, her beau who had proposed, with a promise she would let him know yes or no in a year’s time.

When we pick up Maisie’s story again, several years have passed, and we learn that while Maisie accepted James’ proposal, they did not live happily ever after. Trying to slay the demons of her past, Maisie embarks on more travel, finding her way to Gibraltar. She is not there a week when she literally stumbles over a body in the dark, and she once more takes up the mantle of detective psychologist, reasoning a little occupational therapy is what her mind and heart needs.

However Gibraltar in the years before WWII is a particularly hazardous place to be – many countries at cross-purposes have agents placed there, as Gibraltar - a tiny spit of land in southern Spain across the strait from Tangier – in 1937 is controlled by the British, and is the key to controlling the entrance to the Mediterranean. Fascists, Nazis, Communists, Allies – they all have a stake in Gibraltar, and Maisie’s investigation proves to have deeper, more complex roots than that of an apparent random murder in the city’s streets.

With spies from numerous nations looking over her shoulder and with opposing viewpoints muddling her convictions, Maisie will not be satisfied until she has answers for the victim’s families, but at what cost to her soul? Steeped in history of a relatively unexamined part of World War II, Jacqueline Winspear’s thoughtful characters and plotting make for a very reflective type of mystery, one that makes her audience seek out more knowledge about her subjects, just as her main character does.

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b
behere
Aug 01, 2015

Maisie felt the anger emanating from Vallejo. The dragon is alive inside him. And if I allow it, he will bring me down further. P 116

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