Still reeling from personal tragedies, intrepid nurse-turned–private investigator Maisie Dobbs becomes embroiled in a murder case in Gibraltar on the eve of the Spanish Civil War.
Following the death of her husband, Viscount James Compton, in a Canadian aviation accident and her ensuing miscarriage, Maisie traveled to India rather than return home to England, despite pleas from family and friends. Though she initially feels strong enough, both mentally and physically, to face London again in the spring of 1937, Maisie has a change of heart midvoyage and decamps in Gibraltar, a military garrison and an international outpost for those on both ends of the political spectrum. With nearby Spain on the brink of civil war, tensions run high, and support—both financial and in the form of ammunition—funnels steadily across the increasingly porous border. As often happens, Maisie stumbles—this time literally—upon a corpse and isn't satisfied with the seemingly cursory police investigation. The dead man is identified as Sebastian Babayoff, a photographer and member of the local Sephardic Jewish community. Maisie, immersing herself in Gibraltar life by staying in a rooming house rather than the posh tourist-oriented hotel, finds Babayoff's second camera near the crime scene and begins her own investigation. Winspear (Leaving Everything Most Loved, 2013, etc.) elegantly weaves historical events with Maisie's own suffering—the bombing of Guernica is particularly well-done—all while constructing an engaging whodunit.
Fans of this long-running series will welcome Maisie's return in this 11th installment while feeling the pain of her losses as deeply as if they were their own.