A LESSON IN SECRETS by Jacqueline Winspear


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War, peace and Maisie Dobbs’ introduction to the German Nationalist Socialist Party.

Maisie, whose accomplishments include wearing tidy linen jackets and hats with ribbons and spending the fortune a mentor left her in aid of chums in need of a boost, is asked to leave her private-enquiry agency and take on a task for the British Secret Service. Would she sign on as a teaching assistant in the philosophy department of Cambridge’s College of St. Francis and ferret out goings-on not in the interests of the Crown? The college’s founder, Greville Liddicote, has aroused attention because a children’s book he authored fomented mutiny during the Great War and had to be suppressed. Liddicote, who founded his college on pacifist precepts, seems oddly opposed to a pro-or-con debate with Cambridge students on Hitler in Great Britain. But his reluctance becomes moot when someone breaks his neck. In between buying a house to resettle her assistant in; attempting to move her dad to more commodious digs; and pining for her lover James off in Canada, Maisie (The Mapping of Love and Death, 2010, etc.) decides to solve the Liddicote murder. She delves into the lives of lecturers and debaters, gets a copy of that banned children’s book and warns the Secret Service of growing Nazism among the students. They ignore her concern, and the rest is history.

A pivotal historical moment forced to take a back seat to the heroine’s wardrobe and intuition.

Pub Date: March 22nd, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-172767-2
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2011


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