In this installment of the adventures of Maisey Dobbs, psychologist and detective, we find Maisey back in London in 1938, still reeling from the loss of her husband but trying to get back into her life. Feeling like she needs to do something to help someone else – and possibly that she has nothing to lose – she accepts an assignment to go undercover as the daughter of a British businessman held prisoner by the Germans and now being released to her only. To complicate her mission, she is also asked to bring back from Germany the one young woman Maisie holds most responsible for her husband’s death. How will she accomplish both of these feats, especially under the careful watch of the Nazi government?
This book series is part detective novel/part historical fiction, with lots of human sensibility to warm up the mix. Especially in this book, the kindness and forgiveness that Maisie shows, whether toward the man she is asked to bring home or toward the young woman who she is asked to find, shines so particularly bright compared to the darkness of the Nazi regime. It is interesting that the timing of the story is actually just prior to the German invasion of Austria – really at the beginning of everything – but still she describes the feeling of foreboding, the pall of darkness that pervades the otherwise lively city. The hope that Maisie clings to is in stark contrast to the evil that is lurking, that has been set into motion.
This is really not a “Holocaust” book per se, and while it is set in the time and place of the Holocaust it does not take the same emotional toll as those books do. So if you’re planning your reading based on this, don’t worry that you’ll be taken through the same emotional rigors of that. There is suspense and sadness, but not to the same extent as you would with other books from this period.
I do recommend this book heartily! Happy reading!