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To Die but Once: A Maisie Dobbs Novel
By  Jacqueline Winspear
HarperCollins
April 2018

Maisie Dobbs has come to a point of reconciliation with the death of her husband, James, and their unborn child. Work has always been a comfort to her, something to occupy her prodigious abilities and sate her curiosity about the human spirit. When the neighborhood publican comes to her with a request to investigate his young son’s whereabouts, Maisie is happy to volunteer her services and sets off to see just what young Joe Coombes has gotten into.

Joe is off working on a painting crew assigned to painting buildings on one of the many airfields that are being built rapidly as the War threatens England’s shore. The young man is well liked by all, but he hasn’t been feeling well, is “off” and Maisie grows more and more concerned when she’s unable to locate him readily. When she does find Joe, it’s with a heavy heart that she returns to his family with her news.

In the meantime, Maisie is still hopeful that her adoption of young Anna, the girl entrusted to Maisie by the youngster’s dying grandmother, and Maisie wants to be sure that she’s done all she can to satisfy the requirements of the placement agencies. She’s also quite worried about her dear friend Priscilla’s sons who are of an age to be drafted or otherwise involved with the ever-increasing war activities, and as it turns out, Maisie and Priscilla are both right to be worried.

To Die But Once is the fourteenth installment in this wonderful series, and as World War II unfolds, it is clear that there is much more in store for Maisie Dobbs, whom we first met as a young nurse in World War I. This story has so many elements: espionage, family loyalty, gangsters, and of course, the family and friends that are so integral to Maisie’s story in general. Fans of the series will totally enjoy this latest offering, but even those new to the series could start right here and enjoy it. Do yourself a favor, though – if you haven’t yet met the indomitable Maisie Dobbs, make her acquaintance and dig right in to one of the best series you will ever read!


Joyce Greenfield, ReaderToReader.com
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