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Review: In This Grave Hour by Jacqueline Winspear

Title: In this Grave Hour
Author: Jacqueline Winspear
Year Published: 2017

Genre: Adult Fiction (short stories)
Pages: 331
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2017 Google Reading map)UK

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of the book for review

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Sunday, September 3, 1939. At the moment Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain broadcasts to the nation Britain's declaration of war with Germany, a senior Secret Service agent breaks into Maisie Dobb's flat to await her return. Dr. Francesca Thomas has an urgent assignment for Maisie: to find the killer of a man who escaped occupied Belgum as a boy, some twenty-three years earlier during the Great War.

In a London shadowed by barrage balloons, bomb shelters, and the threat of invasion, within days another former Belgian refugee is found murdered. And as Maisie delves deeper into the killings of the dispossessed from the "last war," a new kind of refugee--an evacuee from London--appears in Maisie's life. The little girl billeted at Maisie's home in Kent does not, or cannot, speak, and the authorities do not know whom the child belongs to or who may have put her on the "Operation Pied Piper" evacuee train. They know only that her name is Anna.

As Maisie's search for the killer escalates, the country braces for what is to come. Britain is approaching its gravest hour--and Maisie could be nearing a crossroads of her own.

Purchase Links for In This Grave Hour

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Review: Jacqueline Winspear does such a good job with the Maisie Dobbs mysteries. I always say the language is gentle and Maisie fits the time period so well. Previous to this novel, I have read Winspear's Maisie DobbsBirds of a FeatherThe Care and Management of Lies, and Elegy for Eddie

This novel brings Maisie and her friends up to World War II, which I think is great--the books are moving ahead in time. Winspear has done a good job of setting the scene for the outbreak of war, the uncertainty, and the changes in people's lives. I also liked that this story tied into the time period of previous novels--World War I--by having Belgian refugees at the heart of the mystery. I feel like I have studied both these wars a ton, but the Belgian resistance and refugees was something with which I wasn't all that familiar.

Maisie is smart. And a keen observer. And kind. In fact, there is an orphan child in this book and I want Maisie to adopt her. But that would become an obstacle in her work so maybe that isn't a good idea. Hmmmm. I am torn. I skipped a couple of the books in the series and I obviously missed out on Maisie's major romance, marriage, and the death of her husband. It's okay that I skipped the books as enough reference was made to the events that I caught on, but it made me sad for Maisie.

I'm not sure what else to say about this book except that, like the ones that come before it, the mystery is good, I like the characters and the setting, and it just works for me.

Challenges for which this qualifies:

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