Saturday, May 18, 2013

Leaving Everything Most Loved: A Maisie Dobbs Mystery by Jacqueline Winspear

The blurb:

London, 1933. Two months after the body of an Indian woman named Usha Pramal is found in the brackish water of a South London canal, her brother, newly arrived in England, turns to Maisie Dobbs to find out the truth about her death. Not only has Scotland Yard made no arrests, evidence indicates that they failed to conduct a full and thorough investigation.
Before her death, Usha was staying at an ayah's hostel alongside Indian women whose British employers turned them out into the street—penniless and far from their homeland—when their services were no longer needed. As Maisie soon learns, Usha was different from the hostel's other lodgers. But with this discovery comes new danger: another Indian woman who had information about Usha is found murdered before she can talk to Maisie.
As Maisie is pulled deeper into an unfamiliar yet captivating subculture, her investigation becomes clouded by the unfinished business of a previous case as well as a growing desire to see more of the world, following in the footsteps of her former mentor, Maurice Blanche. And there is her lover, James Compton, who gives her an ultimatum she cannot ignore.
Bringing a crucial chapter in the life and times of Maisie Dobbs to a close, Leaving Everything Most Loved marks a pivotal moment in this remarkable series.

I'm a staunch fan of Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series and was very excited to review her latest novel, Leaving Everything Most Loved.  

This particular book is one of my favorites for these reasons:
-more time spent on the romance between Maisie Dobbs and James Compton.  The relationship seems quite modern insofar as Maisie puts a premium on her independence and puts off James's  repeated proposals of marriage.  Now that Maisie is financially independent, she is slow to exchange her life for the obligations and luxuries that come with marriage to one of the wealthiest men in Great Britain. Maisie plans to travel in the hope that this will help her "come home to herself" and allow her to be ready to build a life with James.
-the novel addresses issues of race, cultural difference, and colonial ties - as Maisie investigates the death of the beautiful young Indian woman, her interviews and interactions with Londoners gives us a better sense of the level of prejudice and isolation that existed at that time.

Jacqueline Winspear delivers another beautifully written mystery with strong characters.  I'm looking forward to the next Maisie Dobbs adventure.

ISBN-10: 0062049607 - Hardcover $26
Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (March 26, 2013), 352 pages.
Review copy courtesy of the Amazon Vine Program.

About the Author:
Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Among the Mad and An Incomplete Revenge, as well as four other Maisie Dobbs novels. She has won numerous awards for her work, including the Agatha, Alex, and Macavity awards for the first book in the series, Maisie Dobbs. Originally from the United Kingdom, she now lives in California.

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