TITLE: THE MAPPING OF LOVE AND DEATH
AUTHOR: JACQUELINE WINSPEAR
Details: no. 7 Maisie Dobbs
Michael Clifton was a young American cartographer with an English father who had just finished surveying and buying a plot of land in California when he read about World War 1 breaking out in Europe and decided to sail to Britain to offer his services. Three years later Michael and others on his team were listed as missing.
In 1932 Maisie Dobbs is hired by Michael’s parents. Their son’s body has finally been discovered and with it a bunch of love letters from a British nurse as well as other personal papers. They hope Maisie will be able to discover who the nurse was and find out more about those final years of their son’s life.
Reading the post mortem report proves to Maisie that Michael was murdered rather than a victim of the war and when soon
after talking to Maisie and giving her the letters, the elderly couple is attacked in their hotel room and left for dead it becomes very clear that the investigation is about more than just finding the young but elusive nurse.
Maisie finds herself once again looking at the events of the First World War and her own painful memories of that time. But at the same time her own life is going through drastic changes. Her mentor, Maurice is very ill and Maisie has to prepare herself for life without the man who taught her everything she knows about investigating. She also finds herself taking tentative steps towards loving again. This investigation will be an emotional rollercoaster for a lot of the characters in this book.
I’m not quite sure what exactly it is about these Maisie Dobbs stories, but I love them. I adore the gentle pace in which the stories are told. I’m in awe of Maisie’s way of approaching the people she deals with and feel inspired by the philosophies which underlie her investigative methods.
The book also gives a great and realistic view of life in Britain in the 1930’s as well as the horrors of World War One.
These stories flow softly even though they are murder mysteries and don’t shy away from the horrors of war and death and the pain people will cause each other. And the mysteries are well plotted with solutions that make sense without being obvious.
I can only hope that Mrs. Winspear will continue writing these books for a long time.
“Life is a riddle, my dear. It is filled with clues along the way, with messages we struggle to understand. (…) you should know that all maps are drawn in hindsight. And hindsight, if interpreted with care, is what brings us wisdom.”