I am very pleased to share some thoughts on Jacqueline Winspear’s twelfth novel, A Dangerous Place, the eleventh cozy mystery featuring investigator and psychologist Maisie Dobbs. I will give very little away in this review, as I would not appreciate as a reader critical revelations in the events in Maisie’s life since the last novel entitled Leaving Everything Most Loved. Maisie has made a stop in Gibraltar in her travels and the time is now the spring of 1937, four years since we left her last. Gibraltar is on the southern end of Spain at the entrance to the Mediterranean.
Going for a walk as she was accustomed to doing in Belgravia, Maisie literally stumbles upon a dead body, that of a young Gibraltarian photographer named Sebastian Babayoff. Instead of continuing to England as originally intended, Maisie decides to stay on the island and solve the murder of young Babayoff.
There’s much going on in the world in 1937. Nearby, Spain is engaged in its Civil War, that war that is still so confusing to decipher who were the good guys and who were the bad and who and why certain factions were on certain sides. Nationalists, republicans, communists, and capitalists—all vying for the Spanish soil as the people perished. Fascism and Nazi regimes were taking control in other areas of Europe.
Maisie settles in a guest house for the duration of the case, but finds out she cannot really trust anyone in this dangerous place. Maisie does meet some strong women and interesting characters on this case.
To put the pieces of the puzzle together, Maisie travels to Madrid amidst all the turmoil of the war, and I found this section of the book exciting and the most interesting. Throughout A Dangerous Place, Maisie faces her fears, meets another student of her beloved mentor, volunteers her nursing skills, encounters another mystery solver from the old days, and comes to conclusions about the murder and of her circumstances. As always, I will patiently await the next in the series.
Not as many British colloquialisms were present in this novel, as Maisie was not in London. However, I did manage to find a few words to look up:
portcullis—a strong, heavy grating sliding up and dow in vertical grooves, lowered to block a gateway to a fortress or town
balaclava—a close fitting garment covering the head and neck except for parts of the face, typically made of wool
salubrious—health giving, healthy
brilliantine—scented oil used on men’s hair to make it look glossy
occipital—having to do with the back of the head or skull
I also researched these entries:
In conclusion, I will share with you the two quotes Ms. Winspear presents in the epigraph:
The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it. —Albert Einstein
The world is getting to be such a dangerous place, a man is lucky to get out of it alive. —W. C. Fields
Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Leaving Everything Most Loved, Elegy for Eddie, A Lesson in Secrets, The Mapping of Love and Death, Among the Mad, and An Incomplete Revenge, as well as four other national bestselling Maisie Dobbs novels. Her standalone novel, The Care and Management of Lies, was also a New York Times bestseller. She has won numerous awards for her work, including the Agatha, Alex, and Macavity awards for the first book in the series, Maisie Dobbs, which was also nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel and was a New York Times Notable Book.