In This Grave Hour by Jacqueline Winspear

In This Grave Hour by Jacqueline Winspear


March 14, 2017

352 Pages

–another wonderful cover created by British artist Andrew Davidson for the Maisie Dobbs series

From the publisher:

 “A female investigator every bit as brainy and battle-hardened as Lisbeth Salander.” Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air, on Maisie Dobbs

Sunday, September 3rd, 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 Dobbs’ flat to await her return. Dr. Francesca Thomas has an urgent assignment for Maisie: to find the killer of a man who escaped occupied Belgium 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 who the child belongs to or who might 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.

My thoughts on In This Grave Hour:

Flabbergasted that this book is the thirteenth in Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series is how I am feeling about In This Grave Hour. I began reading the series back in 2011 when hosted a read-along and invited me to take part and share my thoughts about the first few books in the series. In This Grave Hour finds Maisie working wither her team to solve the murder of an immigrant to London from the Great War as the Prime Minister is relaying the news that the country is at war with Germany once again. Not only does Maisie have to solve this murder, but three more murders occur before she is successful. Young men are enlisting to keep Hitler at bay, and Maisie’s friends and acquaintances are dealing with the emotional turmoil of seeing their children off, besides preparing for the inevitable bombings once again to occur in England. Adding to Maisie’s own burden is the appearance of a young refugee girl who is so traumatized that she cannot speak. With the help of her assistants, Billy and Sandra, Maisie does her best to solve the crimes and help those in need, always putting others before herself. 

I just love this series and alway sign up to review the latest Maisie Dobbs novel any chance I can. Maisie has weathered her own storms of loss and I am always anxious to find out if she will meet someone new (or familiar) to enhance her life. I am not disappointed when she does not as the history and context of the time intrigue me just as much. And besides catching up with Maisie’s life, I am always pleased to find out about the other characters that have been in the books for most or parts of the series. Another aspect of these books that I enjoy are the wonderful British words I discover and the people, places, and/or things that are uniquely British and cause me to research. Following are some of the words and then some of the subjects I learned more about to better understand what I was reading:

barathea–a fabric that has a broken rib weave and a pebbly texture and made of silk, worsted, or synthetic fiber or a combination of these

barrow boy–street seller of fruit (wheelbarrow)

concertina door–folding, accordion-type door

boffin–a scientific expert (I did look this up before when I was reading Deadman’s Chase by Ian Fletcher)

cack-handed–clumsy, awkward

dekko–a look or glance

shandy–a drink consisting of beer mixed with a nonalcoholic drink

spanner–wrench (as in tool)

stroppy–touchy, belligerent

winkle–marine or freshwater snail


Anderson and Morrison shelters

Bernard Spilsbury

Norman Shaw

Sudenten Crisis of 1938

Purchase Links for In This Grave Hour

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Other stops on this blog tour can be found HERE.

Jacqueline WinspearAbout Jacqueline Winspear:

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestselling Maisie Dobbs series, which includes In This Grave Hour, Journey to Munich, A Dangerous Place, Leaving Everything Most Loved, Elegy for Eddie, and eight other novels. Her stand-alone novel, The Care and Management of Lies, was also a New York Times bestseller and a Dayton Literary Peace Prize finalist. Originally from the United Kingdom, she now lives in California.

Find out more about Jacqueline at her website,, and find her on Facebook.

For my honest review, I received a free Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book.

  2 comments for “In This Grave Hour by Jacqueline Winspear

  1. March 19, 2017 at 4:15 PM

    I love your list of new words and phrases! I’m not familiar with most of them either, and I love learning new words.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

    • March 19, 2017 at 4:18 PM

      Thanks so much, Heather! I enjoy so much reading Ms. Winspear’s writing!

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