A Lesson in Secrets ~ Jacqueline Winspear
Genre: Adult Fiction/Mystery
After seven books of post WWI melodrama, Maisie Dobbs is finally beginning to see creeping foreshadowing signs that the next global catastrophe is in the air. Just in time, too, she is recruited by her friends a little bit higher up, at Scotland Yard, to do a bit of undercover digging at a college dedicated to peace.
The old boys’ club in the Secret Service ropes Maisie into yet another escapade. This time, it’s one that has her entering into a private college in Cambridge in the summer of 1932. Her simple goal? To unearth and report any one or any activity “not in the interests of His Majesty’s government”.
Seems easy enough, especially as the college of St. Francis was founded on the idealistic dreams of pacifism. What would a school built on peace have to do with Maisie’s usual line of work? Oh, as one can imagine, it’s only a matter of time before someone is in need of services rendering said someone about six feet under. This time it’s the initial founder of St. Francis who ends up sleeping with the fishes and try as she might to keep her hands clean and stick to the task assigned, Maisie finds herself neck-deep in the murderous affair.
As the dark days of Germany’s impending revival roll in along the horizon, Maisie digs up dirt that will not only be helpful for her current case but also lands on harbingers of the deeper, more unsettling days to come. The country is holding its breath as the series marches onward toward a future we all know as no less than ominous.
With incredible skill, as always, Winspear deftly guides our heroine through the last days of peace as young Nazi’s begin to gather in corners and pubs. As usual with her history, events and happenings are not beaten in to the reader but , rather, are woven in more subtly as they might happen were we truly living through time with Maisie and Billy.
I have been waiting for seven books to finally get in to the second world war (which, I admittedly know much more about than the first) and now that it’s here, I have to say that I’m a bit worried for Maisie’s Europe. Still, I’ll wait with bated breath to find out what’s in store for our crew as they enter into the harrowing days around the bend.