Jacqueline Winspear

The American Agent

""...the descriptions and the little details of observation and behaviour are beautifully done." "


It is the early days of the Second World War and Maisie Dobbs is busy volunteering as an ambulance driver during the intensive blitz of the East End of London. One night she has an American war correspondent as a passenger and she warms to the humanity of the girl. When the journalist is found murdered and the British authorities are reluctant to investigate, Maisie agrees to work with an agent of the USA to find out the truth.

What she discovers is political intrigue from both sides of the pond as well as secrets on a more personal level. The background of American ambivalence to supporting Britain is an ongoing theme, as well as disclosures about the behaviour of the American ambassador in London. Maisie is determined to find out the truth.

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Maisie Dobbs is a revelation to me. A psychologist and investigator, she has her own business in London as well as a family in Kent, including a young girl evacuated to the country whom Maisie wants to adopt. From the details that emerge, it is clear that there is a long back story, but it is not necessary to have read previous books to enjoy this one thoroughly. Maisie is a feisty character, determined and intelligent as well as humane and sensitive. The progress of her emotional life is an added interest to the book. This is one of those books that is difficult to put down and calls to you whenever you have a spare moment. The story is gripping and set in a fascinating period of our history. The immediacy of the descriptions and the little details of observation and behaviour are beautifully done. My only regret is that I had not come across Maisie Dobbs earlier, despite frequent visits to the USA. I shall certainly look forward to more books in the series.

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