It’s a Mystery: The Mapping of Love and Death, by Jacqueline Winspear

4.0 out of 5 stars Endings and beginnings

Most series fiction runs the risk of becoming stale, with protagonists mired in a kind of rut. The Maisie Dobbs series was teetering along that edge, with Maisie having established a successful “inquiries agency”, taking cases that were always throwbacks to WW I. The Mapping of Love and Death, to all appearances, was yet another cast in this mold, but happily, as the story progressed, it became clear that Maisie’s life was destined to veer off in a new direction.

While investigating the death of an American cartographer, who had volunteered in England’s military during the Great War, Maisie soon determines that the cause of his death was suspicious, not battle related at all. Her mentor, Maurice Blanche, has been struck by severe respiratory problems, and her worries for Maurice are a constant burden. During a visit to his sickbed, Maisie is encouraged by him to open her mind with respect to a certain young man, James Compton, whom she had written off as a wastrel. As the ramifications of her current case grow threatening, she finds that Maurice is correct about James, and derives some much needed attention and support from their growing friendship.

Maisie, of course, resolves the questions surrounding her case, but the reader discovers, happily, that Maurice has provided Maisie with a profound new challenge. Will she accept it? Will she deepen her relationship with James? Will she find a cure for her loneliness? Where will Maisie go from this point forward? Looking forward to the next episode to find out. Go, Maisie!

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