cover image A Dangerous Place

A Dangerous Place

Jacqueline Winspear. Harper, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-222055-4

Maisie Dobbs suffers a surplus of tragedy in Winspear's 11th novel featuring the London investigator and psychologist (after 2013's Leaving Everything Most Loved). Following an enigmatic preface set in 1937 Gibraltar, in which Maisie is under surveillance after discovering a corpse, the action flashes back to 1934. Within just a few pages, spanning several years, Maisie is engaged, married, and widowed, and gives birth to a dead child. It's no wonder that the still-fresh wounds keep her from returning home to England as she tries to find the resolve to carry on and "find the person she used to be." Back in the present, Maisie literally stumbles over the corpse of photographer Sebastian Babayoff while on an evening stroll, possibly disturbing the killer before he could complete the robbery that the local police believe to have been his motive. Taking a different view, Maisie comes to conclude that the dead man captured an image on his camera that was dangerous to others. The plot works better as a historical novel depicting pre-WWII turmoil than as a whodunit. Agent: Amy Rennert, Amy Rennert Agency. (Mar.)