cover image In This Grave Hour: A Maisie Dobbs Novel

In This Grave Hour: A Maisie Dobbs Novel

Jacqueline Winspear. Harper, $27.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-243660-3

The plot of bestseller Winspear’s uneven 13th Maisie Dobbs novel (after 2016’s Journey to Munich) has promise. Shortly after Neville Chamberlain’s announcement on Sept. 3, 1939, that Britain is at war with Germany, Maisie receives a summons—to her own London flat—from Francesca Thomas, a member of a Belgian resistance movement during WWI. Thomas asks the psychologist and investigator to look into the murder of a Belgian refugee, railway engineer Frederick Addens, who was shot execution-style. Scotland Yard has made little progress on what for them is a low-priority case. Maisie agrees to help, despite her reservations about her client. Unfortunately, Maisie shows a lack of acuity when she not only endorses her late mentor’s dubious aphorism, “Coincidence is a messenger sent by Truth,” but also agrees that it merits displaying on her office wall, so as to be the first thing that she and her staff see every workday. The mystery fails to grip, and the quality of the prose falls short of Winspear’s usual high standard. [em]Agent: Amy Rennert, Amy Rennert Agency. (Mar.) [/em]