A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear


Although Maisie Dobbs has been around for many years, I have not been introduced to her until this book which is twelfth in the series. I can’t say that I regret not meeting her until now.

Like Miss Marple, she is a perfectly lovely woman. Polite, adventurous, good at drinking tea and solving crimes. But my goodness, the plot took forever to get going, and in my opinion never did get quite off the ground in the way that I had hoped.

While coming home to Southampton from India, after suffering both the loss of her husband and her baby, Maisie decides to stay awhile in Gibralter. There, she just happens to stumble across the body of Sebastian Babayoff lying on the ground with his Leica camera under a nearby bush.

From there we are introduced, quite painstakingly, to practically every character in the town: Mrs. Bishop who runs the boarding house in which Maisie stays; Mr. Solomon who runs the haberdashery shop; Mr. Salazar who serves her coffee and a pastry each morning at his coffee shop; Arturo Kenyon  who trails her unconvincingly; and just coincidentally, all the other people who could possibly be involved in the murder of Sebastian, the photographer.

Whom I never cared enough about to wonder who would murder him, let alone why.

The whole story seemed conveniently put together for the author’s purpose, the mourning of Maisie became tedious after the first third of the book, and the characters lay stubbornly dormant rather than waking to impress me.

If you are one of the readers who likes Maisie Dobbs, I’m sure this latest novel in her explorations will amuse you. If you haven’t read her yet, I don’t recommend starting now.