October 28, 2011
The Mapping of Love and Death
The Mapping of Love and Death by Jacqueline Winspear
Mystery (#7 in the Maisie Dobbs’ series)
2010 Sound Library - Unabridged
Reader: Orlagh Cassidy
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)
Winner of the 2011 Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award
August 1914. As Michael Clifton is mapping land he has just purchased in California's beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, war is declared in Europe—and duty-bound to his father's native country, the young cartographer soon sets sail for England to serve in the British army. Three years later, he is listed as missing in action.
April 1932. After Michael's remains are unearthed in France, his parents retain London psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs, hoping she can find the unnamed nurse whose love letters were among their late son's belongings. It is a quest that leads Maisie back to her own bittersweet wartime love—and to the stunning discovery that Michael Clifton was murdered in his dugout. Suddenly an exposed web of intrigue and violence threatens to ensnare the dead soldier's family and even Maisie herself as she attempts to cope with the impending loss of her mentor and the unsettling awareness that she is once again falling in love.
This is my favorite in the series, thus far. Maisie’s personal life played a larger role than in previous installments and I’m anxious to read on (or listen) to see what comes next for this plucky sleuth. I have a feeling there are big things in store in Maisie’s future.
Maisie prepared a simple evening meal of soused mackerel and vegetables, with a slice of bread and jam for pudding. In general, she did not mind a solitary repast, often taken on a tray while she sat in one of the armchairs, a fork in one hand and a book in the other. And she was under no illusions regarding the significance of the book, whether a novel or some work of reference. As she turned the pages, the characters or the subject matter became her company, a distraction so that the absence of a dining companion—someone with whom to share the ups and downs of her day, from the surprising to the mundane—was not so immediate. Guests to her home were few, and after such a visit, during which a linen cloth would be laid on the dining table and cutlery and glasses set for two, the vacuum left by the departing visitor seemed to echo along the hallway and into the walls. It was at those times, when her aloneness took on a darker hue, that she almost wished there would be no more guests, for then there would be no chasm of emptiness for her to negotiate when they were gone.
There's something about a Jacqueline Winspear book that slows me down. I barely notice turning the pages. I am transported back to Maisie Dobbs' time and place, and I almost become part of the story.
I cannot praise the series highly enough. The books are categorized as mysteries, but really they are the story of Maisie Dobbs. Because of her work as an investigator, there is always a mystery going on, and as interesting and intriguing as it may be, what this reader loves is the character and her life and times, and the people around her.
I agree, wholeheartedly. And, I'm not at all surprised that Nan chose to include the same passage that I did. Go here to read her complete review.
Be sure to take some time to peruse the author's website and blog. The old photographs alone are worth the visit. Click here to view Winspear speaking on The Mapping of Love and Death at Warwick's in La Jolla, California.