A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear

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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.

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12 thoughts on “A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear”

  1. lol Meredith 🙂 I have all her books, unread. I have outgrown this type of books along the way. Wish I could donate them to the library…they are all on my tablet.
    THE BOOK OF STRANGE NEW THINGS, is my present read.
    Have a nice, safe week dear Meredith,
    Sylvie

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    1. Oh, Sylvie, I loved The Book of Strange New Things!I I can’t wait to talk about it with you when you finish. Does your edition have the gold edge such as a Bible might have?

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  2. I had this book pre-ordered and then I changed my mind and got something else instead… It could be that I am out-growing Maisie and it makes me a bit sad.

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    1. I wish I would have gotten on board with the very first one because so many of my friends adore her. I buy my neighbor every single new one that comes out after giving her the first. But somehow, I missed the boat with Maisie.

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  3. This was definitely the wrong book to start off with her. I’ve enjoyed this series since I picked up the first book, and I still had issues with this one. The character is one of those, that unless you know her complete back story, nothing she does will make a lick of sense. On one hand, it’s nice to have a character grow and develop over the years, but it makes it harder for new readers to get into it.

    I say that, but I’ve had a growing issue over the last three books, she is turning too angsty and insecure for me. I started to see it turn around by the end of this book, and I’m hoping the next continues that trend, or I may be done with the series.

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    1. Now I feel unfair to the author; I just could not get into Maisie. It helps to know that I am not alone in feeling her get too insecure; not that I’m so hard-hearted don’t understand suffering the loss of a husband or a child. Maybe I should go back and read the first one.

      (If you’ll leave me a link to your blog, I’d love to come visit you. I can’t find it when I click on your gravatar.)

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      1. Thanks for stopping by. I thought I fixed the Gravatar link years ago, but I think I got it done properly this time. Thanks for letting me know. 🙂

        Her emotional issues started long before losing James and their unborn child. It’s the way she was raised and what she witnessed and lost in the first World War. She’s not a perfect character, but I’ve grown to love her over the years, but I totally understand your reaction to her. For anyone coming in on the last three books, she isn’t a character that comes across as all that special, the back story is too important at that point in time.

        I would be curious to see how you react to the first book, if you ever do go back and read it.

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        1. I may very well go back and read the first; however, I am so deeply engrossed in the literature I’m reading for the IFFP (Independent Foreign Fiction Prize) that it won’t be before that winner is announced. These books are absolutely incredible.

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  4. I’ve read (or listened to) the first eight in this series, but looking back on my review for A Lesson in Secrets, I see that I only gave it 2.5/5 stars. I wrote, “As the final chapter of this most recent installment in the Maisie Dobbs’s series drew to a close, I found myself wondering why I’ve continued reading—or rather, listening to—these books. The actual mystery didn’t hold my interest nearly as well as others have in the past and I wanted to hear more about Maisie’s personal life and her relationships with some of the “regulars” in this series. Maybe I just like listening to Orlagh Cassidy read! But now as World War II draws closer, I’m hopeful that Winspear’s next book will appeal to me as her earlier works did.”

    Well, I never went on to read the next two and I probably won’t. I’m sorry to learn about the tragedies. I didn’t even know she was married, although I thought it would eventually happen.

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  5. I have been a huge Maisie fan and the first few books were fabulous, but the last couple have been exactly as you described. Like Les above I’ve stalled at book 8 & didn’t know that Maisie had got married.
    It feels like Winspear has lost her way with Maisie and doesn’t know how to finish it up or let it go.

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