Top positive review
24 February 2008
For those who have not yet read the Maisie Dobbs series of novels, it is my advice not to start with this one, but with the first in the series entitled Maisie Dobbs and then read the next four in chronological order. For those already familiar with Maisie, and who already know the back story of our psychologist/private investigator, they certainly won't be disappointed with her latest exploits.
It is 1931, the country is deep in economic recession and Maisie is concerned about her business. She is therefore delighted to accept an assignment to investigate certain matters concerning a possible land purchase. Her investigations take her to rural Kent during the late summer hop picking season, to a village in which mysterious fires have taken place with alarming regularity and where the villagers - suspicious of everyone, particularly those involved in the hop picking (the families from London's East End and gypsies) - hide behind a wall of secrecy. As well as investigating the potential land purchase, Maisie is keen to discover the truth behind the fires.
As with Jacqueline Winspear's former Maisie Dobbs novel, this latest one is rich with period detail (a time when even a telephone was a luxury item) as well as instances of the gypsy language. This is the most exciting, atmospheric and enthralling of the Maisie Dobbs novels to date.