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To Die But Once (Maisie Dobbs, #14)
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To Die But Once

(Maisie Dobbs #14)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  11,918 ratings  ·  1,309 reviews
During the months following Britain’s declaration of war on Germany, Maisie Dobbs investigates the disappearance of a young apprentice working on a hush-hush government contract. As news of the plight of thousands of soldiers stranded on the beaches of France is gradually revealed to the general public, and the threat of invasion rises, another young man beloved by Maisie ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published March 27th 2018 by Harper
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Alison I add my voice to Nancy's; start at the beginning. The development of Maisie from WWI to the most recent book, set during Dunkirk is, I believe, integ…moreI add my voice to Nancy's; start at the beginning. The development of Maisie from WWI to the most recent book, set during Dunkirk is, I believe, integral in understanding the character and following the story.(less)
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Michell Karnes I also think it was suspicious that this neighbor who she hadn't really seen much is suddenly chummy with her employees and then her.…moreI also think it was suspicious that this neighbor who she hadn't really seen much is suddenly chummy with her employees and then her.(less)

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Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Book 14 in the series and set right in the middle of World War 2. The author writes very movingly about events surrounding Dunkirk and the threat of an invasion of Britain from the point of view of the people left behind who knew only what the censor allowed them to know.

In the course of the book Maisie searches for the truth about a missing fifteen year old boy, helps put a major criminal behind bars and discovers a spy. In her personal life she tries to adopt an orphaned girl and helps her fr
Shirley Revill
I absolutely enjoyed this audiobook that was set in the early days of world war two. There is so much going on in this story and Maisie is there to crack the mystery. I can't wait for the next audiobook in the series and I found that this book worked well as a standalone. ...more
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, march, arc
Another excellent entry in the MAISIE DOBBS series. I have been wondering how Winspear would handle the introduction of the second World War, and how it would impact our main characters, all of whom were touched by the First in significant ways. In TO DIE BUT ONCE, we have this introduction, and it's both quite personal and part of the larger history, with a plot point hinging on Dunkirk.

It is essential to have read prior books in the series before this one, as many characters from throughout th
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To my relief, this is still a solid, nearly fluff-free historical mystery series. It’s slow-moving and subtle in its flow of tension and drama. The main character is barely quirky in a refined, quiet way.

I don’t wait anxiously for the next in the series but when I get to it I’m pleased to have had another visit.

Please may this positive review not jinx the series into a series-killing what-happened-here disappointment. I’ve had a run of those and when I do, I get tend to get spooked for all my
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
I really liked the mysteries in this one but from near the start it was a sad situation.

I loved all the settings and that the book’s storyline took place at such an interesting time. I liked that the reader sees how ordinary English people handled various situations.

I love Anna, and I hope everything will go as well as possible with the situation with her and Maisie.

Two great dogs and a horse in this one.

I’ve cried only a very few times when I’ve read the books in this series but I cried a bi
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I just love this series. These mysteries are so well crafted, the historical aspects are so authentic, and Maisie is such a beautifully developed character that I feel like you live in the book more than read it. Every Maisie Dobbs book is an experience, not just a book. The exploration of war profiteering, the challenges of adoption for single women in the 1940s, and the evacuation of Dunkirk were all particular high points of this adventure. I also found myself worrying about the fictional chi ...more
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
After I started this, I realized that I skipped the 13th book! How I missed that one last year is beyond me! I still love this series and I’m liking the way WWII is being introduced. Looking forward to more from Maisie Dobbs.
Aug 08, 2019 rated it liked it
I have read most of Jacqueline Winspear's book and have loved them. This, however, I just couldn't get into but I finished reading it as a tribute to her work. ...more
I have thoroughly enjoyed this series. This is book fourteen in the Maisie Dobbs series. Maisie was a nurse in World War One; then trained to be a psychologist/investigator after the war. The story opens in May 1940. Great Britain is again at war with Germany. Maisie has been hired to investigate the disappearance of a fifteen-year-old boy, Joseph Combes. He is an apprentice painter working for a company that has a government contract to go about the countryside to paint a special fire-retardant ...more
Kathy Davie
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fourteenth in the Maisie Dobbs, private investigator–historical mystery series now at the start of World War II in England and revolving around Maisie and the people who surround her.

My Take
I can't help but love Maisie Dobbs. Every time I read her story, I'm so impressed with her rise from her poor beginnings, simply because she wanted to learn and of her compassion for others. Yes, yes, I know this is fiction, but fiction can motivate us into believing a dream, and that's not a bad thing.

As Mai
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I loved how the author took us up close and personal with how war affected the every day lives of ordinary people. Life was not easy for those waiting on the home front, dreading the news of the death of a loved one and living in fear of enemy invasion. Habits of daily living changed with rationing of petrol (gasoline), then food, which made travel and feeding families truly challenging. My husband reminded me that rationing lasted well after WWII ended in 1945, in fact it was not until 1954 tha ...more
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Happily, I received an uncorrected proof of To Die but Once as a Goodreads Giveaway. Even better, I found it be an excellent entry in one of my very favorite series. Set in the spring of 1940, while the public slowly learns the news about British troops trapped in France, less noble acts than sailing to Dunkirk are taking place. War is full of tragedy, including on the home front, where greed and callousness have tragic consequences. There is a heartbreaking thread throughout the book - the chil ...more
The Library Lady
I like Maisie immensely more in this period of her life than I did in the earliest books, but there is a bit too much going on in the plot here. The central mystery gets buried in other plot lines and there is a final twist (not related to the central mystery) that brings in another plot line that doesn't really relate to the rest of the book. But it's a fascinating period in British history, and Winspear bases a lot of the plot on her own family's experiences, so the details ring true. This nee ...more
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love this series, the growth of Maisie's character is a draw and the variety of her cases. Set against the backdrop of war, WWI in the early books and now WWII, wartime in Great Britain, shadowed in the minds of the characters, adds to the depth.
Maisie's character has faced much opposition throughout the series. As a child, facing economic and class challenges; in business as a female, and as a woman in a male dominated profession. Her intelligence and drive, support from friends and mentors,
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
This series is one of my top 5 favorites. This one didn’t disappoint. It was an especially edgy read this time because both Billy’s and Priscilla’s sons are in jeopardy against the background of the battle of Dunkirk. And especially edgy because, as we know to our sorrow, Winspear does not hesitate to kill off anyone, even beloved characters if it furthers her story. But, boy, this one was terrific and the historic detail is fascinating. I’m starting to think, sadly, that people of this era were ...more
Claudia Silk
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
These books are my guilty pleasure! Found this very interesting because it included a Dunkirk story.
We first met Maisie Dobbs in the years before World War I when she was a young girl who had lost her mother and was being raised by her father. Her father found a position for her as a maid to an aristocratic family. That benevolent family took an interest in the young girl and helped to educate her. Her relationship with the family was the making of her. It was through them that she became the person that she was as an adult, and eventually, she married the son of the family and emigrated to Ca ...more
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, maisie-dobbs
Well, she did it again. The book is so well done; full of lots of history, new and old characters and of course Maisie. I'm trying to figure out how old she is now. In her 40s I think. It's just a great story and I shall miss her until the next book. ...more
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of the best in the series and I've read them all, so far. It's spring, 1940. There's several stories running here; the mystery concerns the disappearance of Joe, the young painting apprentice? He's been working on a crew painting RAF buildings with a fire retardant that gives him headaches and seems to be causing a personality change. Then there's the WWII story . . . Maisie and friend Priscilla are training as rescue ambulance workers, there's rumors that the British Expeditionary Force is ...more
It's always great to spend some time with one of my favorite private investigators. I met Maisie Dobbs right after she returned from being a nurse in France during WWI to London and set up shop as a private investigator and psychologist. In this 14th installment in the series, we are at the beginning of WWII. Britain is preparing for a possible German invasion and part of this preparation is to paint all military buildings with a fire retardant paint in case of attack. When a young painting appr ...more
Mal Warwick
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the spring of 1940, World War II had been underway in Europe for more than half a year, but the violence had yet to come home to England. Suddenly, on May 10, Hitler's legions rumbled across the borders of Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, and, finally, France. The 300,000-man British Expeditionary Force had been deployed on the Continent to support the French Army. Now, it found itself steadily pushed into a tighter and tighter space along the coast around the French port of Dunkerque (Dunkirk). ...more
Carol Douglas
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jacqueline Winspear's books about England facing and recovering from its 20th century wars are always good, but this is one of the best.

To Die but Once takes us to the early years after England's entry into World War II. British soldiers are fighting on the Continent. Hitler's forces are pinning them down.

At home, a boy from Maisie Dobbs' neighborhood has gone to work for a defense contractor, painting military buildings with fire retardant. The boy is murdered.

Maisie's investigation looks at
Wendy Hearder-moan
Apr 03, 2018 rated it liked it
While I enjoyed reading about the latest happenings in Maisie’s life, I felt that the plot was not as tightly drawn as in previous books in the series. As other reviewers have noted, the initial “mystery” seems to get lost among other plot lines. Even some of the characters are a bit faceless, including the main villain. As always, however, Winspear’s insights into the historical context were fascinating.
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It was Spring 1940. During the months following Britain's declaration of war on Germany, as far as the population is concerned, nothing much seems to have happened. Despite the sandbagging of underground stations and public buildings, constant government reminders to carry gas masks at all times, and the barrage balloons bobbing overhead, the newspapers are calling it the "Bore War," and mothers have started bringing children who evacuated to the country back home.

Against this backdrop of uncert
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
This series is a comfort to read. Even major drama and disaster are calmly presented. The Dunkirk evacuation is one of the main story lines in this book, but I did feel this book is just a prep for the real shit to hit the fan in the Battle of Britain.
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the 15th book in the Maisie Dobbs detective series and, after faltering for a couple of books, Maisie seems to be back in true form. World War II has begun and Germany has just started its offensive that will lead to the fall of France. Maisie has been asked by the local publican to discover what has happened to his youngest son who has been apprenticed to a painting contractor charged with painting air bases with flame retardant paint. The young man is dead, supposedly fallen from a rai ...more
Another solid episode in the Maisie Dobbs series. Winspear seems to have avoided the slump that seems to happen around book(s) 10-15 in series with many books. She also has thankfully avoided the pitfall of so many - too many - authors of female protagonists who turn the heroes into blathering idiot mooning about men somewhere at this part of the series.

To the contrary, this book is just as engaging as the others that came before it. And, Maisie remains the thoughtful, intelligent, complex, per
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have remained a fan of this series, now up to 14 entries, and find myself looking forward to World War II themes sure to follow in book 15 and beyond. Maisie is asked to find a son of a neighborhood pub family by the worried parents. Their son Joe was working as apprentice on a job of using fireproof paint to protect air bases in Kent and surrounds. Her investigation leads to discovery of his body, dead by suspicious circumstances. In typical Maisie investigative process, many hard truths are ...more
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible-books
This books brings Maise into the start of WWII, with the evacuation of the BEF from Dunkirk playing a major role for some of the subsidiary characters. Overall, an excellent addition to the series, that left me very much wanting to read the next one.

Overall, a solid 4 stars. I haven't tired of Maise yet, and there's less spiritualism as time goes on -- a good thing, IMNSHO. The influence of Maurice in the earlier books detracted from the solid detective work that Maise and Billy were doing. In
Tony Hisgett
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
The main investigation in this book is quite low key and most of the drama centres around the Dunkirk evacuations.
As usual Maisie accumulates masses of information, but in this case I didn’t think it all came together as smoothly as usual. It is probably my fault but I found it a bit ‘scrappy’. However, Maisie did work her magic and most of the questions were satisfactorily resolved.
Finally I was pleased Anna was still with Maisie, but there are still unresolved issues which I hope will be sol
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Play Book Tag: To Die But Once by Jacqueline Winspear - 4 stars 1 7 May 16, 2021 11:28AM  

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Jacqueline Winspear was born and raised in the county of Kent, England. Following higher education at the University of London’s Institute of Education, Jacqueline worked in academic publishing, in higher education and in marketing communications in the UK.

She emigrated to the United States in 1990, and while working in business and as a personal / professional coach, Jacqueline embarked upon a li

Other books in the series

Maisie Dobbs (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs, #1)
  • Birds of a Feather (Maisie Dobbs, #2)
  • Pardonable Lies (Maisie Dobbs, #3)
  • Messenger of Truth (Maisie Dobbs, #4)
  • An Incomplete Revenge (Maisie Dobbs, #5)
  • Among the Mad (Maisie Dobbs, #6)
  • The Mapping of Love and Death (Maisie Dobbs, #7)
  • A Lesson in Secrets (Maisie Dobbs, #8)
  • Elegy for Eddie (Maisie Dobbs, #9)
  • Leaving Everything Most Loved (Maisie Dobbs, #10)

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