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Maisie Dobbs #15

The American Agent

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Beloved heroine Maisie Dobbs, “one of the great fictional heroines” (Parade), investigates the mysterious murder of an American war correspondent in London during the Blitz in a page-turning tale of love and war, terror and survival.

When Catherine Saxon, an American correspondent reporting on the war in Europe, is found murdered in her London digs, news of her death is concealed by British authorities. Serving as a linchpin between Scotland Yard and the Secret Service, Robert MacFarlane pays a visit to Maisie Dobbs, seeking her help. He is accompanied by an agent from the US Department of Justice—Mark Scott, the American who helped Maisie escape Hitler’s Munich in 1938. MacFarlane asks Maisie to work with Scott to uncover the truth about Saxon’s death.

As the Germans unleash the full terror of their blitzkrieg upon the British Isles, raining death and destruction from the skies, Maisie must balance the demands of solving this dangerous case with her need to protect Anna, the young evacuee she has grown to love and wants to adopt. Entangled in an investigation linked to the power of wartime propaganda and American political intrigue being played out in Britain, Maisie will face losing her dearest friend—and the possibility that she might be falling in love again.

400 pages, ebook

First published March 26, 2019

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About the author

Jacqueline Winspear

53 books6,963 followers
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 life-long dream to be a writer.

A regular contributor to journals covering international education, Jacqueline has published articles in women's magazines and has also recorded her essays for KQED radio in San Francisco. She currently divides her time between Ojai and the San Francisco Bay Area and is a regular visitor to the United Kingdom and Europe.

Jacqueline is the author of the New York Times bestsellers A Lesson in Secrets, The Mapping of Love and Death, Among the Mad, and An Incomplete Revenge, and other nationally bestselling Maisie Dobbs novels. She has won numerous awards for her work, including the Agatha, Alex,
and Macavity awards for the first book in the series, Maisie Dobbs, which was also nominated for the Edgar Award for best novel and was a New York Times
Notable Book.

* Maisie Dobbs


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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,715 reviews
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,221 reviews2,051 followers
May 2, 2019
Jacqueline Winspear manages to keep writing interesting stories and appealing characters even after fifteen books. This is my favourite of the series so far.

She can always be counted on to provide a sound, factual, historical back ground. The American Agent is set during the London Blitz of 1940/41 and the atmosphere of fear and bravery combined is perfectly presented. Maisie is driving ambulances in the streets of London, retrieving the injured, as bombs fall all around.

Of course in wartime there are many deaths but Maisie comes across one that she believes is murder and she very quickly begins an investigation. Her work brings her back in touch with the American agent of the title who has appeared in an earlier book. Is this the start of a new relationship?

So there is an intriguing mystery set against the backdrop of London and Kent with the citizens either busy trying to maintain everyday life or hiding from the bombs which are falling nearly every night. All very well written and making an excellent read. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Jean.
1,707 reviews742 followers
April 7, 2019
I have been reading this series from book one; this is book fifteen. In this episode Maisie is helping the American Agent that helped her escape from Munich in 1938. They are attempting to solve the London murder of an American reporter. The Germans are bombing England and Maisie and friends are in the middle of the blitz.

The book is well written and the plot twists and turns as only Winspear can do it. It is great to get back together with all the regular characters and Maisie. This is one of my favorite series. I think I preferred the earlier books dealing with World War One and its aftermath. That is what enticed me to read the series. Winspear did a great job revealing the changes in society and particularly women that occurred immediately after WWI, as well as the problems of the veterans. Many of the issues apply to WWII also. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is eleven hours and two minutes. Orlagh Cassidy does an excellent job narratoring the book. Cassidy is an award-winning audiobook narrator and actress. She is one of my favorite narrators.
Profile Image for Susan.
1,062 reviews200 followers
March 19, 2019
I really like this series and have been reading it for years. Unfortunately, I appeared to have missed one and I would have liked to have read it before this one. I would like to have met Mark Scott and read his adventures with Maisie before tackling this one but I was able to keep up.

The one thing that niggled me in this book was Maisie's preoccupation with what Scott, an American agent, was doing in London. He told her he was working for the president and it was top secret but she just wouldn't stop trying to find out what his mission was. You would think that she of all people would be more respectful of boundary lines, after all she has lots in her murder investigations. But the entire way through she obsesses on it and it got quite annoying and was completely out of character.

Scott and Maisie are assigned a murder investigation of an American reporter, Catherine Saxon, the daughter of an isolationist Senator. Maisie and her best friend, Priscilla, are driving ambulances at night and Saxon actually rode with them to write a story the night she was murdered. Maisie is even more determined to solve the complex murder that has lots of twists and turns.

There are lots of personal things going on with her. She is trying to adopt Anna, an orphan, she has been caring for awhile. She has a budding romance with Scott. Priscilla's family is trying to recover from numerous war injuries. Maisie helps both Billy and Sandra's families to her estate to be safer from the horrible bombing. And, of course, there is Maisie's nonstop investigation into Scott's mission.

This is not my favorite book in the series. It dragged for me and I really just wanted it done by the end. Have I read too many WWII books lately? Was the writing over long? Could the author use a spark of humor in her books to lighten it up occasionally ? Yes to all of the above.
Profile Image for Lisa Vegan.
2,760 reviews1,218 followers
May 23, 2021
This is the second to last Maisie Dobbs book available as of now. I felt pressured to read it quickly so I would have time to finish the next/last book in time. That one won’t be renewable. It is fairly new and there is a queue for every edition. I had borrowed it as I was reading this book.

One thing that is hard for me in these books is that the chapters are long. I think I’d read the books faster if the chapters were shorter. Ideally I prefer stopping each reading session at the end of a chapter and when the next chapter is very long I’m less likely to make the commitment to continue reading or picking up the book and reading.

The Blitz! I’ve read enough history and historical fiction about the Blitz so that when the Blitz was coming up I knew that many of the locations mentioned in these stories were going to be affected by the bombs.

I liked the mystery and this is one I didn’t guess until toward the very end, though the author played fair with her clues.

I appreciated the inclusion of information about Ambassador Joseph Kennedy, however revolting that information was. I thought I knew about him but even though he (off page) was a very small part of this story I learned some additional details.

In every book in this series, it seems that Maisie’s life changes significantly, but the change(s) in this book are the most profound thus far.

This is interesting. I knew that Chelstone Manor in Kent was fictional but I didn’t know about the Sussex County connection: https://www.greatbritishlife.co.uk/pe...

As is usual in her books, there is a worthwhile author’s note at the end and this one was information and one part was highly emotional. Very poignant and meaningful.

I cannot stress enough that these books have to be read in exact order from book 1 to whatever the last book will be. I hope that the last book is not the next book, #16, though I’ve been given a heads up that maybe it will be the last. I do love this series. I’ll be sad if it ends but I’m anxious to finish it so when if ends if I’ve read the final book I’ll feel content. I notice that the author perhaps has another book scheduled to be published in 2022 (A Sunlit Weapon) but it looks as though it might not be a Maisie book. I’ve added it to my to read shelf. I enjoy this author and am willing to try any other books she writes, whether another series or standalone books. If it’s #17 in the Maisie Dobbs series I’ll definitely want to read it. I say perhaps because I’m seeing it at Goodreads but nowhere else last I checked.

4-1/2 stars
Profile Image for Gail.
178 reviews
December 25, 2018
I think one thing I appreciate most about Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series is the author's allowing her heroine and those in her universe to experience life's ups and downs without pulling any punches. Maisie has experienced tremendous loss in her life, but manages to take the losses and incorporate them into her psyche, growing and learning, however, painfully from each one. Her life representative of our shared human experience, making it is easy to empathize with Maisie and root for her happiness.

Of course, this is a mystery series and not, on the surface anyway, primarily concerned with the heroine's private life. In the American Agent, Maisie and best friend Pris are ambulance drivers in London during the Blitz. The death and destruction of this period are related to the American populace by radio or "wireless" broadcasts led by famed American journalist Edward R. Murrow. The United States, still in the throes of Isolationism following the Great War, is still reluctant to enter the fight against Hitler.

Catherine Saxon is a young reporter who is working with Murrow and hopes to bring America into the fray, despite the disapproval of her politician father and brother. Maisie is asked to investigate when Catherine is found with her throat slit in her rented London rooms. Since Catherine was an American citizen and the daughter of a senator, Maisie is paired with American Department of Justice Agent Mark Scott as she tries to identify the killer.

Actual transcripts of radio broadcasts from the era punctuate fast moving events and Maisie's lack of closure from a case years before influence her unraveling of this investigation. Her efforts to adopt her ward Anna and to resist her attraction to the mysterious Mark Scott, who has secrets of his own, make this 15th series entry particularly compelling as Maisie personal life takes some satisfying turns.

Winspear is a master of historical suspense and her respect and admiration for her characters is always evident. While each Maisie Dobbs is a not to missed experience, The American Agent is a series standout.

My thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss for providing an egalley. My opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Kate.
1,626 reviews322 followers
March 18, 2019
How I loved this book! It may be the first Maisie Dobbs novel I've read but it certainly won't be the last. Such a moving, evocative portrayal of London and Kent under attack from the Blitz in the last weeks of 1940, and a fascinating mystery investigated by a woman I adored. There were tears.... I must seek out more. Review to follow shortly on For Winter Nights.
Profile Image for Cathy.
1,179 reviews215 followers
March 30, 2019
The American Agent has made me a very happy reader. Firstly, because I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Secondly, because it’s introduced me to a new historical crime series (a genre I love) to follow in future. Thirdly because, being the fifteenth in the series, it means I’ve got fourteen previous instalments to look forward to reading. At this point, I’ll assure readers like myself coming new to the series that The American Agent works perfectly well as a standalone read. Naturally, there are a few brief references to events and characters from previous books in the series so there are things that won’t come as so much of a surprise as if I’d read the series from the beginning. However, thanks to the skill of the author, I didn’t feel these references gave me the full story. In fact, they left me wanting to find out more about the context in which they had occurred.

What we now refer to as the “Blitz”, the intense bombing of London and other British cities between Autumn 1940 and Spring 1941 (which Jacqueline Winspear talks more about in her fascinating Author’s Note) is the backdrop to Maisie’s investigation into the death of American journalist, Catherine Saxon. The atmosphere of a bomb-ravaged London and the nightly peril facing Londoners is brilliantly conveyed. I really loved the inclusion of excerpts from actual radio broadcasts and newspaper articles from the time, including those by war correspondent and broadcaster, Ed Murrow. (Incidentally, he makes a cameo appearance in one of my favourite films set in World War 2, Sink the Bismarck! (1960), starring Kenneth More and based on the book, The Last Nine Days of the Bismarck by C.S Forester.)

The fact the victim is an American journalist broadcasting about the brutal realities of war which British civilians – not just its armed forces – are facing turns out to be significant at a time when politicians in the United States are divided over to what extent their nation should get involved and come to the aid of Britain and her allies. For both interventionists and isolationists, propaganda plays an important role. So some contemporary echoes there…

The nationality of the victim also involves Maisie teaming up with American agent, Mark Scott, (with whom she has history, we learn) to work on the investigation. However, she starts to wonder what has brought him so conveniently to London and just what exactly is the nature of his role especially as Maisie finds herself doing the majority of the investigative legwork (with the assistance of the trusty Billy) despite at the same time doing nightly shifts driving an ambulance through the blitzed streets of London. Furthermore, she has matters of a personal nature concerning her as well.

I have to say I can now understand completely why so many readers have fallen in love with Maisie Dobbs as a character. She’s perceptive, independent-minded, thoughtful, observant and compassionate. For various reasons, Maisie feels a personal responsibility to find out who killed Catherine Saxon and this empathy characterises her dealings with other people drawn into the investigation. I particularly liked the way Maisie recognises the impact of sudden death on those touched by it and the investigation that follows, even if this is necessary to find out the truth. ‘She knew that death unsettled any family, but a murder was akin to a bomb dropping – the living were cast this way and that as debris from the investigation fell around them.’ In an especially neat touch, once the case has been resolved, Maisie makes a point of revisiting the key people she’s come into contact with during her investigation, giving them the equivalent of a literary curtain call.

Maisie Dobbs now has a new fan and I can wholeheartedly recommend The American Agent to readers looking for a historical crime series that combines an intriguing, well-constructed mystery, an engaging leading character and convincing period detail.
Profile Image for eyes.2c.
2,434 reviews50 followers
January 28, 2022
So much happened her. Some shocking, some unexpected. Maisie is called on to investigate the death of an American woman journalist. All hush hush and involving highly placed American citizens and their agency. Maisie renews her acquaintance with a person she’d met in a dangerous situation in an earlier novel. Little Anna’s guardianship is still being looked at. Another super edition in this fab. Maisie series.
Profile Image for The Library Lady.
3,587 reviews522 followers
March 1, 2019
I'd give this about a 3.75 if I could. The war years continue to be a vast improvement in the Maisie Dobbs series--I guess Winspear's writing itself has improved, though there's still a humorless edge to her books that makes the characters flatter than they could be. And the sticking point for me continues to be the plots, which at some point muddle, then get neatly finished at the end. Her fans won't care.
Profile Image for Ivor Armistead.
368 reviews8 followers
March 29, 2019
Brava Ms Winspear. You and Maisie have outdone yourselves. Another good mystery, but the real brilliance of this book and others in this series is Jacqueline Winspear’s superlative ability to pull the reader into the time and place of the story.

Through her descriptions of her characters and their lives, we are with them in London in 1940 during the blitz. We share their fears, admire their courage and live the events with them. This is marvelous writing by a gifted author. Thank you.
547 reviews19 followers
December 30, 2018
Maisie Dobbs is just one of my favorite mystery series! Winspear does a fabulous job of incorporating the time and place. This book takes place during the Blitz of London and you really get a feel for what that might have been like.
Profile Image for Barbara Rogers.
1,507 reviews141 followers
November 28, 2021
Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Series: Maisie Dobbs #15
Publication Date: 3/26/19
Period: WWII London - 1940
Number of Pages: 400

Here are just a few words to tell you how I am feeling about this series. I read the sixteenth book in the series first – The Consequences of Fear – and I was awestruck. I wanted to know what made Maisie into Maisie, so I decided to go to the beginning and read the series from there. I’m glad I read that first book, but I’d never read it a second time. It is one of the saddest, most heart-wrenching books I’ve ever read. I very quickly decided that I would continue reading the series, but only the later books because the book blurbs on those earlier books seem to continue to give Maisie a very sad life. If you are into that kind of thing, you will probably love them because the writing is excellent. In this book, we finally had some good stuff happen in Maisie’s life and I loved that! So, for this reader, reading the later books in the series is the way to go.

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Orlagh Cassidy, and she did an excellent job. The pacing is excellently done and the voices she uses for each character are unique distinguishable.

It is toward the end of 1940 and London has been suffering nightly bombings for what seems like forever. It isn’t just London being bombed, but they are getting the brunt of it. Londoners are being worn down from nightly bombings, loss of lives, loss of homes and businesses, and still having to carry on a normal life with work. Everyone is contributing to the war effort in whatever way they can – those men who are too old or infirm to join in the fighting work as air raid wardens, women work as ambulance drivers, nurses, and numerous other roles. This author’s descriptions are so vivid you’ll feel as if you are right there in the midst of the fires, hearing the rat-tat-tat of the anti-aircraft guns, feeling the terror and absolute horror.

Maisie Dobbs and her best friend Priscilla leave their family home in the countryside each Monday and drive an ambulance through the bombed-out London streets from Monday through Thursday when they return back home to their families. On their latest run, they are accompanied by American war correspondent, Catherine Saxon, who will be broadcasting her report back to the United States. She is a kind, intelligent, sincere, dedicated young woman who wants to become one of Mr. Murrow’s boys – and she wants to use her broadcasts to influence her countrymen to boldly support England in their war effort.

Maisie and Priscilla hear Catherine’s report as it is simultaneously broadcast in both the USA and England. The young woman made a poignantly beautiful report that factually reports all she’d witnessed during the ambulance run while still tugging at the heartstrings. Then, Maisie gets a call from Robert MacFarlane of Scotland Yard informing her that Catherine is deceased. She has been murdered and Scotland Yard is asking Maisie to work with a member of the American embassy staff, Mark Scott, to solve the murder. There is, of course, more to Mark Scott than meets the eye because he and Maisie have worked together before. He even saved her life in Berlin.

Mark leaves the investigation in Maisie’s capable hands and she keeps coming up with more questions than answers. This lovely young woman already has quite a history for the few years she’s spent upon this earth. She was in Spain and later France – and well, her war coverage has been all over the place. Has she stumbled upon secrets that someone was willing to kill for? Could it be a personal relationship? Was it just happenstance and she interrupted a burglar? So very many questions! So many suspects! So few answers!

You’ll just need to read the book to follow along with Maisie’s investigation and identify the murderer. Then, there are fun visits with Maisie’s family – especially Anna, the ward Maisie is hoping to adopt. And … Could Maisie be falling in love again?

I thoroughly enjoyed this read and can highly recommend it. One thing I particularly liked – especially in the audio format – is the text from the actual broadcasts made by the war correspondents. Happy reading!
Profile Image for Jeannine.
514 reviews34 followers
January 30, 2022
I've been in tears at the end of a Maisie Dobbs book before, but this might be the first time they are tears of joy. These books are becoming epic in the ground they cover. This may be my favorite of this phase of the Maisie Dobbs series (the WW2 phase).

The Blitz is happening throughout this book and the way the story marches on, you realize the strength and determination it took for Londoners to carry on while being absolutely devastated by bombs on a nightly basis. Not only does Masie track down the killer of an up-and-coming American journalist who shadowed her and Priscilla on their ambulance service, she's dealing with a budding relationship with a love interest and trying to manage being a guardian (and hopeful mother) to the evacuated orphan who came to Chelstone a book or two ago.

I wasn't sure about the relationship piece at first, but a beautiful scene where Maisie goes through notes from a previous case mover her forward along with any of us who were still caught up on James.

Love, when so you're loved again.
Profile Image for Literary Redhead.
1,621 reviews492 followers
April 25, 2019

The latest in the beloved Maisie Dobbs’ series wins on all fronts! It features my fave historical mystery character during my fave historical period.

The victim, Catherine Saxon, is an American reporting from London during the Blitz. She’s as beautiful and feisty and real as Maisie, the forensic psychologist working with Scotland Yard and the American government to uncover her killer.

The Kennedys figure secretly into this WWII book of intrigue. And Maisie falls in love again, her intended as worthy a partner as she. What more could a reader require?

Well let me tell you what the blessed reader gets! Stellar writing, spot-on insights into human nature (a particular Winspear strength), secondary characters as compelling as the leads, cinematic descriptions that seize the heart as Nazi bombs whistle, Brits race to shelters, grievously injured children are dug from rubble. I’ve read all 14 previous books in the series and find this newest touches me as deeply as the self-named first, which gobsmacked me from page one.

Maisie brings a soulful touch to her work. Here, her attention to the victim’s body is described: “She reached under the sheet and took Catherine Saxon’s hand. ‘Thank you,’ she whispered....’Thank you for being brave in all the places where you traveled to tell stories of the people. You will not be forgotten, Catherine. And I will find out who took your life. Bless you, and may you know peace.’”

I was deeply moved, too, when a quote from Elizabeth Barrett Browning becomes a significant clue: “Loved, when so you’re loved again.” Although from a previous case, it slips from Maudie’s subconscious, revealing truths about Catherine’s killer and portending new love for Maisie herself.

Oh, how I pine to learn Maisie’s new life with her new love but will have to wait, as all Winspear’s readers will have to do. 2020 cannot come soon enough!

The author also just released WHAT WOULD MAISIE DO?, a “collection of readers’ favorite passages from the Maisie Dobbs’ series, together with the story behind each passage, sections on locations featured in the books, and pages for journaling.”

Both books are available from Amazon, your fave independent bookstore and through links on the author’s website: jacquelinewinspear.com.
Profile Image for Kate.
587 reviews
April 16, 2019
I continue to enjoy the evolving story of Maisie's life. But, the mysteries are increasingly weak and there is little to no development or sharing of the clues/forensic evidence/psychological processing. We just meet all of the characters, listen to Maisie ask a million questions of herself, and then, presto, murder solved.
Profile Image for Betty.
2,006 reviews52 followers
December 12, 2018
This story takes place in the 1940s during the London Blitz. Maisie Dobbs and her BFF, Priscilla Partridge served as ambulance drivers helping the wounded from the bombs dropped nightly on London. They meet Catherine Saxon, an American war correspondent on one of their drives. She is later MURDER and Maisie work the case with Robert MacFarlane an agent from America. Maisie is waiting for the approval to adopt Anna The twists and turns the tale takes before there is an answer to what happened to Catherine will hold your attention until the surprise ending. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK AND SERIES.

Disclosure: Many thanks to Edelweiss and Harper/Collins for a review copy. The opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Lynn Horton.
365 reviews39 followers
July 9, 2019
Maisie Dobbs novels are a lot like a slice of apple pie. You know the recipe and the experience is sweet and filling. Then you look forward to another piece.

The American Agent is no exception. This fifteenth novel is absolutely consistent with the previous fourteen, and Winspear's attention to historic detail holds the story and characters together in a very satisfying way.

Profile Image for Melanie.
552 reviews291 followers
March 10, 2019
The latest Maisie Dobbs – The American Agent by Jacqueline Winspear is coming out on the 26th of March and I was lucky enough to get a review copy via Edelweiss. Thank you so much.

Naturally, I do not want to talk to much about the plot, this is book 15 in the series and naturally, things happen along the way, you would want to find out for yourself as you are reading them. Let’s just say this: The Blitz has started and London (and the rest of the country) experiences horrific bombing attacks each and every night. Everyone is tired but doing their bit despite the fear. At this time, a young woman is found murdered and Maisie is asked to investigate.

I have read this series for a long time, so I am always in the state of waiting for the next instalment, but I really like it that way. Every time it feels like I am meeting my old friends again. The books are easy to read, brilliant for escapism yet they deal with subjects like grief and loss, but are never without hope. In fact, I would say the main storylines of these books are resilience, failing and starting again. Certainly something I can identify with.

The Maisie Dobbs books are often looked down upon by more “serious” readers, and yes, they are not literary fiction, but so often the things women enjoy to do or read is being ridiculed, so we must just ignore that. Otherwise, we never get to do anything we truly enjoy. If you like historical mysteries, then you may just like this series. If you just want to sit down and read something that takes you away for a few hours, then these books may be for you. Whether you will enjoy the books or not will depend on whether or not, you gel with Maisie herself. I do. I find a lot of things in common with her, but also plenty that frustrates me about her. And that keeps me reading.

This latest instalment I read in one sitting as I did with all the other books. I am looking forward what the rest of WWII will bring to Maisie and her family and friends.
Profile Image for Deanna.
928 reviews52 followers
April 7, 2019
The sense of living —ironically, fearfully, courageously, determinedly— through the experience of the London blitz along with the characters is the highlight of this installment in the Maisie Dobbs series.

Increasingly, though, I wish for a more complex protagonist. Maisie is interesting, unusual, and likable, with a complex life worth reading about. But she’s missing a level of human realism that makes her just miss the mark of full believability and engagement.

While I don’t find her persistent poise, equilibrium, elevated maturity, insight, and unrufflable goodness unbelievable on the surface, I want to see at least occasional conflict and struggle underneath that would make this way character fully believable and human.

She experiences plenty of conflict and struggle in her life, and isn’t emotionally one-note. But that steady mature goodness without an internal offset is largely what keeps this series nearly but not close enough to being literary mystery.

I don’t look for great psychological depth in all my mystery genre protagonists, welcome as that would be. But this series is *about* psychological depth, and comes just close enough to delivering that depth that I keep looking for the portrayal of the protagonist to live up to that higher promise.

Still, this is a satisfying and interesting historical mystery series with none of the fluff or sap that tends to spoil for me much otherwise promising or satisfying historical fiction these days.

A solid entry in a really good series, good enough that I crave just a little bit more.

Profile Image for Kathy.
3,343 reviews177 followers
May 2, 2019
I have read all of the Maisie Dobbs books and the most recent have been very successful in delivering the usual investigation methods we have come to expect from Maisie, the challenges in her personal life as she works toward adopting a young girl, but also the somber truths of World War II as German bombing ramps up. Here it is the Fall of 1940 and the Blitz is on.
Some Americans star in this plotting, one the daughter of a Senator who has been doing some stellar reporting from London found dead, as well as a certain man Maisie met in Journey to Munich.
Reading this was a great way to spend another cold and rainy day.
Profile Image for Christine.
720 reviews28 followers
May 11, 2021
I loved this book! The Maisie Dobbs series just keeps getting better and better!
Profile Image for Jenna.
1,762 reviews17 followers
August 12, 2021
3.5 stars

This series has been recommended to me numerous times so I've had it on my TBR for a while.
Because this was for a book group, instead of starting w/book #1, I'm starting w/this one. (#15)

Maisie is an engaging character. While the writer does a good job of filling in details so a new reader won't be completely lost, you do get the sense that you've missed things.

This story has Maisie waiting for her adoption of a child to be granted (a cute kid introduced in a previous book), the London Blitz is ongoing as WWII has started in Europe, a return of  Mark Scott ��  (who helped her in a previous book), and America hasn't joined the fight yet.

Maisie is with the ambulance auxiliary. One of the women she met has been murdered. Her PI business is well established & her old boss asks her to help the Americans look into the matter. (as the victim was American) And perhaps she was a spy?

The mystery was good. Several clues and mysterious suspects to find.

I liked the little historical details inserted here & there. It gave an insight into life at that time w/out getting bogged down in facts.

It did make me curious of the previous books as they began with WWI. I can see why this series is so highly regarded. I will probably go back & start at the beginning to read more of the series.
Profile Image for Carol Douglas.
Author 12 books93 followers
April 23, 2019
Once again Jacqueline Winspear has written a Maisie Dobbs mystery that takes us into England's traumatic past. Her excellent novels about World War I have led to excellent novels about World War II. This novel is about the blitz, which was even more terrifying than I had imagined. The book gave me details I didn't know, which was what I wanted it to do. It also provided sympathetic sketches of characters living through the war. Of course it also was a mystery about the murder of an American correspondent who was trying to rouse the American public with stories of suffering in England. I was actually surprised by the identity of the killer and the nature of the crime, which I usually am not. So this was a fine read, thoroughly researched and well written.
Profile Image for Lisa Sims.
154 reviews1 follower
May 12, 2019
I'm so sad to rate this 3 stars! I LOVE the Maisie Dobbs series, but I think the author has run the course with this series and it's time to give it up. These used to be about a complex, interesting woman who dealt with interesting cases. They were so much more than a typical mystery/thriller. They were smart, intriguing, and fun. Now, there is no more complexity, no more interesting plot that wove the character's personality and insight around what was happening in her cases. It just fell flat for me.
Profile Image for Marlene.
2,882 reviews196 followers
April 22, 2019
Originally published at Reading Reality

It’s March, which means it’s time for this year’s Maisie Dobbs adventure. I’m just sorry her publisher isn’t sponsoring the “Month of Maisie” any longer, as that always made for a terrific excuse to pick up one of the earlier books in the series as well as the new one.

For Maisie, the year in 1940, and London is in the middle of the Blitz. And so is Maisie, as she and her best friend Priscilla are doing in London what they did in the Great War so many (and so few) years ago.

They’re driving an ambulance and taking the wounded from the “front” to hospital. It’s just that this time, that “front” is the streets of London. Their roads are better paved this time around, but the shelling is even more deadly.

Just because Maisie is driving an ambulance every night, that doesn’t mean that she isn’t solving cases during the day. Even though she’s “dead on her feet” half the time, victims of murder still need justice.

Her worlds collide. One night, Maisie and Priscilla have an observer on their ambulance run – a female American journalist. Cath Saxon is reporting the war from a woman’s perspective – with the hope of becoming one of the “boys” working for and with Edward R. Murrow.

Just as Cath gets in – she’s out. She’s found murdered in her rented rooms, and both Scotland Yard and the American Embassy call on Maisie to find out who killed her. It might just be a love affair gone wrong. It might have something to do with her reporting. There’s also a chance that her powerful family back in America decided that Cath’s sympathetic reports of the plucky and heroic English response to Hitler’s Blitz might be too embarrassing for their Hitler-sympathizing friends back home.

Maisie is supposed to be working with an American agent on this case. Mark Scott is the same American agent who saved her life during her nearly disastrous Journey to Munich. But as the case progresses it’s clear to Maisie that the man who is supposed to be working WITH her is working on an agenda of his own – and mostly far from Maisie’s inquiries.

And that at least part of his hidden agenda has more to do with Maisie herself than any case either of them might be investigating.

Escape Rating A: This is a series that I absolutely love, and eagerly await the next book. So I’m already on tenterhooks for book 16, hopefully next March. But in the meantime there’s plenty to discuss regarding The American Agent.

One thing that struck me as I read about Maisie and Patricia’s exploits as ambulance drivers was the way that it brought home just how close World War II was to World War I. Both women served in the Great War, Maisie as a nurse and Patricia as an ambulance driver. As this book opens, they are still only in their early 40s, still in their prime. And serving again. Although there are many young people who think that war is glorious, as evidenced by the behavior of Patricia’s son in To Die but Once. At the same time there are plenty of people populating Maisie’s world who served in the first war, are serving in the second, and know from grim experience that war is terrible. And are equally aware that they must fight, that surrender is unthinkable.

However, there are plenty of people who have taken that belief that war is terrible, but either believe that Hitler is unstoppable or don’t care who dies as long as their profits continue. And some who agree with his many and terrible hatreds and prejudices. (If that sounds familiar, it bloody well should as things stand today!)

Ironically, we are re-watching Poirot, and the later episodes of that series also deal with the impending war. The Clocks had been rewritten to take place before the war, and part of the plot revolved around government agents who were giving secrets to the Nazis to make Britain fall faster so that the war would end sooner. The Duke of Windsor was part of this movement, much to the embarrassment of the Royal Family.

There were also plenty of people in America who believed that Hitler’s win was inevitable – or were in at least economic cahoots with Germany. And there was a significant amount of Antisemitism involved, people who believed that Hitler’s plan to kill all the Jews was the right way to go. (Yes, that’s appalling. But true.)

Charles Lindbergh, the aviator, was a prominent member of the America First Committee, which wanted America to stay out of the war and tacitly agreed with the Antisemitic tone of the party. One of the other prominent members of the America First movement was Joseph P. Kennedy, the father of President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert Kennedy. Joe Kennedy was also the U.S. Ambassador to Britain during this story, and Maisie’s American Agent is using the hunt for Cath Saxon’s killer to poke into Joe Kennedy’s dubious dealings. Because there were plenty to poke into.

It works as a ruse because Cath’s father, a prominent U.S. Senator, is also an America Firster. And he, along with his “friends” were dead set against Cath reporting material that was sympathetic to the British cause. The family was dead set against Cath being a reporter at all.

Maisie has to look into just how dead they were set. And wonders if her investigations will lead her into places that the U.S. Embassy will not want her to go. Or, at least to report.

But Maisie never presumes, never presupposed and never lets herself get dead set on any hypothesis. She follows the clues where they lead her. No matter how much she has to dig, and how many secrets she uncovers along the way.

It’s what makes following her so interesting, and her character so fascinating. I’m looking forward to reading more of Maisie’s war in the next book. And while I wait, I think I’m going to treat myself with a dive into What Would Maisie Do?
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543 reviews36 followers
June 23, 2019
Nazi Germany has begun its Blitz on London. September 1940 sees private investigator Maisie Dobbs and her best friend Priscilla working as volunteers for the Auxiliary Ambulance Services. Each night they drive to where their nursing skills are needed most as bombs rain down on Britain's capital city.
Then, Maisie is called in by British Intelligence officer Robbie MacFarlane to investigate the murder of an American journalist, Catherine Saxon. The authorities are keen that the matter be dealt with discreetly and pair Maisie with Mark Scott of the US Department of Justice, the man who helped her escape from Nazi Germany and for whom she has mixed feelings. But Maisie has troubles of her own, hoping to surmount the difficulty of adopting Anna, a 6 year old orphan. Worse follows when her friend Priscilla is seriously injured as she rescues two children from a burning building.
This book perfectly captures the sights and sounds of the London Blitz - the shattered buildings, the raging fires and the bodies of the dead and injured, as Londoners struggle to cope with the terrible disruption to their lives from night after night of heavy bombing.
Throughout, Maisie conducts her inquiries into Catherine Saxon's murder, discovering her past in war-torn France and in Spain during the Civil War. She seems to have been a brave woman, who was well liked by everyone she met. Who would want to kill her? Left mostly on her own, Maisie carries out a painstaking investigation which uncovers secrets about Catherine's life at every turn. All the while, she suspects that British Intelligence and their American counterparts are not being entirely honest with her.
I've read a few books in the Maisie Dobbs series and this is by far the best. Each chapter is introduced with quotes from the radio scripts of the famous American journalist Ed Murrow, whose radio broadcasts from London influenced the people of the USA to reject their country's isolationism and support Britain's fight against the Nazis.
My thanks to the publisher Allison & Busby and to NetGalley for a copy of this book in return for an unbiased review.
2,901 reviews55 followers
July 13, 2019
I would like to thank Netgalley and Allison & Busby for a review copy of The American Agent, the fifteenth novel to feature investigator Maisie Dobbs.

London 1940 and the war is in full swing so when American journalist Catherine Saxon is found murdered in her flat tact and diplomacy are called for. Whitehall mandarin Robert MacFarlane drafts in Maisie to investigate alongside consular official Mark Scott, the man who saved her life in Munich.

I enjoyed The American Agent which is a well plotted novel with a wealth of historical detail. This is my first foray into the series so I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised on the whole. I must admit that joining the series so far in I was a little lost about the characters’ backstories and their relationships but this is only to be expected as Ms Winspear would end up boring her series readers to death by repeating all the details ad nauseum in every book. I will remedy this myself by reading the series (in order, obviously).

I liked the plot which is suitably convoluted with a host of suspects and motives. It is realistic enough to be believable and very suitable to the era. I was a bit disappointed that it has more serious tone than the lighthearted approach I was expecting but, on reflection, that is probably a better match to wartime London and the Blitz. The descriptions of these conditions is very well done and I don’t think it had occurred to me before just how much it took over people’s lives and how regimented that life had to be. It’s given me a much better understanding of people’s strength and grit at that terrible time. I also liked the contemporaneous quotations from the period at the start of each chapter that added to the already strong atmosphere.

I like Maisie Dobbs who is a strong, no nonsense character with a past. My curiosity has been arisen to find out more so I will be visiting her previous escapades.

The American Agent is a good read which I have no hesitation in recommending.
591 reviews
May 12, 2019
The Maisie Dobbs series started out at the end of WW I and the current book is set in London during the Blitz in 1940. Maisie was a nurse in the war and came home to meet a man named Maurice who hired her as an assistant detective. Maurice eventually sold her the business. Maisie is really strong likable woman making her way in the world with the help of her assistant Billy and a variety of family and friends. The mysteries are intriguing and Winspear's description of the times and places are really informative. I'm always on the lookout for the next book in this series.
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