Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear

A Dangerous Place: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear --- 378 pages

Four years after she set sail for India, leaving everyone and everything she knew behind, Maisie Dobbs reluctantly answers a summons home to England from her refuge in the hills of Darjeeling.  

Maisie has found love, happiness, fulfillment —and seen it all torn from her in an instant. Now all she wants is for the pain to stop. On the ship bound for home, Maisie realizes she's not yet ready to face her unquiet ghosts.  Against advice, she disembarks at Gibraltar where she hopes to find anonymity. Instead she finds the British garrison town flooded with refugees fleeing the brutal civil war in Spain, where the Nationalists (aided by Fascist Germany and Italy) are trying to overthrow the young Republic (supported by Communist Russia and the International Brigades --- volunteers from Europe and the United States). With war just across the border, Gibraltar has also attracted spies, agent provocateurs, and profiteers.

It is indeed a most dangerous place, as Maisie discovers when, soon after her arrival, she stumbles over the body of a murdered man on the grounds of the exclusive Ridge Hotel. Sebastian Babayoff was a photographer and a member of Gibraltar’s Sephardic Jewish community. He is also rumored to be a Communist and a Republican partisan. When the local police seem ready to write off the murder, Maisie's investigative instincts are aroused. Trying simultaneously to evade the surveillance of the British Secret Service, Maisie finds herself in uncertain company, navigating deep waters of  international intrigue on “the Rock,”

At a crossroads between her past and her future, Maisie must choose a new direction for herself even as the world marches inexorably towards another war.

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