Author: Jacqueline Winspear
Published: April 2014
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Source: A complimentary copy was provided by the publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.
London, 1933. Two months after Usha Pramal’s body is discovered in the waters of a city canal, her brother, newly arrived in England, turns to Maisie Dobbs for help. Not only has Scotland Yard made no arrests, but evidence indicates they failed to conduct a full investigation. Usha had been staying at an ayah’s hostel, a refuge for Indian women. As Maisie learns, Usha was different from the hostel’s other residents. But with this discovery comes new danger, as a fellow lodger who was close to Usha is found murdered.
As Maisie is pulled deeper into an unfamiliar yet captivating subculture, her investigation becomes clouded by the unfinished business of a previous case, and by a growing desire to see more of the world. At the same time, her lover, James Compton, gives her an ultimatum she cannot ignore. Bringing a crucial chapter in the life and times of Maisie Dobbs to a close, Leaving Everything Most Loved signals a vital turning point in this remarkable series.
Here's a rather sad fact: for all the mysteries I've devoured over the years, I had not yet read a Maisie Dobbs!! So in reading Leaving Everything Most Loved, the tenth book in the series, I felt a bit out of the loop. There were references to a previous case that lost me a bit and the inner turmoil Maisie experiences throughout the book in relation to her personal affairs would have meant more had I better known her character. However, I quickly became wrapped up in the plot that Winspear so capably weaves.
Moving forward, Maisie is contemplating her own future. Though Maisie does not consider herself necessarily a praying person, she goes to a nun whom she trusts to help her put a proper perspective on her decision about going abroad. The death of her mentor and friend seems to have left Maisie somewhat lost and she feels that she must follow his path through India to better know the man and in turn herself. After ten books behind her and numerous cases, she is now looking at her life in retrospect. But losing someone close to you can have that effect.
Then a case is brought to her by the brother of a deceased immigrant, the aforementioned woman who was shot, Maisie and her team get busy exploring the "why" and "whom". Before long another case comes her way and the two seem to have ties to one another. As Maisie and her team delve deeper they uncover a less savoury London, a London that is less than kind to its immigrants. All the time she is investigating, Maisie must also decide how she is going to answer James' proposal for marriage. If she responds in the affirmative, could it mean a move to Canada? If she doesn't respond soon, James will move on without her. He has, after all, given her a deadline. Maisie's used to deadlines though. There is no firmer a deadline than murder.
Overall Leaving Everything Most Loved is a well-written, somewhat leisurely paced mystery set in historical London which certainly has its charms. Though I felt somewhat lost with a lack of background upon which to draw for characterization, I did enjoy this novel and will certainly like to go back to the first Maisie Dobbs, to where it all began, and read my way forward to this current mystery. Leaving Everything Most Loved certainly can be read as a stand alone but I think the reader would benefit from knowing Maisie just a little better. Perhaps it would help build a foundation for what currently seems a situation of indecisiveness as it pertains to the present and her future.
Meet the author:
Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Leaving Everything Most Loved, Elegy for Eddie, A Lesson in Secrets, The Mapping of Love and Death, Among the Mad, and An Incomplete Revenge, as well as four other Maisie Dobbs novels. Originally from the United Kingdom, she now lives in California.
Find out more about Jacqueline at her website, www.jacquelinewinspear.com, and find her on Facebook.