The Mapping of Love and Death

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The Mapping of Love and Death

Maisie Dobbs Series, #7

In 1932, Michael Crifton's remains are unearthed in a trench in France where he lived and worked during the war. Even though Michael is American, his father was British and Michael thought, as most people did, that the war would only last a few months. As a cartographer, Michael had skills that were needed so the Brits accepted his enlistment. However, after his parents looked at the death report, it appears that Michael may have been murdered! He also seems to have had a relationship with some British nurse. Could she be found?

To help the Crifton family, Maise Dobbs has been hired. She's very good at investigation work. As Maise starts to put the pieces in this puzzle together, she's forced to face her own memories of the war. This case may bring up feelings she'd rather forget. But when her elderly clients are attacked, Maise knows she must find the murderer and soon.

Maise has other things on her plate as well. Her mentor is extremely sick. She worries that he may not have much time left and she's not ready to let him go. She also has two men who would like to court her. Each has his own way about him but she's drawn to the one who is above her station. Does she dare take the chance?

This is an absolutely wonderful historical mystery that I just couldn't put down.

Ms Winspear takes her readers to London and its surrounding area during the 1930's. There the economy is bad, people are hungry and society is changing. While there are great strides in technology with automobiles and telephones, there are still many things that are not yet common place like electric lights. Some London neighborhoods do not even have running water! Medical advances are happening at a rapid rate but there are still those who practice outdated methods. Current common medication is not even developed and people die from aliments that are currently easily treated.

One thread that is seen throughout this story is mental health. Maise's assistant, Billy, has a wife who is battling with depression from loosing a child. Methods for treatment varied from practitioner to practitioner. What is also seen is what we currently call PTSD. In WWI, it was called shell shock. Veterans would return home and be expected to return to how they were before, and it doesn't always happen. It was mentioned several times that the Brits dealt with it by just carrying on.

Enough about social and historical issues because that's not what made the book so interesting. Maise brought this story to life. She brought you into her world with ease and took you along as she worked her way through figuring out who murdered Michael and who attacked the Cliftons. Her interactions with her father, her friends and everyone else gave you insight into how she thought and who she is. She is intriguing and very much an independent lady.

I wasn't sure how I would like such an old fashion type of mystery but I quickly found that I loved this book. It does feel as if it could have been written in the 30s or 40s but it wasn't. This is a new story with that old time feel but written so today's readers will not only enjoy it but want more.

This seems to be the seventh book in this series but I had no problems having not read the previous books. It appears that each book can be read separately and involves its own mystery. There are places that carry over from the previous book or two but nothing major. For example, Billy's wife was taken for treatment in a previous book but her current status is given in this one. This type of thing does not affect the investigation that Maise is currently doing but does give her world a more rounded feel.

If you enjoy the old fashion mystery where you need to put clues together to figure out who did it with a British tone, give this book a try. Don't expect violence or hot romance but do expect phone calls to get you into places and a small town feel in a big city. I loved reading this book and truly look forward to reading about some more of Maise's adventures.

Book Blurb for The Mapping of Love and Death

In the latest mystery in the New York Times bestselling series, Maisie Dobbs must unravel a case of wartime love and death-an investigation that leads her to a long-hidden affair between a young cartographer and a mysterious nurse.

August 1914. Michael Clifton is mapping the land he has just purchased in California's beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, certain that oil lies beneath its surface. But as the young cartographer prepares to return home to Boston, war is declared in Europe. Michael-the youngest son of an expatriate Englishman-puts duty first and sails for his father's native country to serve in the British army. Three years later, he is listed among those missing in action.

April 1932. London psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs is retained by Michael's parents, who have recently learned that their son's remains have been unearthed in France. They want Maisie to find the unnamed nurse whose love letters were among Michael's belongings-a quest that takes Maisie back to her own bittersweet wartime love. Her inquiries, and the stunning discovery that Michael Clifton was murdered in his trench, unleash a web of intrigue and violence that threatens to engulf the soldier's family and even Maisie herself. Over the course of her investigation, Maisie must cope with the approaching loss of her mentor, Maurice Blanche, and her growing awareness that she is once again falling in love.

Following the critically acclaimed bestseller Among the Mad, The Mapping of Love and Death delivers the most gripping and satisfying chapter yet in the life of Maisie Dobbs. 

Night Owl Reviews Apr, 2011 5.00