In This Grave Hour

In This Grave Hour

A Novel

Paperback - 2017
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"A female investigator every bit as brainy and battle-hardened as Lisbeth Salander." -- Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh Air, on Maisie Dobbs

Sunday September 3rd 1939. At the moment Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain broadcasts to the nation Britain's declaration of war with Germany, a senior Secret Service agent breaks into Maisie Dobbs' flat to await her return. Dr. Francesca Thomas has an urgent assignment for Maisie: to find the killer of a man who escaped occupied Belgium as a boy, some twenty-three years earlier during the Great War.

In a London shadowed by barrage balloons, bomb shelters and the threat of invasion, within days another former Belgian refugee is found murdered. And as Maisie delves deeper into the killings of the dispossessed from the "last war," a new kind of refugee -- an evacuee from London -- appears in Maisie's life. The little girl billeted at Maisie's home in Kent does not, or cannot, speak, and the authorities do not know who the child belongs to or who might have put her on the "Operation Pied Piper" evacuee train. They know only that her name is Anna.

As Maisie's search for the killer escalates, the country braces for what is to come. Britain is approaching its gravest hour -- and Maisie could be nearing a crossroads of her own.

Publisher: New York :, HarperCollinsPublishers,, [2017]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780062660534
Branch Call Number: MYS WIN
Characteristics: 335 pages ; 23 cm


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Tigard_AnnieS Jan 26, 2019

This Maisie Dobbs installment finds us in the days leading up to the break out of WWII. Priscilla is not the only one terrified about her loved ones going back to war, but in fact, this is the feeling throughout all of Britain; those who survived WWI especially. A new character, Anna, is introduced in the subplot and we are of course left wanting to know more about her. WWI seems to be growing in interest- readers will also enjoy Laurie R. King and her character Mary Russell. Also try Susan Elia MacNeal's Maggie Hope mysteries.

Mar 17, 2018

Maisie is dealing with Belgium refugees from WWI who are now active because they know what to expect from Germany as WWII looms.

Sep 09, 2017

Good addition to the well-written Maisie Dobbs series. She receives a request from a Belgian embassy official on the day war is declared against Nazi Germany. A murder is not being seriously investigated by police and the official wants more. Turns our there were multiple murders with a genesis in the early days of the First World War.

Jul 24, 2017

Great writing- always enjoy her books and the series.

Katherine_A Jul 09, 2017

I have been a longtime fan of Jacqueline Winspear and the Maisie Dobbs series. This latest installment does not disappoint. Maisie takes in an evacuee from London, a little girl that she grows fond of. In the meantime she is solving her latest mystery of the murder of Belgium refugee that escaped occupied Belgium as a boy. The complexity of the mystery is on the same level as other books in the series. The writing style is beautiful and the characters are great.

Jun 26, 2017

The Maisie Dobbs series is an almost perfect combination of character-driven and plot-driven books. Be sure to read them in order, following from the beginning of the War to End all Wars to the beginning of WW II. At the same time, you have the privilege of following the growth, fears, and losses, of Maisie and her associates. This book looks back at the Great War and how it affects the Belgian refugees who came to Britain, married, and stayed on. Besides being an issue at the beginning of WW II, it remains a timely issue today. In a touching subplot, among the children evacuated from London is a "lost" five year old girl who can't--or won't--speak. Maisie finds Anna very appealing, and works with her father and his horses to make her feel at home, and to find her family. While I await all the Maisie Dobbs books, this was one of my favorites.

May 27, 2017

When I grow up, I want to be just like Maisie Dobbs. She’s rich, but unassuming and hard working. She cares about not only her detective assignment, but her employees as well. She loves her family and she’s committed to helping make things better for others. Making things better for others isn’t easy as England has just declared war on Hitler’s Germany. In the midst of children being sent out of London, she finds herself drawn to a young girl who has been sent to live with her father and stepmother. Somehow finding out more about this young girl doesn’t interfere with her job of discovering who has killed Belgians who emigrated to England during the Great War. Another great story from Winspear. This isn’t the book to start reading the series. There’s too much information you need about Maisie to enjoy the story fully.

May 19, 2017

I am a fan of Winspear's character Maisie Dobbs. She was at her best in the post WWI years. Maisie is now in the WWII years and the books lack that special something. A worthy psychological mystery.

May 01, 2017

The title of this novel is from the first line of a speech given by King George VI, on the day that it was announced that Britain was at war, September 3, 1939. Another line in that same speech states " for the second time in the lives of most of us, we are at war." This is certainly true for Maisie, a former WW1 battlefield nurse, the reader first met as she was opening her inquiry/psychology agency in 1929. (Maisie Dobbs, 2003). Her cases often had their roots in events surrounding the war and , as readers, we got to know her circle of friends, colleagues, and family. Maisie experienced tragedies and heartache in the following years but there was always a sense of hope. Sometimes that hope was represented by the children of her friends -- so it is especially sad to think that this new generation is just the right age to fight in his new war. The older generation expresses dread and incredulity, while the younger generation expresses youthful excitement. Immediately after the announcement of war, London was in chaos; children were evacuated and severe blackout laws were in place. But nothing much happened for eight months on land with the allies. Historians often refer to this time as the phony war or Churchill's own term - "the twilight war" (The seas were a different matter). It is during this London chaos that Maisie has to deal with a new case. ....thirteenth Maisie Dobbs novel

Chapel_Hill_MarthaW Apr 17, 2017

Thirteen books in, I still really like this series. While I find Maisie oftentimes frustrating as a character – simply because we operate in very different ways, and it’s therefore at times difficult for me to understand why she does the things that she does – I still enjoy getting inside her head, and longtime readers of the series will be happy to see that she’s managed to move past some of the oppressive grief that (understandably) marked the past couple of books. I also appreciated that this was more of a straightforward mystery, after a couple of books that were veering more in the espionage direction – hopefully this trend continues!

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Apr 11, 2017

“Coincidence is a messenger sent by Truth.” - p. 87

Apr 11, 2017

“In this grave hour, perhaps the most fateful in our history… for the second time in the lives of most of us, we are at war.”
- King George VI, September 3rd, 1939
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