Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Mapping of Love and Death-Jacqueline Winspear

The Mapping of Love and Death
Jacqueline Winspear
Harper, Mar 23 2010, $25.99
ISBN: 9780061727665

In 1932, Maisie Dobbs receives a note from Dr. Hayden of Massachusetts General Hospital who volunteered as a combat physician during the Great War; and of whom Maisie worked with. He asks her to meet with an elderly American couple whose son went missing during the 1916 Battle of the Somme. The Clintons inform her that farmers in France have uncovered a series of rooms that were part of the trenches. Inside are bodies of the British Cartography Section including their son who joined as a teen in 1914. They want to know who killed him as the autopsy revealed he died from a blow to his face.

Maisie, with Billy supporting her agrees, to investigate. She looks at the other information like letters and a dairy to help her. As she digs deep into what happened in this trench room in 1916, Maisie also copes with personal issues starting with Billy's wife leaving the psychiatric ward, Dr. Maurice's illness, Stratton's replacement at the Yard and her feelings for Canadian expatriate James Compton.

This is a terrific Depression Era whodunit as Maisie knows she has achieved her prime goal and is now entering her middle years so feels a bit adrift as she is undecided what next. The case is superb as the inquiry provides the reader a deep look at trench warfare during WWI. As entertaining as the military mystery are the goings-on in the heroine’s personal life. The mapping of Love and death is a great historical investigation thriller.

Harriet Klausner

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