Leaving Everything Most Loved: A Maisie Dobbs Novel

Written by Jacqueline Winspear
Review by Marina Maxwell

In 1933 the body of Usha Pramal is found in a London canal, but Scotland Yard is slow to solve the murder. Two months later, Usha’s brother arrives from India and seeks the expertise of Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator, to discover who killed his sister and why. Maisie is drawn into London’s little-known Indian culture, and the case soon reveals the latent prejudices of 1930s Britain when servant women are turned out by their employers to fend for themselves after they are no longer needed. In a hostel for ayahs, Maisie uncovers vital clues and meets a friend of the murdered woman who promises to reveal more but before she can do so is killed in the same calculated fashion. The mystery deepens when Maisie suspects there is a link to another of her cases involving a missing boy.

This is the tenth book in the Maisie Dobbs series and can stand alone as a thriller to some extent, but greater enjoyment will be had by those readers already familiar with Maisie’s back story, the previous cases she has solved, and the people who are important in her life. Winspear’s plots are always intelligent, thought-provoking and unpredictable. Maisie is a marvelous creation: smart and efficient, yet warm and sympathetic. She also relies on intuition and her psychic senses, but never in such a way that renders her unbelievable. Winspear’s historical research is faultless, and she displays a thorough grasp of what life really was like in this era when the tragedies of World War I continued to have repercussions across all levels of British society.

This is also a novel of journeys, and of endings and beginnings for Maisie herself, and her many fans will now be on tenterhooks to know what lies ahead. Very highly recommended.