The American Agent: A Maisie Dobbs Novel

Written by Jacqueline Winspear
Review by Elisabeth Lenckos

Maisie Dobbs rides again—or rather she drives an ambulance during the devastating London Blitz, continuing her tradition of aiding the war effort that she began as a nurse in 1914. On a nightly rescue mission, Maisie is accompanied by American correspondent Catherine Saxon, who is discovered dead in her flat the next morning, and Maisie finds herself charged with solving the mystery of the young woman’s murder, as the British government is intent on keeping the investigation quiet on account of the national security issues at stake. For as it turns out, Catherine was no ordinary journalist, but the daughter of an American senator with fascist leanings, leading Maisie to wonder whether her assassination had political, rather than personal, reasons. As she delves deeper into the circumstances surrounding Catherine’s death, Maisie unearths a chain of events that date back to the dead woman’s unhappy childhood and her connections with people as flawed as herself. But discovering Catherine’s murder is far from the only concern in Maisie’s life, as she fights to adopt a war orphan and struggles to understand whether an American agent, who once saved her life and now seems set on stealing her heart, is a man she can trust.

Marking the sixteenth appearance of Maisie Dobbs, The American Agent continues the story of her relationship with the U.S. Department of Justice representative who aided her flight from Munich in 1938.  But Mark Scott is only one of the many colorful protagonists that people Maisie’s world and include her friends, family, and the fascinating individuals she encounters in her work as a private investigator in war-torn Britain. As likable as she is admirable, as vulnerable as she is strong, Maisie Dobbs is the perfect character to inhabit her sphere—a war heroine, who will hopefully delight readers for generations to come. Highly recommended.