The Consequences of Fear (Maisie Dobbs 16)

Written by Jacqueline Winspear
Review by Elizabeth Caulfield Felt

Although the intensity of the Blitz is past, German airplanes still drop bombs on London nightly, and the United States has yet to enter the war. Maisie Dobbs has turned much of her work over to assistant Billy Beale, so she can spend more time in the country with her newly adopted daughter and aging father. However, when a young boy witnesses a murder—a murder that both Scotland Yard and the SOE refuse to believe happened, as no body was found—Maisie takes the case. The boy, who is a runner for the SOE, is regularly beaten by his father and traumatized by his nightly races through London carrying messages while bombs fall. When a body is dragged from the Thames, Maisie’s suspicions and the boy’s testimony seem confirmed. She suspects involvement by members of the Free French, which causes former colleagues MacFarlane and Caldwell to ask her to drop her investigation. Meanwhile, Maisie struggles to balance her work with her new romantic relationship and her time in the country with her daughter.

This is the seventeenth book in the Maisie Dobbs series. I have read them all. Winspear is a brilliant writer, mixing the history and the mystery with the psychology of criminals and victims. This volume is one of her best. Maisie’s life is filled with more responsibility than she can manage. Winspear has elevated the suspense, and the reader can feel the stress on Maisie and the other characters. The war seems never-ending, bombs continue to fall, a murderer is on the loose. No one and nowhere seem safe. Although the author does catch up readers with important information from past books, I recommend reading the series in order. Maisie’s personal life is worth following as it happens. Highly recommended.