Maisie Dobbs is facing a crossroads in her life; she's also facing two puzzling cases.
James Compton is increasingly urgent in his desire to marry Maisie, and work is about to take him to Canada. He'd like her to come with him. But as much as she loves James, Maisie is afraid of losing herself. Even though James values her intelligence and independence, he doesn't like how dangerous her work can be. And Maisie herself is feeling an increasingly strong desire to travel--but not to Canada, and not with James. This would be a journey of self-discovery, a memorial trip for Maurice Blanche--a trip to India, length of visit open indefinitely.
Meanwhile, she's got those two puzzling cases. One involves a young Indian woman, Usha Pramal, who came to England originally as a governess for an English family. More lately, she has been working as maid while living in an ayah's hostel. Most recently, she was found dead, floating in the canal, with a bullet through her head.
The other case involves a missing boy, Robert Martin, whose father hasn't reported his disappearance to the police, and was slow to seek even Maisie's help. Maisie gave the case to Billy Beale, thinking it would help build his confidence again as he completed his recovery from the serious injuries he took on a previous case.
But Billy is less recovered than she hopes, and the two cases turn out to be unexpectedly connected.
As with all the Maisie Dobbs books, this is as much about the further growth and development of the characters as about the specific mysteries Maisie and her little detective agency work on. I felt the series hit a rough patch for a book or two, but this book and the previous one feel like Winspear is back on track. Maisie Dobbs and her friends and family are moving forward, in difficult and dangerous times.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.