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To Die but Once
Cover of To Die but Once
To Die but Once
A Maisie Dobbs Novel
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Maisie Dobbs—one of the most complex and admirable characters in contemporary fiction (Richmond Times Dispatch)—faces danger and intrigue on the home front during World War II.

During the months following Britain's declaration of war on Germany, Maisie Dobbs investigates the disappearance of a young apprentice working on a hush-hush government contract. As news of the plight of thousands of soldiers stranded on the beaches of France is gradually revealed to the general public, and the threat of invasion rises, another young man beloved by Maisie makes a terrible decision that will change his life forever.

Maisie's investigation leads her from the countryside of rural Hampshire to the web of wartime opportunism exploited by one of the London underworld's most powerful men, in a case that serves as a reminder of the inextricable link between money and war. Yet when a final confrontation approaches, she must acknowledge the potential cost to her future—and the risk of destroying a dream she wants very much to become reality.

Maisie Dobbs—one of the most complex and admirable characters in contemporary fiction (Richmond Times Dispatch)—faces danger and intrigue on the home front during World War II.

During the months following Britain's declaration of war on Germany, Maisie Dobbs investigates the disappearance of a young apprentice working on a hush-hush government contract. As news of the plight of thousands of soldiers stranded on the beaches of France is gradually revealed to the general public, and the threat of invasion rises, another young man beloved by Maisie makes a terrible decision that will change his life forever.

Maisie's investigation leads her from the countryside of rural Hampshire to the web of wartime opportunism exploited by one of the London underworld's most powerful men, in a case that serves as a reminder of the inextricable link between money and war. Yet when a final confrontation approaches, she must acknowledge the potential cost to her future—and the risk of destroying a dream she wants very much to become reality.

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About the Author-
  • Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestselling Maisie Dobbs series, which includes In This Grave Hour, Journey to Munich, A Dangerous Place, Leaving Everything Most Loved, Elegy for Eddie, and eight other novels. Her standalone novel, The Care and Management of Lies, was also a New York Times bestseller and a Dayton Literary Peace Prize finalist. Originally from the United Kingdom, she now lives in California.

Reviews-
  • Library Journal

    October 1, 2017

    A World War I nurse who became a "psychologist and investigator" in postwar London, Maisie Dobbs has gone through numerous New York Times best-selling cases to arrive at World War II. Here, it's spring 1940, and Maisie is probing the disappearance of an apprentice craftsman who had been working on a secret government contract. Is the London underworld involved? Everyone loves Maisie, which explains the 100,000-copy first printing and nine-city tour to Chicago; Houston; Los Angeles; New York; Phoenix; San Francisco; Seattle; Portland, OR; and Washington, DC.

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 1, 2018
    The possible disappearance of a teenage boy drives bestseller Winspear’s so-so novel set in 1940 Britain, her 14th featuring London investigator and psychologist Maisie Dobbs (after 2017’s In This Grave Hour). Before the war, 15-year-old Joe Coombes worked as an apprentice for a painting and decorating company that the British government retained to paint RAF facilities with a new kind of fire-retardant. When Joe’s family doesn’t hear from him for several days, his father, publican Phil Coombes, asks Maisie to trace the boy. His son seemed different during their last visits, Phil tells her. Maisie soon learns that Joe took a fatal fall onto a railway track, but the reader already knows, via the prologue, that he was bludgeoned to death. The whodunit story line is often secondary to the larger historical picture—in particular, the British response to the retreat from Dunkirk and the threat of German invasion—and to developments in Maisie’s private life. A gratuitous closing contrivance doesn’t help. Still, Winspear fans will find much to like. Agent: Amy Rennert, Amy Rennert Agency.

  • Kirkus

    January 15, 2018
    Britain teeters on the brink as World War II ramps up.In May 1940, Maisie Dobbs--nurse, spy, psychologist, and enquiry agent--is caught up in the strange death of a local lad. Maisie's life has been fraught with difficulty since the death of her husband in a plane crash and her subsequent miscarriage. She's compensated for her anguish by plenty of daring deeds, including working as a nurse in the Spanish Civil War and as a spy in Hitler's Germany. Just as she's seeking to adopt Anna (In This Grave Hour, 2017, etc.), a refugee child living in her home in Kent, Maisie's approached by local publican Phil Coombes, who's desperately worried about his son Joe. Although only 15, he's apprenticed to Yates and Sons, painters and decorators, and has been traveling the country applying a fire-retardant paint to air-base buildings. The paint has apparently given him massive headaches, and now he's vanished. Maisie, who still has enough gas coupons to run her car, agrees to try tracking him down while her assistant, Billy Beale, checks out Yates. When Joe is found dead on the railroad tracks, the police think he probably jumped, but Maisie is suspicious even before the coroner finds a strange lesion in his brain. In truth, there's something a bit off about the whole Coombes family. Their standard of living is a cut above what Maisie would expect their pub to provide. And when she discovers that Mrs. Coombes is the sister of a well-known and dangerous criminal, she becomes convinced that the government paint contract involves a nasty scam and uses all her contacts to search for the truth. Her life is made even more stressful when her godson and a friend steal off to Dunkirk to help rescue the desperate remnants of the British army trapped between the advancing Germans and the English Channel.In addition to providing a very good mystery, Winspear does a smashing job describing the bravery exhibited by everyday Britons as the fear of invasion becomes ever more real.

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • New York Times Book Review "History comes alive when a character you think of as a friend is in the thick of the action. That's how Jacqueline Winspear keeps her Maisie Dobbs series so fresh."
  • Wall Street Journal "The wartime details ... transport us with ease to a milieu where danger is omnipresent but—thanks to the presence of steadfast figures like Dobbs and her like-spirited colleagues—so is hope."
  • Minneapolis Star Tribune "The novelist paints a fascinating picture of life in England at the dawn of war.... Resourceful Maisie remains an endearingly complex character."
  • Chelsea Clinton in Entertainment Weekly "Winspear's protagonist is indomitable and vulnerable, brilliant and kind."
  • Richmond Times-Dispatch "A novel that appeals equally to the intellect and the emotions, To Die but Once advances Maisie's engaging story and reaffirms Winspear's eminence in her field.... [A] radiant series."
  • Bookreporter.com "Maisie Dobbs is always looking for truth and the underlying motives in her cases. Her stories are ones that this reviewer always wants to read because of her character, values and thoughts on life.... A story about WWII and England that is close to the heart."
  • Library Journal, starred review "Winspear has created another rich reading experience for Maisie's many fans, but this title could be seen as entry point for new fans as well. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy a thoughtful mystery."
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To Die but Once
To Die but Once
A Maisie Dobbs Novel
Jacqueline Winspear
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