A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear may be my favorite Maisie Dobbs historical mystery. First, I love the covers that evoke the era in which the books are set. Here we have Maisie standing by her red convertible MG as she observes a man and car across the park. This eighth story has an interesting mystery as always, but it’s more Maisie as woman coming in to her full stride of life that grabbed me. She now has an established inquiry agency with war veteran Billy Beale as her assistant. She is so well-regarded that Scotland Yard and the Secret Service have called her in for some under cover work. They have set Maisie up teaching philosophy at a new college in Cambridge, watching for signs of anti-government leanings of students or staff. On her second day there the college’s founder is found dead in his office. Although she is not there to solve a murder, Maisie cannot stop herself from investigating.
She’s running back and forth to London in her MG, meeting clandestinely with Scotland Yard investigators and keeping up with her teaching duties. As always, Maisie meets a variety of interesting people in her investigation, some of whom she will stay in touch after her case is done. Set in 1932, I found the foreshadowing of WWII apropo to Maisie’s remit a perfect secondary storyline, as the series deals with the effects of the Great War on Maisie and those she loves as well as Europe as a whole. I definitely recommend this series. Start with the first book, Maisie Dobbs, to get the full experience.