Spring 1940. Maisie Dobbs is asked to investigate the disappearance of a local lad, a young apprentice craftsman working on a 'hush hush' government contract. As Maisie's inquiry reveals a possible link to the London underworld, another mother is worried about a missing son. But this time the boy in question is one beloved by Maisie.
Meanwhile, Tim, the middle son of Maisie's best friend, Priscilla, takes it into his head to go off with his best friend and rescue the troops at Dunkirk; and Maisie is trying to adopt the young war orphan, Anna; and did we mention the German spy in the basement of Maisie's office building?
No, it really isn't a mess. The threads of the various plots are deftly woven together, along with, I suspect, the teaser for the next book. We're glad that Ms. Winspear is out of whatever funk she had been in, and that Maisie is back in fine form. We're going to need her to win World War II!
I always look forward to spending time with Maisie, but I didn’t enjoy this book as much as others because the various threads weren’t tied up as neatly as I’ve come to expect in this series. Maisie’s desire to adopt Anna and the vetting she’s undergoing of her suitability as a parent affects the way she conducts her investigation. Even her assistant, Billy, notices this and comments on it. In this instance, the case took a backseat to Maisie’s personal life and the lives of her friends and associates.