The American Agent: A Maisie Dobbs Novel

by Jacqueline Winspear

Hardcover, 2019

Call number

MYST WIN

Collection

Genres

Publication

Harper (2019), Edition: First Edition, 384 pages

Description

When Catherine Saxon, an American correspondent reporting on the war in Europe, is found murdered in her London digs, news of her death is concealed by British authorities. Serving as a linchpin between Scotland Yard and the Secret Service, Robert MacFarlane pays a visit to Maisie Dobbs, seeking her help. He is accompanied by an agent from the US Department of Justice--Mark Scott, the American who helped Maisie get out of Hitler's Munich in 1938. MacFarlane asks Maisie to work with Scott to uncover the truth about Saxon's death. As the Germans unleash the full terror of their blitzkrieg upon the British Isles, raining death and destruction from the skies, Maisie must balance the demands of solving this dangerous case with her need to protect Anna, the young evacuee she has grown to love and wants to adopt. Entangled in an investigation linked to the power of wartime propaganda and American political intrigue being played out in Britain, Maisie will face losing her dearest friend--and the possibility that she might be falling in love again.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member kakadoo202
Well written but many clichees and predictable ending
LibraryThing member Kathy89
I love Maisie Dobbs. This was a difficult book to read and I actually cried at certain points in the story. It’s WWII and the Nazi’s are bombing London every night and during the Blitz Maisie and her friend Priscilla are driving an ambulance and picking up the wounded and taking them to
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hospital. She’s approached by her old MI5 friend MacFarlene to investigate the murder of an American journalist who Maisie had met the night before when the victim accompanied them on an ambulance run. Because the journalist was American, an agent from the American Embassy is assigned to work with her and it is someone she knows from an assignment in Germany two years ago. While all this is going on, Maisie is worrying about the adoption proceeding for her six year old ward. Just a wonderful story.
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LibraryThing member terran
In this entry in the Maisie Dobbs series, Maisie is investigating the murder of an American foreign correspondent who is covering the Blitz in wartime London. She is ostensibly being assisted by Mark Scott, a mysterious American government employee, who appeared in an earlier series entry. She is
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also awaiting the decision as to whether she can adopt orphan Anna, who has been living with her for several years. There is a lot going on and a lot of people to interview. There are also interesting details about daily life in London and the surrounding countryside during the Blitz, and about the experiences of the British, American, and Canadian fighter pilots who defended the island from the Germans.
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LibraryThing member bookchickdi
Count me in as one of the many Maisie Dobbs series fans. I always look forward to March when the new Maisie Dobbs novel publishes. The 15th in the series is The American Agent, and with its setting of London during the German blitz, it's one of the best in the series.

Maisie is balancing working as
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a private investigator and volunteering with her best friend Priscilla as ambulance drivers, ferrying civilians injured during the bombings of London. Maisie and Priscilla worked as ambulance drivers when we first met them many books ago during WWI.

When an American female radio war correspondent is murdered shortly after Maisie and Priscilla meet her, Maisie is asked to team up with an American Department of Justice official, Mark Scott, whom she met when she was in Spain during their Civil War.

Unlike some of the more recent Maisie Dobbs books, the action takes place all in England, and most of Maisie's friends, colleagues and family are all here- Billy and Sandra, who work for her at her private investigations agency, police investigator MacFarlane, Priscilla and her family, and Maisie's father and stepmother, along with the young orphan girl Maisie is trying to adopt.

The stakes in The American Agent are so much higher as everyone in London is endangered by the nightly German bombings. In addition to Maisie trying to find out who killed Catherine Saxon, she and her friends must worry about being killed themselves.

Real people, like a young Edward R. Murrow, make cameo appearances, and Catherine's family has a resemblance to US Ambassador to England Joseph P. Kennedy's family here. (Catherine reminded me of Kick Kennedy, who tragically died in a plane crash during WWII.) Winspear's research and attention to detail are so appreciated here.

If you are a Maisie Dobbs fan, you will enjoy this latest entry into the series. If you are not a Maisie Dobbs fan, I recommend you get on the bandwagon and start with book one, Maisie Dobbs. It's a wonderful series for high school women to read, as Maisie is a strong, smart and caring female role model. She makes mistakes, but she learns and grows from them, something we can all aspire to.
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LibraryThing member jamespurcell
Maisie is now her mentor in practice, is not in fact. As such, she is called to investigate the death of an intrepid and fearless American reporter. The victim was a woman who was seeking to gain entry into the wireless world and work for Edward R Murrow who is essentially creating this arena. The
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author very skillfully uses Murrow's broadcasts to create a vivid picture of England during the London Blitz. Lots of patient work and many interviews provide insight into this world prior to the entry of the U>S> into WW2. This series continues to blend history and the investigative process very well
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LibraryThing member shazjhb
Good read. I like this series and enjoy the twists and turns. The characters even the peripheral people seem real and genuine. Where next is always a good question
LibraryThing member themulhern
Worth the read, well-researched, exhaustingly sentimental. I'm sure I'll read the next. When I found out the solution I was just so annoyed, but luckily the mystery is not the important part of these books.
LibraryThing member delphimo
I enjoyed The American Agent by Jacqueline Winspear. The book shows the other side of the war coin. In the last Maisie Dobbs mystery, England prepares for war. In this novel the German planes are bombing London and many types of rations create havoc from the people. Maisie and her friend Priscilla
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are volunteers for the ambulances. Priscilla receives vicious burns while rescuing some children from a burning house. One of Priscilla’s sons leads a naval crusade to rescue soldiers in France and loses his arm for this brave undertaking. Winspear does an excellent job in showing the dangers and heartaches of WWII. Her characters dance from the pages and a mother’s grief over the death of a child display sorrow and grief.
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LibraryThing member acargile
This novel may be my favorite Maisie Dobbs novel. I loved it and am sad to leave Maisie and her world behind for another year. If you haven't read this novel yet, you might want to refresh your memory from the book that took place in Munich because a character from that novel resurfaces in this
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novel.

Maisie, once again, has a murder to solve, but--like the other novels--this novel presents the world and people in Maisie's life and the history of 1940 London, leaving the murder as important but not the main focus. A young American correspondent joins Pris and Maisie one night during the blitz on their ambulance. Driving an ambulance and picking up the bombing victims presents a dangerous evening. They rush into the areas where a bomb could drop or a building could collapse. On this night, members of a family have been killed as their building burns. A grandmother tries to save her grandchildren even though her daughter has died from the bombing. When the correspondent, Kath, returns home after her report, she is murdered. Maisie always believes in honoring the dead and those affected by the death, so she begins her case map and seeks to bring justice to this brave woman whose life was cut short. An American, Mark Scott, joins her on the investigation, as he represents America and Kath was the daughter of a prominent man.

Maisie works in London investigating the crime Monday through Thursday and then spends four nights with her dad, step-mother, and Anna back at Chelstone. Her hearing to adopt Anna keeps getting pushed back because of the war, and Maisie worries deeply that she'll lose her because of her dangerous job. Often the side characters "make" the novel. One of my favorite characters is Brenda, Maisie's step-mother. Brenda knows when to say something to Maisie whereas others generally trust Maisie to make the right decision, occasionally commenting their concern for her. Brenda says little but possesses much wisdom. It's when she point-blank tells Maisie something, Maisie listens.

Maisie's partner in the investigation, Mark Scott, rarely joins Maisie on the investigation. Maisie wonders if she can trust him. She questions what is really going on with the investigation, for she has boundaries to maintain. She also trusts her life with him, so does that make him trustworthy? This relationship adds another layer to a busy life of trying to stay alive, appreciating one's family, and honoring the dead all during a time that anyone's life can end today.

I think books enter our lives at the right time, and it was time to enter Maisie's world for me. I listen to these novels, so I could have misspellings anywhere because I've never seen the names or places in the books. I completely immerse myself in 1940s England and can't help but compare America then and American now against the British as they braved the blitz nightly, losing so many lives such a short time after World War I. I also listened to the first five or six novels back to back when I found the series years ago, which was the same time Downton Abbey began and I watched it as well. I may have spoken with a British accent there for a while! Nonetheless, if you like historical fiction where the series develops a character and the people and country around her, this series fits your desires. Winspear doesn't just end a novel with the solving of the case, she pulls the loose ends together and shows the value of closure. I can't recommend these novels enough.
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LibraryThing member etxgardener
This is the latest Maisie Dobbs novel #16) and Maisie has firmly established herself as a someone who helps Scotland Yard (and perhaps MI-6) with their more intractable cases. In this installment, it is August and September of 1940. The Blitz is raging over London and a young American radio
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reporter has been murdered in her lodgings. Robert McFArland of Scotland Yard and the Secret Service recruits Masie to solve the crime and she is assisted by Mark Scott, an American Agent last seen helping Maisie out of danger in Journey to Munich.

Maisie's bestie Priscilla is also her playing a supporting role alone with Maisie's assistants Billy and Sandra, along with her father and his wife, Brenda. Besides solving the case, Maisie also seems to be finding stability and happiness in her personal life, and I hope this bodes well for future installments of this series.
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LibraryThing member addunn3
Maisie is investigating the death of an American female correspondent during the Blitz. The author uses reports issued by US correspondents during this time as lead-ins to the chapters.
LibraryThing member BarbaraRogers
Here are just a few words to tell you how I am feeling about this series. I read the sixteenth book in the series first – The Consequences of Fear – and I was awestruck. I wanted to know what made Maisie into Maisie, so I decided to go to the beginning and read the series from there. I’m glad
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I read that first book, but I’d never read it a second time. It is one of the saddest, most heart-wrenching books I’ve ever read. I very quickly decided that I would continue reading the series, but only the later books because the book blurbs on those earlier books seem to continue to give Maisie a very sad life. If you are into that kind of thing, you will probably love them because the writing is excellent. In this book, we finally had some good stuff happen in Maisie’s life and I loved that! So, for this reader, reading the later books in the series is the way to go.

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Orlagh Cassidy, and she did an excellent job. The pacing is excellently done and the voices she uses for each character are unique distinguishable.

It is toward the end of 1940 and London has been suffering nightly bombings for what seems like forever. It isn’t just London being bombed, but they are getting the brunt of it. Londoners are being worn down from nightly bombings, loss of lives, loss of homes and businesses, and still having to carry on a normal life with work. Everyone is contributing to the war effort in whatever way they can – those men who are too old or infirm to join in the fighting work as air raid wardens, women work as ambulance drivers, nurses, and numerous other roles. This author’s descriptions are so vivid you’ll feel as if you are right there in the midst of the fires, hearing the rat-tat-tat of the anti-aircraft guns, feeling the terror and absolute horror.

Maisie Dobbs and her best friend Priscilla leave their family home in the countryside each Monday and drive an ambulance through the bombed-out London streets from Monday through Thursday when they return back home to their families. On their latest run, they are accompanied by American war correspondent, Catherine Saxon, who will be broadcasting her report back to the United States. She is a kind, intelligent, sincere, dedicated young woman who wants to become one of Mr. Murrow’s boys – and she wants to use her broadcasts to influence her countrymen to boldly support England in their war effort.

Maisie and Priscilla hear Catherine’s report as it is simultaneously broadcast in both the USA and England. The young woman made a poignantly beautiful report that factually reports all she’d witnessed during the ambulance run while still tugging at the heartstrings. Then, Maisie gets a call from Robert MacFarlane of Scotland Yard informing her that Catherine is deceased. She has been murdered and Scotland Yard is asking Maisie to work with a member of the American embassy staff, Mark Scott, to solve the murder. There is, of course, more to Mark Scott than meets the eye because he and Maisie have worked together before. He even saved her life in Berlin.

Mark leaves the investigation in Maisie’s capable hands and she keeps coming up with more questions than answers. This lovely young woman already has quite a history for the few years she’s spent upon this earth. She was in Spain and later France – and well, her war coverage has been all over the place. Has she stumbled upon secrets that someone was willing to kill for? Could it be a personal relationship? Was it just happenstance and she interrupted a burglar? So very many questions! So many suspects! So few answers!

You’ll just need to read the book to follow along with Maisie’s investigation and identify the murderer. Then, there are fun visits with Maisie’s family – especially Anna, the ward Maisie is hoping to adopt. And … Could Maisie be falling in love again?

I thoroughly enjoyed this read and can highly recommend it. One thing I particularly liked – especially in the audio format – is the text from the actual broadcasts made by the war correspondents. Happy reading!
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LibraryThing member labfs39
In this, the fifteenth in the series, Maisie Dobbs is asked to work with American agent Mark Scott, whom she met in Munich a few books ago, to find the murderer of a young American reporter. The reporter had been trying to earn a spot under Edward Murrow and filed stories trying to turn American
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public opinion toward aiding England, rather than isolationism. Meanwhile the Blitz has begun, there is more bad news for the Partridge's, and Maisie is on tenterhooks about Anna's adoption.

My favorite part of this chapter in the series is the inclusion of excerpts from newspapers and broadcasts, most aimed at an American audience. The words of Edward Murrow, JB Priestley, and other journalistic luminaries lend a nice touch of historical reality to the fiction. The struggle for the hearts and minds (and votes) of Americans was acute during this stage of the war. Joseph Kennedy is in the background of the novel, not a character, but a presence, and his resignation as ambassador to Britain is included.
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LibraryThing member cbl_tn
When a young American female journalist is found murdered, Maisie’s friend Robert MacFarlane of Scotland Yard asks her to investigate the case. Maisie will be working with American Mark Scott, whom she first encountered in Hitler’s Germany in Journey to Munich. Maisie has to use her time
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wisely. The Blitz is underway, and Maisie and her friend Priscilla spend several evenings a week driving an ambulance. Maisie spends long weekends at home in Kent with her father, her stepmother, and the girl Anna she hopes to adopt.

I love listening to the audio version of this series. Reader Orlagh Cassidy is perfect for the voice of Maisie, and her performance adds extra depth to the experience. The series transition from the aftermath of the First World War to the beginning of the Second has had its ups and downs. This novel succeeds, I think because Maisie seems much more at home investigating a murder than she does spying for the government.
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LibraryThing member DramMan
Enjoyable, believable murder mystery, with sympathetic, well drawn characters. The on-going Maisie Dobbs series is as good as ever.
LibraryThing member diana.hauser
The American Agent is written by Jacqueline Winspear. The title is #15 in the Maisie Dobbs series.
“Beloved heroine Maisie Dobbs, “one of the great fictional heroines” (Parade), investigates the mysterious murder of an American war correspondent in London during the Blitz in a page-turning
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tale of love and war, terror and survival.”
“When Catherine Saxon, an American correspondent reporting on the war in Europe, is found murdered in her London digs, news of her death is concealed by British authorities. Serving as a linchpin between Scotland Yard and the Secret Service, Robert MacFarlane pays a visit to Maisie Dobbs, seeking her help. He is accompanied by an agent from the US Department of Justice—Mark Scott, the American who helped Maisie escape Hitler’s Munich in 1938. MacFarlane asks Maisie to work with Scott to uncover the truth about Saxon’s death.
As the Germans unleash the full terror of their blitzkrieg upon the British Isles, raining death and destruction from the skies, Maisie must balance the demands of solving this dangerous case with her need to protect Anna, the young evacuee she has grown to love and wants to adopt. Entangled in an investigation linked to the power of wartime propaganda and American political intrigue being played out in Britain, Maisie will face losing her dearest friend—and the possibility that she might be falling in love again.”

I have read and loved every title in this series. The historical and cultural accuracy has taught me a lot about this period of history, especially as it pertains to Great Britain.
The titles are historical - cultural - tragic at times - skillfully written and plotted - stories of mystery, espionage, friendship and respect for the living and the dead.
*****
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Awards

Golden Poppy Book Award (Shortlist — Mystery/Thriller — 2019)

Pages

384

ISBN

006243666X / 9780062436665
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