A Sunlit Weapon: A Novel (Maisie Dobbs, 17)

by Jacqueline Winspear

Hardcover, 2022

Call number

MYST WIN

Collection

Genres

Publication

Harper (2022), 368 pages

Description

Fiction. Mystery. HTML: In the latest installment of the New York Times bestselling series, a series of possible attacks on British pilots leads Jacqueline Winspear's beloved heroine Maisie Dobbs into a mystery involving First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. October 1942. Jo Hardy, a 22-year-old ferry pilot, is delivering a Supermarine Spitfire�??the fastest fighter aircraft in the world�??to Biggin Hill Aerodrome, when she realizes someone is shooting at her aircraft from the ground. Returning to the location on foot, she finds an American serviceman in a barn, bound and gagged. She rescues the man, who is handed over to the American military police; it quickly emerges that he is considered a suspect in the disappearance of a fellow soldier who is missing. Tragedy strikes two days later, when another ferry pilot crashes in the same area where Jo's plane was attacked. At the suggestion of one of her colleagues, Jo seeks the help of psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs. Meanwhile, Maisie's husband, a high-ranking political attaché based at the American embassy, is in the thick of ensuring security is tight for the first lady of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt, during her visit to the Britain. There's already evidence that German agents have been circling: the wife of a president represents a high value target. Mrs. Roosevelt is clearly in danger, and there may well be a direct connection to the death of the woman ferry pilot and the recent activities of two American servicemen. To guarantee the safety of the First Lady�??and of the soldier being held in police custody�??Maisie must uncover that connection. At the same time, she faces difficulties of an entirely different nature with her young daughter, Anna, who is experiencing wartime struggles of… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member eyes.2c
Aviatrices, Investigators and VIP’s!

England 1942. Amongst the many challenges she faces, investigator Maisie Dobbs comes face to face with some American problems—Racism, US Army regulations, a dead American serviceman, and assassins. On the more personal front her daughter Anna is having
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problems at school, and Billy’s family have fresh heartache. Maisie and her husband Mark Scott have to thread a careful path between their respective jobs. Especially as it seems Maisie’s investigative work will cross over into Mark’s work with the American Embassy.
Three spitfires have mysteriously crashed near a landing field in Biggin Hill, Kent.
One being flown by the fiancé of aviatrix Jo Harvey, who is with the Air Transport Auxiliary who ferry different planes to where they’re needed. Jo feels that something’s not quite right about these accidents and she employs Maisie to investigate.
Along with this a colored soldier has been accused of killing a white soldier, although mysteriously there’s no body. Alongside this is a security nightmare trip to England by a highly placed American, and the unexplained death of one of the aviatrix.
International and personal problems challenge Maisie’s thought structures. She finds herself returning to some of the basics inculcated from Maurice.
Although engaging I found that this phase of Maisie’s life becoming just too complicated. On the other hand, when has that not been the case?

A Harper ARC via NetGalley
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LibraryThing member Twink
A Sunlit Weapon is the 17th entry in Jacqueline Winspear's long running and much loved Maisie Dobbs series. Picking up the latest in this series feels like settling in with an old friend to catch up.

I appreciate that Winspear keeps the narrative moving forward. We’ve been with Maisie through her
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younger years through to the current time period - 1942 WWII. She's gone from a servant on an estate to now being a licensed psychologist and private investigator with her own office.

Winspear takes historical events and weaves them together with a mystery in each book. I really enjoy the historical bits. A Sunlit Weapon uses the air ferry women as a basis for one of Maisie's cases.

While the plotting and mysteries are always excellent, it is the characters that have me coming back for each new book. Maisie is a great lead - calm, thoughtful, somewhat impulsive and curious. Winspear has kept the personal lives of all the characters moving forward as well. I've become quite invested in their lives and what might be next for them all. Maisie's assistant Billy Beale is a perennial favorite supporting character. He and Maisie work well together. All of the characters have suffered some loss over the years - which mimics life. But, they continually put one foot in front of the other and move forward - can do, keep calm and soldier on.

The latest case is a complicated one and as things progress, two of Macy’s cases seem to have something in common. I appreciate the way the cases are solved with leg work, conversations and slowly piecing together clues and observations. And with Maisie there's also that extra little bit intuition.

The settings have always been a character in these books as well - each described so well that I can picture them. (I'd love to be in the car with Maisie, motoring down a country road.

Excellent plotting, wonderful characters and prose add up to another satisfying tale. But I knew it would be! If you love historical fiction and you haven't read Jacqueline Winspear you're missing out on an excellent series.
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LibraryThing member fromthecomfychair
Another wonderful story from J. Winspear. This time, the story, set in WWII, involves air transport pilots, mainly women, who flew planes to locations where they would be needed by the RAF. When two pilots are shot down over the countryside, one of the ATA pilots contracts Maisie to look into the
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shooting.

Her investigation ends up dovetailing with the US Embassies efforts to keep Eleanor Roosevelt safe while she is visiting England.

On the home front, Maisie's adopted daughter Anna is dealing with bullying at the local school, due to her "Italian" complexion. The person ultimately behind the bullying is the headmistress, an angry woman who has never recovered from the death of her WWI fiance. It turns out that her bullying has had far-reaching effects, even on Maisie's current case.

I read one review that referred to Maisie as a "Mary Sue," apparently a term for a person who is too good to be true. While Maisie is an honest and stoic investigator, the fact that Winspear does not paint her with any faults has never been a problem for me. I don't think Maisie is meant to be an individual so much as a representative of England during the periods during which the series takes place.

Winspear also reflects the current times in this book, by including Americans who have Nazi sympathies, and American blacks who are affected by American racist policies even on British soil.
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LibraryThing member hemlokgang
Maisie Dobbs to the rescue again! Seventeenth installment and Winspear manages to maintain the high quality of her storyline. Multiple plot threads are interwoven like a tapestry. Eleanor Roosevelt makes an appearance, Maisie's daughter continues to wrap the reader and her parents around her little
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finger with her loveliness, and WWII intrigues abound. Characters charm, frighten, intrigue and make the reader chuckle. Family love and loyal friendships, as always, comprise the core of the series. This installment highlights the roles of land girls and female pilots, which satisfies the desire for interesting historical facts as well. Excellent read!
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LibraryThing member etxgardener
The 17th novel in the Maisie Dobbs detective series is set in wartime England in 1942. Maisie is happily married to American Mark Scott who is an attaché to the American Embassy in London, while Maisie divides her time between her detective agency in London and taking care of her family in
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Kent.

Maisie becomes in volved in a case brought to her by Jo Hardy, a 22-yeaar old aviatrix who ferries planes from one airfield to another in England. While bringing a spitfire to Biggin Field, she realizes someone is shooting at her plane from the ground. She returns to the sight to investigate and comes across a black American G.I., bound and gagged in a barn. Then several days later another ferry pilot crashes her plane and is killed. Jo calls on Maisie to help her discover what happened.

Meanwhile, Mark Scott is preparing for the arrival of Eleanor Roosevelt. Is there a connection between the plane mishaps, the trussed-up soldier and Mrs. Roosevelt’s visit? Maisie needs all her powers to deduction to solve this case.
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LibraryThing member acargile
As always, Ms. Winspear rocked it! I love the Maisie Dobbs novels. I learned a lot about the women who ferried planes from location to location. They flew more than the men and were amazing pilots. I also really enjoy Mark Scott and the American perception as opposed to the British perception.
LibraryThing member pennykaplan
Maisie deals with racism in the US military investigating a missing U.S. serviceman and shots fired from the ground at British ferry pilots delivering Spitfires in Kent. A great series but maybe too many intertwined plots in this one!
LibraryThing member delphimo
Jacqueline Winspear writes a lovely novel complete with the English countryside and the strong characters. This story centers on the women pilots that transport planes to different locations in the 1940’s. The cast of characters present many sides of different women, but Maisie Dobbs now Mrs.
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Mark Scott remains the same efficient lady. Maisie must balance her adopted daughter’s problems at school, Mark’s military maneuvers, and Billie’s sons in the army. The story outlines personal grudges of many people and how these grudges influence present day. The person killing pilots by shooting a gun will be discovered, but not before other issues are solved.
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LibraryThing member labfs39
Great Britain, 1941. Jo Hardy, a pilot with the Air Transport Auxiliary, is shot at while ferrying a Spitfire between bases. When she and a friend try and locate the shooter, they discover a terrified black man tied up and gagged in an old barn. The man is an American soldier, and the MPs are quick
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to arrest him for the murder of his missing white friend. Maisie Dobbs is retained to discover who is taking potshots at passing planes and to exonerate the black soldier. This latest installation in the Maisie Dobbs series explores the issue of Americans trying to maintain segregation within their troops while stationed and working in Britain, where there is no segregation.
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LibraryThing member shazjhb
Excellent book. Liked the psychological aspects. Love the daughter and husband.
LibraryThing member tangledthread
A continuation of the Maisie Dobbs series which focuses on the women pilots who ferried planes between locations in Britain during WWII. It also deals with the perception of American military racism in Britain during the war.
LibraryThing member BarbaraRogers
The previous books in this series have spanned 3 decades and two world wars. I will admit that I was not a fan of the first books in the series – not because they weren’t wonderful stories, but because Maisie seemed to have the saddest life of anyone I’ve ever seen and that just wasn’t for
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me. These later books have a more settled Maisie and the mysteries are just as good as those in the beginning. So, a win-win for me.

With Germany bombing England every evening, Maisie is spending most of her time away from London. Not just because of the bombings, but because she wants to spend more time with her newly adopted daughter and her handsome hunk of an American diplomat. While in London, Maisie is approached by a young woman who is a ferry pilot responsible for delivering planes among the various British bases. Jo Hardy was flying a Spitfire to Biggin Hill when she realized someone was shooting at her. Surely not! This comes on the heels of learning her beloved fiancé has died in a crash – with no apparent reason for it. Later, the young woman went back to the site where she had been fired upon and discovered a young American soldier bound and gagged in the barn.

Days later, a good friend of Jo’s – another ferry pilot – is killed flying the same route as Jo had flown. While the official ruling was ‘pilot error’, Jo was quite certain that it wasn’t – and that her fiancé’s crash, Jo’s incident, and her friend’s crash were all related somehow. At the suggestion of another friend, Jo seeks out Maisie Dobbs and lays out her case. Maisie, of course, is intrigued and begins her investigation.

As the investigation progresses, Maisie begins to think maybe there is more than one case – and one of those sets of circumstances seems to cross paths with Maisie’s American diplomat husband (Mark Scott) who is responsible for the American First Lady who will be visiting soon. Are the cases related? Is there more than one case?

Interwoven with the fast-paced mystery is a bit of a mystery and strife in Maisie’s homelife. That home life highlights the circumstances those within England must confront daily. Are there spies within their midst? Are those people who look different or have strange-sounding names sympathizers of Hitler?

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and the mystery contained within as well as the characters who are wonderfully relatable. The story also highlighted American racist attitudes. I don’t question those, and it makes me ill to have borne witness to the treatment of the black American soldier. I think the author took great pains to subtly portray American racism for the vile thing it is – but – when it came to the English prejudices, it was a few villagers who had lost sons/husbands, etc. and their prejudice was toward the Italians, French, etc. because of that.

This is a great story, with strong, compelling characters and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.
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LibraryThing member almin
I think I'm done with this series....after 17 books Maisie is irritatingly perfect and her use of psychology to solve all her cases is not believable.
LibraryThing member jamespurcell
A very complex Maisie Dobbs book with many wheels within wheels. School problems for Anna, an Eleanor Roosevelt visit, America First assassins, the AVA, and someone, not German, shooting down RAF planes keep Maisie on the move and at work. Patience, concentration, and even meditation are required
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to sort out this melange of issues, but Maisie is up to it.
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LibraryThing member Maydacat
It’s 1942, and young female pilots are ferrying Spitfires for fighter pilots’ war usage. Someone is taking pot shots at the pilots, even bringing down a plane. After one such attack, the pilot returns to the site on foot, and discovers an American soldier, bound and gagged. Rescuing him, he is
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turned over to the military police who believe he is responsible for another serviceman’s disappearance. Maisie gets called in on the case after another attack. It seems that her husband, a high-ranking attaché at the American embassy, is also working on a secret mission. And these two different cases are about to become linked. This is another well written installment in the series, with the characters readers have come to love. Written with a gentle hand, this prose nonetheless is quite gripping, just as Maisie herself is gentle when she needs to be, yet firmly determined to do her best for her clients, even if that means putting herself in danger.
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LibraryThing member themulhern
Peak derangement genre fiction. The anachronisms in this series, like the yoga and meditation, were charming when juxtaposed with the scrupulous attention to the judicious purchase of technological novelties like refrigerators and to the protocols of using the telephones. The dialogue in the series
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was always a bit tedious, and the books have always been utterly without humour. But in this book, the dialogue was littered with "my truth"s and infused with "privilege" discourse. A new low. As ever, the actual historical details are kind of interesting.
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LibraryThing member diana.hauser
A Sunlit Weapon is written by Jacqueline Winspear.
The book is #17 in the highly-acclaimed Maisie Dobbs series.

In the latest installment of the New York Times bestselling series, a series of possible attacks on British pilots leads Jacqueline Winspear's beloved heroine Maisie Dobbs into a mystery
Show More
involving First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
“October 1942. Jo Hardy, a 22-year-old ferry pilot, is delivering a Supermarine Spitfire—the fastest fighter aircraft in the world—to Biggin Hill Aerodrome, when she realizes someone is shooting at her aircraft from the ground. Returning to the location on foot, she finds an American serviceman in a barn, bound and gagged. She rescues the man, who is handed over to the American military police; it quickly emerges that he is considered a suspect in the disappearance of a fellow soldier who is missing.
Tragedy strikes two days later, when another ferry pilot crashes in the same area where Jo’s plane was attacked. At the suggestion of one of her colleagues, Jo seeks the help of psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs. Meanwhile, Maisie’s husband, a high-ranking political attaché based at the American embassy, is in the thick of ensuring security is tight for the first lady of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt, during her visit to the Britain. There’s already evidence that German agents have been circling: the wife of a president represents a high value target. Mrs. Roosevelt is clearly in danger, and there may well be a direct connection to the death of the woman ferry pilot and the recent activities of two American servicemen.
To guarantee the safety of the First Lady—and of the soldier being held in police custody—Maisie must uncover that connection. At the same time, she faces difficulties of an entirely different nature with her young daughter, Anna, who is experiencing wartime struggles of her own.”

This award-winning series is one of my all-time favorite reads. Each one is a perfect, seamless blend of history, mystery and psychology.
I have read all 17 titles (in order) and each one stays with me with Maisie and Maurice’s words always in the back of my mind.
The last book, The Comfort of Ghosts, is scheduled to be published in June 2024. I can’t wait to read it, but I will miss Maisie very, very much.
*****
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Pages

368

ISBN

0063142260 / 9780063142268
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