The American Agent by Jacqueline Winspear

The American Agent (Maisie Dobbs, #15)Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Series: Maisie Dobbs #15
Publication Date: 3/26/19
Period: WWII London – 1940
Number of Pages: 400

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 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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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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