Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Journey to Munich (A Maisie Dobbs Mystery #12) by Jacqueline Winspear

I may not have loved the book, but I do love the cover
I'm not quite as devoted a Maisie Dobbs fan as I am Maggie Hope and Flavia de Luce, but I do like to read the occasional novel.  I especially like that time passes and world events are included in the novels, and that they don't take place in a vacuum.

Journey to Munich begins in early spring 1938.  Maisie is still mourning the loss of her husband and has returned to England after having been gone for a long while.  No sooner does she arrive back in London, than she is approached by the British Secret Service and asked to undertake a dangerous, and for Maisie, unusual assignment.  She is to impersonate the daughter of a man who has been incarcerated in Dachau, the Nazi concentration camp in order to get him released.

Leon Donat, who is an engineer, had become involved in publishing academic works and while in Germany to promote them, he made a contribution to a friend's son to keep his underground journal running. Naturally, Donat was arrested for it despite being a British citizen.  And Britain wants him back.  So does the United States.  Donat is also an inventor and had come up with a military landing craft that could be used for an invasion, but the plans are all in his head and everyone knows it is just a matter of time before another war begins.

The Nazis, with the blessing from their F├╝hrer Adolf Hitler, and not realizing how valuable he is, are willing to release Donat, but only to a family member.  And his daughter Edwina Donat would be that relative, except she is in hospital suffering from consumption.  So Maisie is to take her place. But before she leaves, she is asked if she will also try to find Elaine Otterburn, the woman who, a few years earlier, was supposed to pilot the plane that killed Maisie's husband who chose to fly it instead. Needless to say, there is bad blood between the two women.  Still, Maisie agrees to the assignment, if only for the sake of the baby that Elaine abandoned.

Naturally, nothing goes as easily or as smoothly as one who like.

I'm sorry to say that I did not enjoy this novel as much as I have other Maisie Dobbs mysteries.  I thought it would never get to the heart of the story - Maisie in Munich, encountering Nazi officials and the ensuing difficulty of getting Donat out of Dachau.  Yet, ironically, she has very little trouble tracking down Elaine Otterburn even though the only information Maisie had was that she lived in Munich.

Don't get me wrong, there are some exciting episodes in Journey to Munich, but they are a bit overwhelmed by Maisie introspection brought on, I think, by the Elaine Otterburn situation.

I felt that Maisie was out of her element as a Secret Service operative, but her talents as an investigator, as a "private inquiry agent" were just too pat here for my taste.  I began to wonder whether Maisie's professional direction would change as the world heads into another war?  Maybe this is the set-up for Maisie-turned-spy.  Time will tell.

If you are a die-hard Maisie Dobbs fan, Journey to Munich probably won't disappoint you. If you are the occasional reader like I am, your experience may not be as wonderful, but do give it a try.  The world of Maisie Dobbs is on the threshold of a whole new era, who knows what experiences she will have.

This book is recommended for readers age 14+
This book was an EARC received from Edelweiss/Above the Treeline


  1. I haven't read any of these books and would like to give them a try. Thanks!

  2. I love Maggie Hope and can't believe I have to wait until October for the next one but am not a fan of Maisie Dobbs. All that psychic sensing drives me nuts. But I must admit the cover of this one has almost lured me back... but I only read a few and she wasn't even married in the ones I read so then I'd feel compelled to go back and try them all... perhaps while I wait for Maggie. And I'll have to try Flavia, too!

  3. I liked the first book in this series, but stopped after the third.

  4. I haven't read any of the Maisie Dobbs books, but I have heard good things about them. It was great to read your review- because it lets me know that maybe I should start with a different one. :) Thanks for sharing!