In This Grave Hour
Sunday September 3rd 1939. At the very moment Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain broadcasts to the nation Britain’s declaration of war with Germany, a senior Secret Service agent breaks into Maisie Dobbs’ flat to await her return. Dr. Francesca Thomas has an urgent assignment for Maisie: to find the killer of a man who escaped occupied Belgium as a boy, some twenty-three years earlier during the Great War.
In a London shadowed by barrage balloons, bomb shelters and the threat of invasion, within days another former Belgian refugee is found murdered. And as Maisie delves deeper into the killings of the dispossessed from the “last war,” a new kind of refugee—an evacuee from London—appears in Maisie’s life. The little girl billeted at Maisie’s home in Kent does not, or cannot, speak, and the authorities do not know who the child belongs to or who might have put her on the “Operation Pied Piper” evacuee train. They know only that her name is Anna.
As Maisie’s search for the killer escalates, the country braces for what is to come. Britain is approaching its gravest hour—and Maisie could be nearing a crossroads of her own.
“While Winspear maintains her focus on the volunteers and charitable organizations involved in their rescue and relocation, her portraits of individual evacuees…are enough to break your heart.”
—The New York Times
“Maisie Dobbs might be classified as a secret weapon judging by her courage
and fierce determination as she plunges into wars…”
“Winspear conveys compassion and grief so well that it’s hard for readers to not relate to the characters and what they’re experiencing, even if they’ve not shared the exact circumstances…”
—New York Journal of Books
“Winspear’s compelling series entry feels very timely in light of our current political
climate over issues of refugees and immigration.”
—Library Journal, starred review
“Although In This Grave Hour is a well-realized historical novel… many of the issues it raises continue to hold currency today…. And, of course, Maisie, with her quiet competence and unfailing compassion, continues to be one of the most interesting and resilient characters in mystery fiction.”