A Sunlit Weapon
Coming March 22nd!
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 just 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.
“There’s a lot going on in the seventeenth Maisie Dobbs mystery starring the intrepid investigator… Winspear manages the multifarious narratives with aplomb, excelling both in her portrait of the female ferry pilots, whose courage and daring in flying the sleek, speedy Spitfires (“an aeroplane surely made for a woman, lifting her high into the sunlit skies”) and in dramatizing the bond Maisie feels for the Black American soldiers, victims of racism, who share with the British women the strength to “remain standing tall when the world was bearing down.”
“No one writes historical mysteries quite like Jacqueline Winspear, and her latest Maisie Dobbs novel should be a fitting continuation of the series, this one featuring a drop-in from none other than Eleanor Roosevelt (and we all know how good Winspear is at writing strong women with wit and verve). In October of 1942, Dobbs is called in to investigate the deaths of several pilots in what may be linked to a German plan to assassinate the First Lady. Maisie is, of course, more than a match for any of history’s antagonists.”