The Comfort of Ghosts

Book 18

NOW AVAILABLE

A milestone in historical mystery fiction as Maisie Dobbs takes her final bow!

Psychologist and Investigator, Maisie Dobbs unravels a profound mystery from her past in a war-torn nation grappling with its future.

London, 1945: Four adolescent orphans with a dark wartime history are squatting in a vacant Belgravia mansion—the owners having fled London under heavy Luftwaffe bombing. Soon after a demobilized British soldier, ill and reeling from his experiences overseas takes shelter with the group, Maisie Dobbs visits the mansion on behalf of the owners.

Maisie is deeply puzzled by the children’s reticence. Their stories are evasive and, more mysteriously, they appear to possess hand-to-hand combat skills one might expect of trained adults in wartime. Her quest to bring comfort and the promise of a future to the youngsters and to the ailing soldier, reveals a decades-old mystery concerning Maisie’s first husband, James Compton, who was killed while piloting an experimental aircraft. As Maisie picks apart the threads of her dead husband’s life, she is forced to examine her own painful past and question beliefs she has always accepted as true.

The award-winning Maisie Dobbs’ series has garnered hundreds of thousands of followers around the world, readers who are drawn to a woman who is of her time, yet familiar in ours—and who inspires with her resilience and capacity for endurance at the worst of times. This final assignment of her own choosing not only opens a new future for Maisie Dobbs and her family, but serves as a fascinating portrayal of the challenges facing the people of Britain at the close of the Second World War.

“Like many readers, I will dearly miss the voice of Maisie Dobbs.”
New York Times Book Review
Winspear delivers a most elegant and satisfying resolution… It’s a privilege to experience life with Winspear’s determined and maximally resilient woman protagonist.
Booklist, Starred Review
A fitting finale to a marvelously entertaining series full of finely drawn characters often scarred by the horrors of war.
Kirkus Reviews
A fitting, heartwarming conclusion to a beloved series.
Publishers Weekly

Full Praise

“It’s fall 1945, just after the end of World War II. Maisie has been asked to investigate the four orphaned teens who are squatting in the vacant, once-grand London mansion where she worked as a maid years ago. There, she inadvertently stumbles onto a decades-old mystery involving her first husband, who died while test-piloting an airplane.

Maisie’s life will be forever changed by what she discovers: ‘Truth had at last come to the surface, had eased itself from the boundaries of the past as if it were a splinter rising up through skin.’ Winspear gives Maisie the grace to face her pain, and wraps up the series with a deft touch.

Like many readers, I will dearly miss the voice of Maisie Dobbs.”
New York Times Book Review

“Winspear presents the eighteenth and final book in her internationally bestselling Maisie Dobbs series that began in 2003. In the very first novel, neatly titled Maisie Dobbs, Maisie remarks, ‘we only like our heroes out in the street when they are looking their best…. not when they’re showing us the wounds they suffered on our behalf.’ She was referencing WWI survivors. Her story spans the years 1910–45, and now, at its conclusion, Maisie finds herself dealing with many who have been terribly wounded, physically and mentally, by WWII. Four adolescent orphans damaged by their experiences are squatting in a vacant mansion in London, and when Maisie investigates, she discovers they are caring for a recently demobbed soldier on death’s doorstep. She also uncovers a decades-old secret about her deceased husband that puts her beliefs in him and his family to the test. Winspear delivers a most elegant and satisfying resolution. In her opening letter to the reader, she writes, ‘I’ve endeavored to create a body of work that is in equal measure a family saga and mystery series.’ She succeeded beyond everyone’s expectations. It’s a privilege to experience life with Winspear’s determined and maximally resilient woman protagonist.”
Booklist, Starred Review

“Readers who snapped up every Maisie Dobbs book as it was released will find great satisfaction in seeing long-standing characters achieve some measure of peace at the end of a terrible time. Anyone coming to Winspear’s novels for the first time, or picking up this new volume after reading only a few of them over the years, might miss the emotional resonance of this reckoning and get lost among the many connections to earlier books. The Comfort of Ghosts is an apt title: The novel is haunted by so many losses that it sometimes feels as though Maisie is walking more among the dead than the living. But that’s a perfectly good reason to begin with that first novel, published more than 20 years ago, and binge-read the series before arriving at this satisfying conclusion.”
Washington Post (read full review)

“A fitting finale to a marvelously entertaining series full of finely drawn characters often scarred by the horrors of war.”
Kirkus Reviews

“A fitting, heartwarming conclusion to a beloved series.”
Publishers Weekly

“The wonderful Maisie Dobbs series comes to a satisfying conclusion as our intrepid investigator tackles the presence of squatters in a London home; the identity of a recently returned soldier; the killing of a rural aristocrat; and startling revelations in her own family life.”
Boston Globe

The Maisie Dobbs Series