Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Review: The Mapping of Love and Death

The Mapping of Love and Death (Maisie Dobbs - Book 7) by Jacqueline Winspear

Publication Date: February 2011
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers
Genre: Cozy Mystery
ISBN-13: 9780061727689

(Received for review from TLC Tours)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Jacqueline Winspear on the WEB: Website, Blog, Facebook

Excerpt from The Mapping of Love and Death

Synopsis (Book Blurb):

August 1914, As Michael Clifton is mapping land he has just purchased in California's beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, war is declared in Europe and duty-bound to his father's native country, the young cartographer soon sets sail for England to serve in the British army. Three years later, he is listed as missing in action.

April 1932, After Michael's remains are unearthed in France, his parents retain London psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs, hoping she can find the unnamed nurse whose love letters were among their late son's belongings. It is a quest that leads Maisie back to her own bittersweet wartime love - and to the stunning discovery that Michael Clifton was murdered in his dugout. Suddenly an exposed web of intrigue and violence threatens to ensnare the dead soldier's family and even Maisie herself as she attempts to cope with the impending loss of her mentor and the unsettling awareness that she is once again falling in love.


Jacqueline Winspear's seventh Maisie Dobbs novel, The Mapping of Love and Death, takes psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs into the amazing world of cartography. Long-time fans of Winspear will be happy to find their favorite sleuth back on the job. Winspear's writing centers once again around the first world war and the men and women who fought it. Readers will be fall in love with Winspear's descriptive power and soothing tones in this novel.

Micheal Clifton returned home to England when the war in Europe began. He was a cartographer in the British Army. When he turns up on a list of the missing in 1916 his parents are devastated. When Micheal's remains are unearthed in France in 1932 his parents hire esteemed psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs to find the young woman whose love letters are found among Michael's things. The adventure will take Maisie on a journey she never expects as she comes to terms with loosing her mentor, Maurice Blanche and her own experiences from the war as a nurse. When she discovers that Michael died in his own dugout along with the rest of his cartography unit, Maisie must uncover the secret of how it happened and why...

Masie Dobbs fans will be on the edge of their seats with this one. Author Jacqueline Winspear once again gives readers a book that is well researched and very entertaining. The author gives Maisie not only a new case to work through, but a new science to learn: cartography. Cartography or the study of maps may sound a little hum-drum, but Winspear makes it seem exciting as Maisie tries to figure out why someone would want to murder a cartographer? What did he know that made him more valuable to someone dead, than alive?

The Mapping of Love and Death differs somewhat from previous Maisie Dobbs titles in that we learn more about Maisie as a person. Usually the books are focused mainly on the mystery itself and we are don't find out as much as we would like about the main character, but this one offers a great balance between the two. Readers will be enthralled by the mystery, but also genuinely interested in Maisie herself. I liked the way Winspear was able to interject Maisie's own experiences in the war into the story. From her job as a field nurse to her love affair with a soldier. I thought it was compelling and made Maisie a much more interesting character.

There is some debate as to whether or not the Maisie Dobbs books should be considered cozy mysteries or just plain mysteries. In my opinion you have to go back to the definition of what a cozy mystery is for the answer. Cozies are mysteries that have a female lead, who has a day job but ends up using her amateur sleuth skills to solve crimes. In this case, Winspear gives a female lead, in Maisie Dobbs who is a psychologist but does some investigating on the side. So in my opinion the Maisie Dobbs books are definitely cozies. I believe the difference of opinion comes in because these books are a little more gritty than most cozies and the tone is a little more complex.

The Mapping of Love and Death is an excellent story that will have readers staying up long into the night reading. The pace is fast and the plot well developed. This is a book than can easily be read in a day or a weekend. I recommend it to both mystery and suspense readers and to cozy mystery readers. Read the Maisie books for yourself and decide it the cozy reference fits or not. The latest Maisie Dobbs book, A Lesson in Secrets will be out in hardcover later this month.

The Mapping of Love and Death is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Jacqueline Winspear has received numerous honors for her New York Times bestselling Maisie Dobbs novels, including the Agatha , Alex and Macavity awards. Originally from the United Kingdom, she now lives in Calfornia.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been hearing great things about Maisie Dobbs for quite a long time - sounds like I really need to get started on this series!