When last we saw Maisie she had made the decision to leave England and everything she held most dear, and to travel to India. She left behind James, her beau who had proposed, with a promise she would let him know yes or no in a year’s time.
When we pick up Maisie’s story again, several years have passed, and we learn that while Maisie accepted James’ proposal, they did not live happily ever after. Trying to slay the demons of her past, Maisie embarks on more travel, finding her way to Gibraltar. She is not there a week when she literally stumbles over a body in the dark, and she once more takes up the mantle of detective psychologist, reasoning a little occupational therapy is what her mind and heart needs.
However Gibraltar in the years before WWII is a particularly hazardous place to be – many countries at cross-purposes have agents placed there, as Gibraltar - a tiny spit of land in southern Spain across the strait from Tangier – in 1937 is controlled by the British, and is the key to controlling the entrance to the Mediterranean. Fascists, Nazis, Communists, Allies – they all have a stake in Gibraltar, and Maisie’s investigation proves to have deeper, more complex roots than that of an apparent random murder in the city’s streets.
With spies from numerous nations looking over her shoulder and with opposing viewpoints muddling her convictions, Maisie will not be satisfied until she has answers for the victim’s families, but at what cost to her soul? Steeped in history of a relatively unexamined part of World War II, Jacqueline Winspear’s thoughtful characters and plotting make for a very reflective type of mystery, one that makes her audience seek out more knowledge about her subjects, just as her main character does.