A Book Review: To Die But Once


To Die But Once

A Maisie Dobbs Novel

By Jacqueline Winspear

This is the fifteenth book in a series of novels about Maisie Dobbs, a Psychologist, and Investigator.  The author, Jacqeline Winspear, is listed as a New York Times bestselling author, a primary reason that I selected the first book in the series to read.

This novel in the series has not disappointed.  This book, in the Miss Maisie Dobbs series, takes place in 1940 during World War II. Faced with a problem to help a local tavern owner find out if his sixteen-year-old son, Joe Coombes, is in good health or if there is a more troubling reason behind his sudden change in disposition and lack of communication with the family.

This job was not an investigation of paid employment for the Maisie Dobbs Investigation Company, but a request to help a local family with a search for answers about a loved one working as an apprentice during the war.  Answers to tough questions are not always what a family may wish to learn, in a time like this, especially when the truth may lie close to home.

Cowards die many times before their deaths;

The valiant never taste of death but once.

-William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 2, Scene 2

The book takes the reader on a trail gathering information about the war and the struggles during that period for most families trying to survive.  The author has knowledge about the period and information about working as an apprentice during the Second World War.

During the search for answers about young Joe’s death, Maisie helps her lifelong best friend, Priscilla, cope with a young son who has garnered a boat and set sail with a friend to rescue wounded soldiers from France.  The return of Tim will clearly take time to heal and we can expect additional recovery information in the next Masie Dobbs novel.

The usual characters in the novel are Miss Maisie Dobbs, dedicated assistant Billy Beale, office manager Sandra, and best friend Priscilla and family.  In her own personal life, Maisie is struggling with her dedication to helping others through her work and her love for a  foster child she longs to adopt and become a family with.

The book is enjoyable, eventful, and continues with its delightful character development and insight.  I look forward to the next novel in this series.

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