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A Lesson in Secrets

by Jacqueline Winspear

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Maisie Dobbs (8)

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1,54210111,617 (3.89)110
Maisie Dobbs' first assignment for the British Secret Service takes her undercover to Cambridge as a professor, and leads to the investigation of a murderous web of activities being conducted by the up-and-coming Nazi party.

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Showing 1-5 of 100 (next | show all)
I really like this mystery series set in England between the World Wars. Winspear does a really good job of showing the repercussions of WWI and the slow lead up to WWII. This installment had, as a backdrop, a group of young people interested in the ideas of Adolph Hitler.

But even with the rich historical detail, the center is Maisie and her growth as a person. The mysteries seem to enable this growth - everything is integrated so well in these books.

Maisie is a bit stuffy and formal, and I love her anyway. I'll keep reading these and I think there are 17 and this was number 8. ( )
  japaul22 | Dec 6, 2023 |
I always love returning to Maisie's world. She goes undercover to teach at a school promoting peace when a famous author is murdered. This wasn't my favorite of the mysteries, but I loved seeing this slice of history. So many books cover WWI & WWII, but this part of the series focuses on the '30s when Europe was still reeling from the devastating effects of the first war and Nazis were beginning to rise to power. ( )
  bookworm12 | Nov 22, 2023 |
This, the eighth the book in this long-running series, is a a little different than the previous books. In this story Maisie finds herself working for Special Branch instead of for herself. It is the summer of 1932, and England is still reeling from the War to End All Wars, and is trying to get itself ready for the future. But Hitler is already rattling his sabre in Germany, and, although the powers that be in England do not think it's much to worry about, there is a lot of uncertainty In England at this time, especially among the young, idealistic students of colleges and universities in England. Maisie is recruited by Special Branch to investigate a small college in Cambridge which is known for its peace and tranquitility dogma as an alternative to the upheaval and uncertainty of just a few years ago. She arrives at the St. Francis College as an interim lecturer and finds herself drawn into the the scholarly life and she enjoys herself with the students who are all eager to learn. But the undercurrents at the College, and the history of the Principal, begin to cause an uproar within the ranks. And while she's there a murder happens. Maisie has to tread lightly in order to not reveal her real reason for being there, but she can't help herself from getting involved in the murder investigation. It's been awhile since I revisited Maisie Dobbs, and I enjoyed getting back into her world. I need to continue on with her story. ( )
  Romonko | Oct 3, 2023 |
I love the Maisie Dobbs character--very independent. The stories take place between WWI and WWII, and I always learn something interesting. ( )
  ajrenshaw99 | Sep 1, 2023 |
This is the eighth in the Maisie Dobbs series and for me, the last. The years following the Great War was what attracted me to the series and now that the story has reached 1932 the appeal has faded. That could have more to do with the formidable Maisie herself than anything else. Maisie, who has been written as so close to perfection that surely she is beyond human. This effectively demeans the character and the story.

The audio version was narrated by American Orlagh Cassidy who frequently reverts to American pronunciation which, combined with a tortured attempt at a prestigious English accent, is exasperating and partly responsible for my low rating. ( )
  VivienneR | Jul 4, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 100 (next | show all)
The plot of A Lesson in Secrets is not so much suspenseful as intellectually provocative.
Maisie’s current assignment finds her working undercover as a junior lecturer in philosophy at a Cambridge college.... British intelligence suspects that the school’s predominantly foreign student body might be inculcating idealistic British youth with radical ideas imported from Russia. But Maisie, who is prescient in the way heroines tend to be in historical fiction, is more concerned about the impact of National Socialism in Germany. The story isn’t half bad, but Maisie’s sortie into group psychology can’t touch the sensitive work she once did with shell-shocked soldiers.

added by y2pk | editNew York Times, Marilyn Stasio (Mar 25, 2011)

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Winspear, Jacquelineprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davidson, AndrewCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ferguson, ArchieCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees. - Kahlil Gibran
He who gives up the smallest part of a secret has the rest no longer in his power. - Jean Paul Richter
For my brother, John James Winspear, with much love and admiration
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Maisie Dobbs had been aware of the motor car following her for some time.
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Maisie Dobbs' first assignment for the British Secret Service takes her undercover to Cambridge as a professor, and leads to the investigation of a murderous web of activities being conducted by the up-and-coming Nazi party.

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Book description
In the previous novel, changes in Maisie Dobbs' personal life have set her on a new course in her investigations. In the newest book, a bridge is beginning to form between repercussions of the Great War and the yet unknown second World War, while Maisie is asked by the British secret service to take a position as philosophy teacher at a new university in Cambridge which preaches a philosophy of peace, to investigate whether any activities taking place there are subversive to the Crown. The head of the university is a man who wrote a children's book about the war so filled with pacifist leanings that it was banned by the government and was rumored to have caused a mutiny at the front lines. Maisie is not there long before the man is murdered. While Scotland Yard investigates, Maisie continues her own inquiries, and warns the Secret Service about certain of her students with Nazi leanings and the party itself. There is much more for Maisie to learn about the man's life and the secretary who disappears following the death, about the German professor that steps into his place and the wealthy man who funds the school.
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