In this book Masie is asked by the Secret Service to take a job at Cambridge as a Philosophy professor at a college dedicated to the furthering of peace. Masie is tasked with the job of finding out if the staff or students are part of the Communist party and are engaged in activities that are a threat to the Government.
Maisie is not there more than a day or two before a man is murdered and Scotland Yard is called into investigate. Maisie engages in a delicate dance between investigating subversives for the Secret Service and assisting Scotland Yard (unasked) solve the murder. Maisie turns up a group of students sympathetic to the growing SDP in Germany and warns the Secret Service about their activities. The Secret Service is more concerned with ferreting out Communists than they are Fascists and this creates a certain amount of conflict between Maisie and the SS. At that point my brain switched over to real life and I remembered that it was in just this very period in time that Trinity College in Cambridge was the place that The Cambridge Five met and were recruited by the Soviets and became the most effective espionage agents against the British and American interests in the history of spydom. Using 20/20 hindsight perhaps the SS and Winspear should have expanded Maisies mission to include both groups. But then no one had a clue at the time that that nest of vipers was forming its self so I guess being clueless is appropriate.
This book is not heavy on plot. The main mystery was the murder and the spy hunt merely peripheral it seemed to me. Meantime, back at the ranch (London) another mystery develops and is left to Billy to investigate. I thought that much more could have been done with this mystery but perhaps Winspear thought Maisie had her hands to full already.
But is was a lovely visit into Maisie's world. Winspear is a master at creating an atmosphere that drips with authenticity and her secondary characters new and old are always credible
As abridged versions of books go Coming Home was pretty good except for the awful tinny background music. I think it was meant to set a mood but all it did for me was to set my teeth on edge. I would have happily spent more for an unabridged version as this was the best book Pilcher wrote.
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