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Publisher's Summary

Maisie Dobbs - "a female investigator every bit as brainy and battle-hardened as Lisbeth Salander" (Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh Air), faces danger and intrigue on the home front during World War II in this poignant entry (number 14) in Jacqueline Winspear's New York Times best-selling series - "a series that seems to get better with every entry" (Tom Holland, Wall Street Journal). 

Spring 1940. With Britons facing what has become known as "the Bore War" - nothing much seems to have happened yet - Maisie Dobbs is asked to investigate the disappearance of a local lad, a young apprentice craftsman working on a "hush-hush" government contract. As Maisie's inquiry reveals a possible link to the London underworld, another mother is worried about a missing son - but this time the boy in question is one beloved by Maisie.

As USA Today's Robert Bianco says, "with clarity and economy, Winspear lays the historical groundwork.... The setting matters, but what may matter more is the lovely, sometimes poetic way Winspear pushes her heroine forward.... May she shine on the literary scene for many books to come."

©2018 Jacqueline Winspear (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

  "[Narrator Orlagh] Cassidy's accent, tone, and pace are well tuned to Maisie's strong and empathetic character. Cassidy draws on her full palate of British accents to differentiate a large cast of secondary characters, male and female, old and young." (AudioFile)  

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • carina
  • OREGON CITY, OR, United States
  • 05-11-18

Maisie, Billy, and All Return. Yes!

It's like old friends we haven't heard from for a while return. I've followed Maisie through all of Jaqueline Winspear's books. This one doesn't disappoint. One of Pricilla's sons becomes a hero, but at a very high price. Billy's oldest son survives Dunkirk, but must return to the fight. WWII is underway with all the sacrifices for the characters we love. Maisie's work continues as she waits for a decision that is already changing how she works. This suggests there's another book, a continuation of Maisie to come. I hope it won't be too long. I love these tales because it's like the characters are real people I know.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 05-06-18

A Great Story

I have thoroughly enjoyed this series. This is book fourteen in the Maisie Dobbs series. Maisie was a nurse in World War One; then trained to be a psychologist/investigator after the war. The story opens in May 1940. Great Britain is again at war with Germany. Maisie has been hired to investigate the disappearance of a fifteen-year-old boy, Joseph Combes. He is an apprentice painter working for a company that has a government contract to go about the countryside to paint a special fire-retardant chemical on strategic government and military buildings.

The book is well written and researched. The author has the story set with a background of Dunkirk and the battle of Britain. This is a great historical novel. The plot twist and turns around family drama. I have read that Winspear bases a lot of the plot on her own family’s experiences. If you enjoy historical novels this book would provide you great enjoyment.

I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is ten and a half hours. Orlagh Cassidy does a superb job narrating the book. Cassidy is one of my favorite narrators. Cassidy is an actress, voice over artist and award-winning audiobook narrator.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 03-28-18

Excellent British historical detective mystery!

Author Jacqueline Windspear began her wonderful Maisie Dobbs historical detective series in 2003. The first novel was set in London soon after the end of WWI with Maisie setting up her detective agency. Maisie's life has changed a lot since including personal tragedy. To Die buy Once is Book 14 in the series and it is set in 1940 early in WWII. Every novel has been great, even the painful ones. This one is no exception. If you are looking for a similar series Molly Morphy by Rhys Bowen is similar in many ways. Rhys Bowen's Royal Spyness series is also somewhat similar but is much lighter and more fun than Maisie Dobbs.

I'm a huge fan of narrator and American actress Orlagh Cassidy, but her narration of To Die but Once is disappointing because her English accent is off.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Listen to this book!!!

I am a big fan of Maisy Dobbs and have been reading about her for a while. I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy listening to a book about her, though. But I decided to give it a try, and I'm glad I did!! It was a great experience in every way. The narrator made me feel like I was there, and she played all the voices just right, with different tones and inflections. I especially enjoyed Robert McFarland' voice. The storyline was fantastic, and the characterization was rich. I learned more about each person. The reoccurring characters have grown in this book. I found the book's premise to be very interesting and could see how something like this could happen. And I loved the World War II background. This was a wonderful book!,,

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Not the best Maisie Dobbs

This book started out at a good pace but then slowed. Really didn't care much about the characters and took forever to finish because I didn't really care. The story is good, but not as good as others in the series. I fell asleep listening and didn't always bother to back track to see what I had missed by the time I was half way into the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Still Wonderful After All These Years

It's been wonderful going through life with Maisie. Now she is living in the cusp of World War II in England. I love all the details of the times and the relationships in Maisie's life. Wonderful mystery without all the gore and sex.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding again!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, I have recommended the series before to several friends and this one is no exception. While I wish the books would come faster, I appreciate the craft and skill involved.

What did you like best about this story?

I love Maisie's perspicacity. I love how she uses her patience and tenacity to perceive things that many would miss. The other part that I liked is something I hesitate to say lest I give away too much!

What does Orlagh Cassidy bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Ms. Cassidy *is* Maisie Dobbs for me. There is a gentleness in her voice which matches the character beautifully. Each character is distinct and I appreciate that the male characters are performed in a way that I don't notice. They sound masculine, not like a woman trying to sound like a man.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Absolutely.

Any additional comments?

I cannot wait for the next one!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

To Die but Once

I love this series! Masie and her crew seem like old friends and Ms Winspear captures the mood of England perfectly. I have a strong sense of being part of the scene - both city and countryside. Maxie's divergent thought process is fun to watch develop. All in all a marvelous book!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Bravo to both author and narrator!

I think the best Maisie Dobbs novel yet. Some sections had me moved to tears. Engrossing story line and as with the prior novels, paints a vivid picture of the time. Each character has become so real and dear to me!

Orlagh Cassidy is an incredibly talented narrator, bringing to life every character, women, men, children, different accents, with great skill. It is truly hard to believe that this was all done by one person!
I am already in withdrawal, with no more novels left in the series. Praying that Maisie Dobbs will come back! Please!!

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Never disappoints.

I love the characters and their grow with each continuing book. I can't wait for the next in the series.