Maisie Dobbs' new client, Sir Cecil Lawton, made a promise to his dying wife that he would continue to search for their son. Ralph is believed lost in the Great War, but a dozen years later, his mother still believed he was alive somewhere. Sir Cecil's actions indicate to Maisie that she should not search too hard, but the psychologist and private investigator takes all her cases seriously. Her search leads her to France, where she served as a nurse during the war and saw every imaginable horror. Once there, she's reunited with pal Priscilla Evernden, who asks Maisie to find out where her brother died.

This is the third book in this series, which started at the end of the Great War. Maisie is a remarkable young woman who rose from housemaid to a wealthy family to her present position. Maisie now moves with ease among aristocrats and the working class.

The mystery is secondary to the look into the life and times of the British in the post-war years up to 1930. Winspear has created an appealing and intelligent character and convincingly places the reader in the era about which she writes. (Aug., 352 pp., $23.00)
Reviewed by: 
Lorraine Gelly