When Catherine Saxon, an American correspondent reporting on the war in Europe, is found murdered in her London digs, news of her death is concealed by British authorities. Serving as a linchpin between Scotland Yard and the Secret Service, Robert MacFarlane pays a visit to Maisie Dobbs, seeking her help. Accompanied by an agent from the US Department of Justice—Mark Scott, the American who helped Maisie escape Hitler’s Munich in 1938—he asks Maisie to work with Scott to uncover the truth about Saxon’s death.
As the Germans unleash the full terror of their blitzkrieg upon the citizens of London, raining death and destruction from the skies, Maisie must balance the demands of solving this dangerous case with her need to protect the young evacuee she has grown to love. Entangled in an investigation linked to the power of wartime propaganda and American political intrigue being played out in Britain, Maisie will face losing her dearest friend—and the possibility that she might be falling in love again.
I’m delighted today to be featuring an extract from The American Agent on booksaremycwtches.
Maisie had just begun to draw back the blackout curtains at her Holland Park flat when the telephone in the sitting room began to ring.
“Blast!” She had a mind to ignore the call, but thought better of it—she had not been able to return to her property in Kent for several days, and as much as she would like nothing more than to sink into a bath filled with hot water, the call might be about Anna—and there were many things to concern her about Anna.
“Good morning,” said Maisie. “Busy night?” The voice was unmistakable. “Robbie MacFarlane, you should know better than to ask, and in that tone—it was a terrible night, and it’s not a bloody joke you know.” Maisie knew her reply was uncharacteristically short, but at that mo- ment she was too tired to deal with Robert MacFarlane.
“My apologies. Yes, you’re right. I heard you were out on more than a few runs to the hospitals last night. I’m sorry.”
Maisie chewed her lip. It wasn’t like MacFarlane to request forgive- ness. She knew him only too well, and if he was rude, it was generally by design, not an error.
“Why are you calling me, Robbie? You’ve let me know you’re keep- ing tabs on me, but I am bone tired and I want to rest my weary head before I try to get some work done today, and then take my ambulance out again.”
“It’s about an American. One of those press people over here on a quest to keep our good friends on the other side of the Atlantic informed about the war. Name of Catherine Saxon. In fact, Miss Cath- erine Angelica Saxon, to give the woman her full moniker.”
“Angelica? ” “No accounting for the Yanks, Maisie.” Maisie rubbed her neck, following the path of an old scar now barely visible, and shivered. “No, it’s just that . . . well, she was with us on the ambulance last night, just for a couple of runs because she had to make her first broadcast—she told us that she had previously only had her reports printed in the newspapers. I can’t remember which papers she’s working for. More than one. Anyway, I was just listen- ing to her on the wireless at Mrs. Partridge’s house—her report was broadcast for the Americans last night. In fact, she told us she was very excited because it was also going out in London this morning, and she hoped she would get to be as popular as Mr. Murrow, who is as well known here as he is over there in America. I’ve heard him a few times myself. Anyway, it’s just that she didn’t strike me as an Angelica, that’s all, even if it’s only a middle name.” Maisie was aware that she was rambling, staving off whatever news MacFarlane had called to convey. She’d wanted to escape war and death if only for the time it took to wallow in a hot bath.
“Well, hold on to your seat, Maisie, because she’s with the angels now.”
“Robbie? What’s happened? Was the poor girl caught in the bomb- ing on her way home? Or were her lodgings hit?” Maisie felt a chill envelop her. She knew the gist of MacFarlane’s response even before he spoke.
“No, lass. She’s been found dead in her rooms at a house on Wel- beck Street this morning. And we can’t lay this one at Hitler’s feet— she was murdered. Twenty-six years of age and someone saw fit to slit her throat.”
You can purchase the book from Amazon
About the author
Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestselling Maisie Dobbs series, which includes In This Grave Hour, Journey to Munich, A Dangerous Place, Leaving Everything Most Loved, Elegy for Eddie, and eight other novels. Her standalone novel, The Care and Management of Lies, was also a New York Times bestseller and a Dayton Literary Peace Prize finalist. Originally from the United Kingdom, she now lives in California.