Freddie looked up and saw a scar move. No. Two scars moved, one on each side of his face, and there was another little one under his eye too, or was that the way the lamp flickered, making a bit of skin seem extra white? Freddie didn’t like scars – they frightened him. But were they scars, or was it just the man’s face? It didn’t matter, because right now this bloke scared him something rotten, even though he was smiling. Freddie was as frightened as he had been in that doorway, because he could have sworn on his grandmother’s grave that this was the very same man he’d just seen murder another bloke. He was standing right there, in front of him – a killer.
ABOUT THE AUTHOREXTRACT
- Publisher: Allison & Busby
- Available in ebook, audio, hardback (23 March 2021)
- 352 pages
‘I don’t want the air raid patrol round here because someone’s seen a light coming from my house,’ said the man.
‘You’re a brave boy, running through all that. Which way did you come?’
Freddie Hackett, a message runner for a government office, witnesses an argument that ends in murder. Hiding in the doorway of a bombed-out house, Freddie waits until the coast is clear. But when he arrives at his next delivery address, he’s shocked to come face-to-face with the killer.
It took another ten minutes to find the address, a row of houses still standing in a street that had otherwise been razed to the ground. He looked up at the Victorian terrace house and reached for the door knocker – but the door opened without him even touching the brass ring. A man holding an oil lamp put his hand on Freddie’s shoulder and pulled him in.
Dismissed by the police when reporting the crime, Freddie turns to private investigator Maisie Dobbs. While Maisie believes the boy and wants to help, she must exercise caution given her work with the French resistance. When she spots the killer in a place she least expects, she soon realises she’s been pulled into the orbit of a man who has his own reasons to kill reasons that go back to the last war.
With thanks to Christina of Allison & Busby for the tour invite. You can read a previous extract by heading over to see my co-host Janet on her blog (From First Page to Last)
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.
London, September 1941. He jumped up and down to get his legs moving, as if he were letting a motor car idle in neutral so the oil could get around the engine before putting it into gear, and then he started running again, making sure to look the other way as he passed the body of a man he’d seen murdered while bombs fell across London, probably killing a few hundred more when they landed. Or a few thousand.