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A Sunlit Weapon

A Sunlit Weapon By Jacqueline Winspear Summary

A Sunlit Weapon: A Novel, In the latest installment of the New York Times bestselling series, a series of possible attacks on British pilots leads Jacqueline Winspear’s beloved heroine Maisie Dobbs into a mystery involving First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

 October 1942. Jo Hardy, a 22-year-old ferry pilot, is delivering a Supermarine Spitfire—the fastest fighter aircraft in the world—to Biggin Hill Aerodrome, when she realizes someone is shooting at her aircraft from the ground. Returning to the location on foot, she finds an American serviceman in a barn, bound and gagged. She rescues the man, who is handed over to the American military police; it quickly emerges that he is considered a suspect in the disappearance of a fellow soldier who is missing. 

 Tragedy strikes two days later, when another ferry pilot crashes in the same area where Jo’s plane was attacked. At the suggestion of one of her colleagues, Jo seeks the help of psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs.  

Meanwhile, Maisie’s husband, a high-ranking political attaché based at the American embassy, is in the thick of ensuring security is tight for the first lady of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt, during her visit to the Britain. There’s already evidence that German agents have been circling: the wife of a president represents a high value target. Mrs. Roosevelt is clearly in danger, and there may well be a direct connection to the death of the woman ferry pilot and the recent activities of two American servicemen.

 To guarantee the safety of the First Lady—and of the soldier being held in police custody—Maisie must uncover that connection. At the same time, she faces difficulties of an entirely different nature with her young daughter, Anna, who is experiencing wartime struggles of her own. 

About the Author

Jacqueline Winspear is the creator of the New York Times and National Bestselling series featuring psychologist and investigator, Maisie Dobbs. Her first novel – Maisie Dobbs – received numerous awards nominations, including the Edgar Award for Best Novel and the Agatha Award for Best First Novel.

It was a New York Times Notable Book and a Publisher’s Weekly Top Ten Pick.“ Jacqueline’s “standalone” novel set in WW1, The Care and Management of Lies, was a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in 2015. In 2019 The American Agent, her 16th novel, was published, along with a non-fiction book based upon the Maisie Dobbs’ series, What Would Maisie Do? Originally from the UK, Jacqueline now lives in northern California.

A Sunlit Weapon By Jacqueline Winspear Introduction

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

“So, what happened to the poor man after you handed him over?”

The young woman, First Officer Erica Langley, was wearing the navy-blue-and-gold uniform of the Air Transport Auxiliary, as were her three companions. They were awaiting their instruction chits for the day, surrounded by their fellow service pilots chatting in clusters. Some might be flying three or four different aircraft, one after the other, from a bomber to a fighter or a training aircraft, perhaps direct from the factory, or returning the aeroplane to an engineering unit for repair.

Jo Hardy sipped from her mug of hot, strong tea and winced. “Ugh.” She shuddered before continuing her story.

“Well, the MPs at Biggin Hill got onto the Yanks, and that was it—it wasn’t long before a Jeep came whizzing along and picked him up.”

He’ll be lucky to get away with his life, make no mistake,” said Elaine Otterburn, a Canadian aviatrix who had ferried a bomber into Britain, another workhorse for the RAF. Otterburn and her copilot had flown via Gander in Newfoundland and Shannon in Ireland.

Jo and the two British pilots looked across at the Canadian, who had an air of assured maturity, and was known to harbor a certain disregard for the rules. They all knew Elaine Otterburn, who would remain in Britain until she and her Canadian copilot had orders to join a return flight across the Atlantic because there was another bomber to fly to Britain following manufacture at a Canadian factory.

The aviatrices were a little in awe of Otterburn, not least because she was an excellent pilot, well versed in what they called “airmanship.” Not everyone would want to bring a bomber across the Atlantic, or put up with the indignity of having to wear—of all things—a nappy! Elaine had once suggested that it was all very well having a bomb bay, but why hadn’t some bright spark aircraft engineer thought of a john?

What do you mean?” asked Jo, taking up the conversation. “We know the Yanks have an attitude toward the colors mixing, but surely—”

They still go in for lynching, down there in America,” said Otterburn. “Didn’t you know the Americans asked Churchill to institute segregation in Britain before they sent over troops? Old Winnie isn’t without his prejudices—we all know that—but there’s regiments from across the bloody Empire here, to say nothing of civilians, so how could the old boy have agreed to dividing the country by color?” She shook her head and drew from a cigarette.

Bloody stupid, if you ask me. All the same, remember this—what the Yanks do on their bases is their business. It’s pretty much seen as US soil on British land.”

Blimey,” said Diana. “So the man Jo found in that barn will get sent back to the USA? He said his pal might be dead, yet as far as we know, no one has found a body.”

As far as we know,” said Jo. “That pretty much sums it up. But let’s face it, no one’s going to let us in on the outcome just because we found the soldier.” She looked at the clock and came to her feet. “Better not drink any more of this, otherwise I’ll be the one needing a nappy for a short run across England!” She set her mug on the table and turned to the Canadian.

Elaine, I’m fairly determined to find out what happened to that man, not only because I’m pretty sure I saved his life—you should have seen the state he was in when I found him—but I saw his fear too. And remember why I was lurking around that barn in the first place—a man on the ground outside the barn had taken a potshot at my Spit, and at the time I was low enough for it to cause a bit of damage. Not that I can admit my fun and games, because I shouldn’t have been skylarking around in the first place.

“We’ve all done it,” said Erica Langley.

Jo, don’t be stupid—this is a job for the police,” said Diana. “Just let them look into it. Drop the whole thing.”

“Dizzy, my problem is that having looked into his eyes, I don’t think I can just drop the whole thing. I felt awful for that poor soldier. I’ve thought about going back to the barn and poking around a bit more; see if I can find anything to support his story. Perhaps even talk to the farmer.

I heard from Gillian, who took a Spit to Biggin Hill yesterday, that the word over there is that some American military police had a look around the barn, and it was decided the man—his name is Private Matthias Crittenden—could have done everything himself. Apparently, there’s a sort of knot that goes from loose to tight with just the flick of a wrist. If you’ve got everything else in place, it’s the last thing you do if you want it to look as if someone else tied you up.

Magicians do it all the time, apparently. Frankly, he didn’t look the sort to have a go at something like that, and with that cotton shoved in his mouth, every time he tried to speak it made him choke. Anyway, from what I saw of the military police when they came to collect the soldier from Biggin Hill—they turned up driving one of those upholstered roller skates they call a Jeep as if they were in a chariot—it struck me they might be fast to make a judgment about the missing soldier and who was responsible. But that’s just my opinion.”

I couldn’t believe they asked us if Private Crittenden had attacked us. I mean, the poor man could hardly stay on his feet, let alone get the better of anyone!” Diana shrugged.

Hello—look who’s on her way.” Elaine Otterburn pointed to a woman in uniform making her way toward the mess. The officer seemed tired, circles under her eyes testament to the constant pressure of scheduling ATA pilots to deliver multiple aircraft—and to getting those pilots into position to do their job. “Here come our marching orders,” she added.

“Ladies, it’s a nice day for flying!” exclaimed the officer as she crossed the room, handing out the chits informing each pilot of their instructions for the hours ahead.

Righty-o, First Officers Otterburn and Hardy, here you go. You’re taking a couple of Hurricanes to Hawkinge—the Anson air taxi is outside now to fly you over to collect them from maintenance, so jump to it because the pilot wants to get in the air and back here again for another lot. Marshall, lovely job for you—a Wellington to Hendon and a rare chance to impress the lads on the ground—the Anson taking you is coming up behind number fifteen hundred. And last but never least, Langley, it’s your lucky day—a Spit from the factory to Biggin Hill.

There’s a motor car ready to take you over to Trowbridge to pick up your kite—you’ll probably be back before anyone else, but remember, no trying to see just how fast you can take her, no victory rolls, and don’t go under that bloody bridge, whatever you do. Make sure you bring her in for a nice, smooth landing, and don’t show us all up in front of the RAF.”

“Ha! I’ve got the winning ticket, ladies!” said Erica, slipping the chit into the pocket of her Sidcot suit. “Nice day for flying indeed.”

Billy, sit down, please. You’re only getting yourself into a lather.” Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator, looked across the room toward her assistant, Billy Beale, who was pacing in front of the floor-to-ceiling window looking out over Fitzroy Square.

“I know MacFarlane said he would be here by half past ten, and he’s rarely late, but perhaps he’s just been held up.” She glanced sideways at her secretary, Sandra, who shook her head. Maisie nodded and pressed on, taking a deep breath to remain settled on behalf of the less than calm Billy Beale. “Well, until he gets here, I’m going to my desk to clear a few things that came in from last week.”

Billy Beale said nothing as he continued pacing, pausing only to stare out the window toward the square. His features were drawn, his once wheaten-blond hair now gray. His jacket seemed to hang on a frame that had always been slender, but now revealed a weight loss that could only have come from one quarter—a profound state of worry.

Sandra raised an eyebrow. “Here you are, miss—the ledger from last month. There’s a couple of overdue bills in there. I think I should send a second letter.”

Right you are, Sandra,” said Maisie. “I’ll have a quick look first, just to make sure we’re not nagging people who have lost their homes, or who are grieving.”

“He’s here!” Billy shouted, turning from the window and all but sprinting to the door.


“Miss, I’ve got to go down and let him in.”

“I know . . . but I want you to remember this, Billy—although Robbie MacFarlane has a lot of information at his fingertips, he doesn’t know everything, and anything he knows is always subject to an element of doubt.”

Maisie saw Billy’s face crease as he left the room, his footfall heavy while descending the staircase to the building entrance, ready to let in the man who might give his family hope, who might tell him his son—the soldier they still called “young Billy”—was alive.

“I hate to say it, but not having any news at all is worse than getting a telegram with bad news,” said Sandra, placing a sheet of paper in her typewriter. “Billy’s limp is more evident than it’s been in a long while, and I’m amazed Mrs. Beale is holding up, especially with the other one an engineer on bombers.”

Maisie nodded, moving closer to Sandra’s desk. She kept her voice low. “Doreen’s had a lot on her plate over the years, and though I feared for her when news of the fall of Singapore came through, I have seen her resolve become stronger—plus she has Margaret Rose to consider. Billy’s love of his family will keep him on his feet. And so will we.” She looked up, turning to greet their guest as he appeared in the doorway.

Maisie—good morning.” Robert MacFarlane held out his hand to Maisie, the slight shake of his head signaling a warning. He nodded toward Sandra, who had come to her feet.

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A Sunlit Weapon

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Product details:

EditionInternational Edition
ISBN0063142260, 978-0063142268
Posted onMarch 22, 2022
Page Count368 pages
AuthorJacqueline Winspear

A Sunlit Weapon By Jacqueline Winspear PDF Free Download - Epicpdf

A Sunlit Weapon: A Novel, In the latest installment of the New York Times bestselling series, a series of possible attacks on British pilots leads Jacqueline Winspear's beloved heroine Maisie Dobbs into a mystery involving First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

URL: https://amzn.to/3L5e9Yd

Author: Jacqueline Winspear

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