Wednesday Cover Story: Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series

Time for a bit of a trumpet fanfare as we are now the proud publishers of Jacqueline Winspear and her New York Times bestselling Maisie Dobbs series! We will be publishing The Mapping of Love and Death (the 7th book in the series) in hardback this November, followed by A Lesson in Secrets in March 2012,

Set between the wars, the books feature London psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs and explore the aftermath of World War I – a subject dear to the author’s heart having witnessed her grandfather’s own suffering following his experience in the Somme. With a sleuth called Maisie, you might think you are in for a cosy crime series, but quite the opposite, this backdrop sees the mysteries enfused with poignant and dark undertones.

There are some books which immediately spark ideas for a cover design, but faced with a blank canvas, I would have had no good suggestions for what ‘look’ to go with for this series (lucky I’m not the designer then!). And whilst our fabulous art editor Christina would no doubt have conjured up something marvellous, the fact is, there is no need, because the Americans have simply got it right.

We simply adore the American covers with the fabulous 1930s images by illustrator Andrew Davidson.  The colours are classic and quite ‘serious’ and the images don’t overtly shout ‘mystery novel!’ because these novels are more than that. I like their ambiguity, whilst at the same time they do draw you in…Where is Maisie going in The Mapping of Love and Death? And who is that sillhouetted figure she appears to be looking at in A Lesson of Secrets?

So. It’s definitive. We will be sticking to this look for our releases. (If is ain’t broke, why fix it?)

On another note, Maisie’s office in the novel is quite thrillingly set in Fitzroy square, just a few blocks from the Allison & Busby office, and where I often sit on my lunch break! So now I can while away the time picturing the square in the 1930s and imagining which building Maisie would be coming out of… In fact, is that Fitzroy Square in A Lesson of Secrets? I’ll have to ask Andrew.

Chiara Priorelli, Publicity & Online Marketing Manager

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