Pardonable Lies in the 3rd entry in the Maisie Dobbs series and again the author creates an atmospheric novel, set in the times between the two world wars.
Maisie Dobbs is an investigator/psychologist who is asked to look into 3 cases, a young girl accused of murdering her stepfather, a man who wishes to know for certain his son died in the Great War and her close friend Priscilla Partridge asks her to locate where her brother Peter died during his time in service. Slowly the three cases become entwined and Maisie must face her own memories of the war. With her life at risk her admiration and friendship with her mentor Maurice Blanche is put to an extreme test and her faith is badly shaken.
Winspear really knows how to evoke an era of class structure, a nation still in recovery from the destruction inflicted by a World War, of people and families destroyed, damaged and haunted by the conflict. The characters, particularly Maisie are so well developed; there are so many shades of gray nobody is all good or all evil. Some lies are pardonable when there is a no win situation. The writing is very well done and the mysteries are complex and brought to satisfying conclusions. I did have a problem with the solution to the last mystery, it seemed a little Nancy Drew like, but that is my sole complaint in a gem of an addition to a wonderful series.
I'm really blown away by Jacqueline Winspear's writing. It is not by chance that her books have been nominated for and won so many awards. I am reading her books in sequence so this is #3 for me. I simply love how she weaves her story lines and the fact that her characters are not black nor white -- but truly complex. And learning about WWI is an added bonus because before reading her 3 novels, I really didn't know much about it at all other than millions of soldiers lost their lives. It's so nice to read a book that is not full of blood, guts, sex and terror. I am truly enjoying this series.