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.
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.
Another installment in this very engaging series about a woman making her own way as a detective between the Wars in England. Whether the existence of such a female professional is really an anachronism or not, a huge number of "surplus" women after the "Great War" really did exist. I admire the way the author, Jacqueline Winspear, conveys so many social ramifications of the war. The novels are more interesting than sad, though.
This series makes WWI and its aftermath very real to the modern reader. In this episode, Maisie searches for a missing man, presumed dead, and finds a link to her friend Priscilla's favorite brother, who also died in the war.
MP G. (philomene) - CT: Pardonnable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear
I just finished this wonderful third installmebt in the Maisie Dobbs series. Maisi, Psychologist and Investigator, tackles two cases in which she is asked to search for a soldier missing since the Great War, She succeeds admirably, but not before confronting her own terrifying memories of her service there and barely eluding the efforts of someone bent on killing her. It's a very satisfying and interesting read. I can't wait to read her next book, which is already on it's way to me from PBS.
I think that if the same storylines as are contained in the "Maisie Dobbs" series involved a different protagonist, I would be praising this series to the skies. As it is, I can only with reservations recommend "Pardonable Lies."
Reading about the aftermath of WWI and how it affected its veterans, nurses and civilians even 12 years after the war ended is very interesting and involving. So much fiction has been written about WWII that WWI has become the red-headed stepchild of world wars and it is commendable that the author helps keep the memories of WWI and its veterans alive. Another integral part of the series is the description of the lives of domestic servants and the class structure that to me as a 21st Century American are so foreign. The mysteries Maisie is hired to solve, particularly in novels nos. 2 and 3, are engrosing and keep you (or at least me) guessing to the end.
The thing that almost ruins these books for me is the character of Maisie. I find myself rolling my eyes very often at the way the author portrays Maisie. She is obviously very much in love with her creation, and so is every other character in the book! So often characters (and the third-person narrator) describe Maisie as "brave" or "special" that it becomes a bit heavy handed. Show us, don't tell us! Maisie comes off to me as a know-it-all egotist and is condescending to her employee, father, servants, and anyone else who she feels doesn't have her level of intelligence. Speaking of intelligence, Maisie seems to have an almost supernatural or psychic ability. I don't know if this is how the author intended to portray the character, but in all three books many connections are made by "a tingling feeling in the back of Maisie's neck" (paraphrasing), and then suddenly Maisie makes this great cognitive leap, or looks up and another clue is found! It is just too ham-fisted to be believable.
So you may ask, why have you read three of the books if you have all these criticisms? Well, honestly, I don't know. I guess in spite of all of my complaints, these are good books. And I live in hope that Maisie will continue on her fascinating adventures but that the author will get over her girl-crush on her own creation and give me a sympathetic character I can root for!
Maisie Dobbs is one of my favorite fictional characters. She's bright, independent and works hard at whatever she does. This story has four investigations for the brilliant Miss Dobbs. She is asked to find a man's son who vanished during the war, discover where her best friend's brother died, help a girl who is accused of murder and find out who is trying to kill Maisie herself. I admire the author for weaving four wonderful threads into a novel. So skillfully done, it's not surprising that Maisie becomes ill. She is stretched so thin. I couldn't help wondering if the author, too, found herself stretched as far!
Maisie discovers some interesting facts about the two missing soldiers which the reader will have to discover for himself. In addition, she helps the young girl who can't remember what happened when her "uncle" was murdered. She survives numerous attempts on her life as she tries to unravel who and why she has been targeted. This is one of the best books in this series. I loved it.
This is the third in the Maisie Dobbs series and they just keep getting better. In this book Maisie, psychologist and private detective, is asked to find out if Agnes Lawton's aviator son was killed in World War I and is soon caught in an underworld of mediums and closely held spy stories best left unraveled. The portraits of post WWI England and France painted by the author have won her the Agatha, Alex and Alexander Historical Myster Awards.
In the third novel of Maisie Dobbs, a deathbed plea from his wife leads Sir Cecil Lawton, KC, to seek the aid of Maisie Dobbs. As Maisie soon learns, Agnes Lawton never accepted that her aviator son was killed in the Great War. Determined to prove Ralph Lawton either dead or alive, Maisie is plunged into a case that tests her spiritual strength, as well as her regard for her mentor, Maurice Blanche. The mission will bring her to France and reunite her with her old friend Priscilla Evernden, who lost three brothers in the war, one of whom has an intriguing connection to the case.