Rated of 5
by Carolyn G. (Catskill, New York) Loved the cover art too!
A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear is set in 1932 in England where Miss Maisie Dobbs, intrepid inquirer, is enlisted by the Secret Service and Scotland Yard to go undercover at a Cambridge college founded to promote peace after WW I. The sixth in a series by Ms. Winspear, her current offering compels the reader with an engrossing tale of secrets and lies uncovered as Maisie investigates a murder and other intrigues at the College of St. Francis. Subplots involving Maisie's co-worker and an acquaintance round out a well-told story about Pre-WW II England when Nazi influences are rising.
As a reader unacquainted with Ms. Winspear's earlier work, I found this novel to be engaging and enjoyable. It is an easy read which draws one into the plot with ease and interest. With just enough touches of English society (so much tea drinking!), the novel moves along from early scene setting to tidy finale, when all threads of the story are pulled together. I did feel that the subplots were unnecessary to the plot but did fill out the character of Maisie quite nicely. If you are a fan of English mysteries and appreciate a strong, steady female heroine, this is the novel for you. I plan to go back and ready all of the Maisie Dobbs mysteries which hopefully are as enjoyable as was A Lesson in Secrets.
Rated of 5
by Patricia M. (Davidson, North Carolina) A lesson in Secrets
It took me a long time to get interested in this book. I had read another of Miss Winspear's books and found it quite interesting. This was a tedious read. Too many characters and too much detail. She is a fine writer and I look forward to another book from her.
Rated of 5
by Carolyn L. (Cincinnati, OH) Amazing Maisie
As the world inches its way toward another war and zealot new groups in support of Hitler are on the rise, Maisie is asked by the British Secret Service to help with surveillance at a college in Cambridge that is committed to promoting peace. Not long after her arrival at the college, a murder occurs that puts Maisie at the center of new investigation that has all the twists and turns readers have come to expect and enjoy. Balancing this new assignment with several personal projects and her ongoing relationship with James, fans of Maisie Dobbs will continue to be more than satisfied.
Rated of 5
by Anne G. (Austin, TX) A Lesson in Secrets
I've loved Maisie Dobbs ever since I met her eight novels ago. I think her kind spirit is the perfect foil to the sometimes grizzly crimes she investigates. I love that Billy her assistant isn't perfect and yet she continues to aid him and his family. In fact, it seems to be the imperfections in others that Maisie recognizes and with which she most readily bonds.
In A Lesson in Secrets, Maisie is called away from her home and her job to assist the British Secret Service in Cambridge at a small private college. Setting herself up as a philosophy teacher will allow Maisie to observe the comings and goings and get to know the staff at the college all the while reporting back her findings. Of course the plot thickens when a death occurs on campus and Maisie begins to investigate. Meanwhile back home Billy is holding down the office with the new assistant, Sandra who soon becomes her own mystery.
One of the things I liked most about this novel is the inclusion of the factual history that was concerning Brits of the day. Hilter's influence is rising and clandestine Nazi groups are meeting but should they be of concern to law enforcement officials? I suspect there's more of that to come in future installments.
I think this book will be enjoyed most by those who have followed the series. If one comes into this book first there will be lots of questions raised about Maisie's past and characters who have been important earlier in her life. Besides, if you love Maisie the way I love Maisie you won't want to miss a single episode of her continuing saga.
Rated of 5
by Richard S. (Toledo, Ohio) A Lesson in Secrets
This novel is most of all a story for Anglophiles. Set between two world wars, it includes most of the elements associated with popular perceptions of Great Britain: like titles of nobility; tea, lots of tea; Oxbridge; cockney rhyming slang; rigid class differences; the whole gamut of things Americans associate with the Brits. Nothing could be more British than the protagonist, Maisie Dobbs who is herself a symptom of changing times in England. All of this forms the framework for a carefully structured story about possible espionage and the murder of a famed College dean . There are serious issues and important topics discussed, but the focus is on the remarkable Miss Dobbs and the nation as envisaged by author Jacqueline Winspear. Readers should not expect realism, but should enjoy following Maisie as she leads them through the changing times with a cast of interesting characters.
Rated of 5
by Lori (Wayland, MA) A Lesson in Secrets
I am a huge fan of the Maisie Dobbs series. Winspear writes beautifully about British life post-WWI. The characters are well-developed, and you learn about the trauma the war caused throughout the country. The mysteries are intended to stand alone, but I would highly recommend that they be read in the order written.
This book starts a transition from post-WWI life to pre-WWII, and the on-going characters have the beginnings of major changes in their professional and personal lives. I recommend the book, but thought some of the minor storylines in it detracted from the main story. I look forward to the next in the series.
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