Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Pardonable Lies

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Pardonable Lies

by Jacqueline Winspear

Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2005, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2006, 368 pages

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The Series so far
Maisie Dobbs
(2003)
Birds of a Feather (2004)
Pardonable Lies (2005)
Messenger of Truth (Aug 2006)

The year is 1930 and it's been more than a year since Maisie Dobbs first hung up her shingle as a private investigator  She is a perceptive observer of human nature and, most important for her line of work, she is able to move smoothly between the classes - a useful skill  in the still highly class-stratified England of the inter-war period.  Her ability in this area is due to the fact that she was born in Lambeth, a then poor part of London and went into service at the age of 14. However, it wasn't long before her employer, and soon to be benefactor, Lady Rowan, recognized that her new maid was a very bright girl and arranged for her to be tutored.  Four years later she won a place to Girton College, Cambridge.  However, after only a year Maisie, following the call of duty, left to train as a nurse and was soon posted to a casualty clearing station in France where she spent a number of grueling years.  It's been more than a decade since the end of the "war to end all wars" but the impact on Britain and its people is still being felt strongly in every corner of life, not least of which in Maisie's own life.

To discover more about the time period, the character of Maisie Dobbs and what led Winspear to write the series, read her interview at BookBrowse.

This article was originally published in August 2005, and has been updated for the June 2006 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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