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enthralling historical mystery
Pardonable Lies is the third book in the Maisie Dobbs series by British-born American author, Jacqueline Winspear. Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator, uses her unique skills to tease from a thirteen-year-old girl the circumstances of her “uncle’s” death. Avril Jarvis is the prime suspect, but Maisie doubts her guilt, and sends Billy Beale to Avril’s hometown of Taunton to do some investigating. Meanwhile, Lord Julian Compton asks aisie to take on a case for a friend, Sir Cecil Lawton, QC. Maisie’s brief is to confirm that Cecil’s son, Ralph, died in a plane crash in France during the Great War, some 13 years ago. A reunion with her college friend, Priscilla Partridge (nee Evernden) sees Maisie also agreeing to establish the fate of her eldest brother, Peter, ostensibly another Great War casualty. After some initial research into Ralph Lawton’s background in England, Maisie reluctantly travels to France, the scene of her own wartime traumas. Her mentor, Maurice Blanche, insists on accompanying her, a move Maisie finds rather unsettling; she is unsettled, too, by several incidents which lead her to believe her life is in danger. Once again, the narration proceeds at a deliberate pace to cement a plot with several twists. While some details soon become obvious, there are a few intriguing surprises in store for the reader. Maisie’s trust in Maurice is compromised; she is involved in accidents in her beloved MG; poisoned chocolates, missing War Office records, a popular politician, secret passages, a gay men’s club, psychics and a secret diary all feature. As always, Winspear creates a 1930’s world that feels authentic, including rumblings about Nazi Germany. She continues to fill out the background of her regular characters in this enthralling historical mystery.
Carolyn Y. Goldfarb
An intrepid heroine gains a reader
This is my second Maisie Dobbs read and although longer in length than the first one I read (A Lesson in Secrets), I enjoyed it even more because of the inclusion of another country (France) and forays into the personal history of the heroine. In Pardonable Lies, Maisie faces personal crises while solidly investigating and solving 2-3 cases at once. The writer, Jacqueline Winspear, creates a heroine which the reader can grow to care about while admiring the calm, thoughtful manner in which she conducts her inquiries and solves her cases. In this book, Maisie must untangle the fates of two WWI British heroes and save from prosecution a teenage girl whose abusive stepfather is murdered. Overall a fine effort in a series which now has me hooked.
A good plot, but the book is about twice as long as it needs to be. What characters wear is of no interest to the reader. Too many sub plots. It would probably be a very good book if it was condensed by the publishers of Readers Digest Condensed books
I find that I thoroughly enjoy the Maise Dobbs series via audio books! I can't say it's my favorite series, but Winspear has gotten me hooked on following the life of Maise. The suspense isn't all that suspenseful, the mystery not all that mysterious, but I've gone from not particularly liking Maise to garnering respect for her and truly caring about what happens to her. Kudos to Ms. Winspear for creating such a dimensional character.