An Incomplete Revenge (Maisie Dobbs Series #5) [NOOK Book]

Overview


In her fifth outing, Maisie Dobbs, the extraordinary Psychologist and Investigator, delves into a strange series of crimes in a small rural community

With the country in the grip of economic malaise, and worried about her business, Maisie Dobbs is relieved to accept an apparently straightforward assignment from an old friend to investigate certain matters concerning a potential land purchase. Her inquiries take her to a picturesque village in...
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An Incomplete Revenge (Maisie Dobbs Series #5)

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Overview


In her fifth outing, Maisie Dobbs, the extraordinary Psychologist and Investigator, delves into a strange series of crimes in a small rural community

With the country in the grip of economic malaise, and worried about her business, Maisie Dobbs is relieved to accept an apparently straightforward assignment from an old friend to investigate certain matters concerning a potential land purchase. Her inquiries take her to a picturesque village in Kent during the hop-picking season, but beneath its pastoral surface she finds evidence that something is amiss. Mysterious fires erupt in the village with alarming regularity, and a series of petty crimes suggests a darker criminal element at work. As Maisie discovers, the villagers are bitterly prejudiced against outsiders who flock to Kent at harvest time--even more troubling, they seem possessed by the legacy of a wartime Zeppelin raid. Maisie grows increasingly suspicious of a peculiar secrecy that shrouds the village, and ultimately she must draw on all her finely honed skills of detection to solve one of her most intriguing cases.

Rich with Jacqueline Winspear's trademark period detail, this latest installment of the bestselling series is gripping, atmospheric, and utterly enthralling.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Maisie Dobbs travels to Kent to investigate, among other things, a series of fires, a family of Dutch bakers who were killed during WWI in a zeppelin attack and the theft of some silver. Hop-picking has brought everyone to the area, from Londoners to Gypsies. Orlagh Cassidy, who also read Messenger of Truth, not only captures a range of London and Kentish accents, but she also individualizes even the most minor characters. The lilt of a Danish luthier is perfect, and the dozen or so villagers interviewed by Dobbs have their own rhythms of speech and tone. Cassidy's rendition of Roma words comes across as authentic. This engrossing mystery will be hard to put down, and the listener will be sad when the final, lively strains of a fiddle are heard. Simultaneous release with the Holt hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 26). (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Revenge is a dish served incompletely in Winspear's fifth Maisie Dobbs novel (after Messenger of Truth). This time, Maisie is employed by James Compton to investigate a number of strange fires that break out in a Kent village around harvest time each year when the community is bustling with locals, Londoners, and Gypsies. Compton's company is interested in buying the local brickwork manufacturer, but he wants to make certain the purchase won't cause any ill effects to his company. Maisie soon senses that the villagers know more than they will say about the mysterious fires. They also won't talk about the Martin family killed in a zeppelin air raid during the Great War. Will Maisie discover the truth before revenge and guilt destroy the village? Winspear paints a historical cozy featuring intriguing characters and surprising twists. Maisie is absolutely compelling not only as an investigator but also as a psychologist while she probes the hearts and minds of those she meets. Highly recommended for all mystery and popular fiction collections.

—Susan O. Moritz
From the Publisher
"Jacqueline Winspear's An Incomplete Revenge is an excellent option for a long car trip involving older kids, parents and grandparents.  Read with zest by Orlagh Cassidy..." - USA Today

 

"Jacqueline Winspear adds a fascinating episode to the Maisie Dobbs series, which justly gains fans with each new story. Orlagh Cassidy began the audio series with PARDONABLE LIES and continues her appealing portraits of the characters. She smoothly, and quite elegantly, delivers a variety of accents of the Kent countryside gentry and townsfolk...Cassidy nicely conveys Maisie's honest wisdom, sensible approach to her "inquiries," and spirited manners. The details of village life, a community of Gypsies, and the shifts in attitudes of the late 1920s make a vivid audio mystery." - AudioFile, Earphones Award Winner

 

"This series is outstanding in atmosphere, characters, dialogue, sense of place and time; and Cassidy's narration is nothing short of equally outstanding, as she demonstrates her facile skills with the many accents, tones, and emotions Winspear demands of her. One of the best mystery series around." -KLIATT

 

"The mysteries are tantalizingly uncovered by Masie's gifts of observation and intelligence.  An Incomplete Revenge is one of the best mysteries of 2008...Orlagh Cassidy is pitch perfect in her reading..." - Deadly Pleasures

 

“Orlagh Cassidy unveils Maisie’s character with a narration that makes a perfect composition of the text. Emotional tones convey post-war hopelessness and the painful division of the classes, adding to the mystery’s tension.” —AudioFile magazine on Messenger of Truth

 

"Cassidy's perceptive reading reflects the jargon and British dialects of a wide mix of social classes." - Booklist

The Barnes & Noble Review
Maisie Dobbs, Jacqueline Winspear's amateur sleuth who has been dented and damaged by World War I shell shock, has a lot on her hands in her fifth outing, An Incomplete Revenge. There's the case at hand: James Compton, son of her former employers, asks her to investigate "some funny business" surrounding an estate he's planning to buy in Kent. Toss in arson, petty theft, the death of a close friend, and lingering ghosts from the War to End All Wars, and you've got enough to make even the most stout-hearted Sherlock weak-kneed. But Maisie's heart is nothing if not stout, and she handles every setback with pluck and cool-headedness. The local villagers, still bitter over a wartime Zeppelin attack on their town, remain close-mouthed and suspicious of outsiders prying into the past, but Maisie continues her investigation, cutting through "the layers of truth and the web of lies that held a story together." While Winspear's writing has its faults -- a distracting need to give a head-to-toe description of each character's appearance and apparel, trite dialogue, and an overall lack of subtlety -- the Maisie Dobbs mysteries have an undeniable appeal. Much of this stems from Maisie's character: cool and enigmatic on the surface, she is like a porcelain vase that has been shattered and glued back together. In An Incomplete Revenge, she must face not only her own past but also the wounded spirit of Britain, which is still recovering from combat two decades after the Armistice. The crimes at the Kent estate nearly recede into the background as Maisie discovers the case is really one about national healing and reconciliation. --David Abrams
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429924641
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/2010
  • Series: Maisie Dobbs Series , #5
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 28,310
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Jacqueline Winspear

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of four previous Maisie Dobbs novels, Maisie Dobbs, Birds of a Feather, Pardonable Lies, and Messenger of Truth. Maisie Dobbs won the Agatha, Alex, and Macavity awards; Birds of a Feather won the Agatha Award; and Pardonable Lies won the Sue Feder/Macavity Award for Best Historical Mystery. Originally from the U.K., Winspear now lives in California.

Biography

Lovers of British mysteries and historical novels will find something to appreciate in Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs books. Maisie, a housemaid-turned-student-turned-nurse-turned private investigator in early 20th-century London, manages to straddle Britain's class system by being a woman of exceptional "bearing" and intellect who happens to come from working-class stock. As an investigator, she's green, but sharp and ambitious. She's also surrounded by vividly sketched secondary players, such as her benefactor, Lady Rowan, and mentor Maurice Blanche.

In Winspear's first Maisie story, we learn the character's background: Forced by family circumstances to go to work as a housemaid at an early age, Maisie Dobbs' curiosity and intellect are noticed by her employer, Lady Rowan. Rowan takes care of her education, and she makes it to university – but the Great War interrupts her ambitions. She serves as a nurse in France, then returns to England and starts her career as a private investigator in 1929. Her first case seems like a simple investigation into infidelity; it grows into something larger when it leads realizes there's something amiss at a convalescent home for war veterans called The Retreat.

Winspear's talent didn't go unnoticed when her first novel was published in July 2003. Maisie Dobbs was named in "best" lists in both the New York Times and Publishers Weekly. It was also nominated in the best novel category for an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America. There was an almost palpable sense of relief in the reviews, pleasant surprise that someone had offered not only a solid addition to the historical mystery genre, but had given it further depth and breadth. As an NPR reviewer put it, "[The book's] intelligent eccentricity offers relief."

Telling Maisie's stories using a warm third-person narrator, Winspear charms with her ability to convey the historical context surrounding her characters, particularly regarding the impact of the Great War. For this reason, and because her mysteries steer clear of graphic violence or sex, her books are often recommended for younger readers also. Far from hardboiled, Winspear's characters are very human, and she delivers a little romance and heartache along with the criminal wrongdoing.

Part of the appeal in Winspear's books also lies in her ability to bring a deeper, more philosophical atmosphere to the proceedings. Maisie is trained in Freudian psychology and is as interested in helping as she is in solving. A case referenced in the second Maisie story, Birds of a Feather, for example, "would not be filed away until those whose lives were touched by her investigation had reached a certain peace with her findings, with themselves, and with one another." Reading Winspear's Dobbs series may not bring inner peace, but there is something relaxing about spending time with her appealing characters.

Good To Know

Winspear also works as a creative coach. She writes on her web site, "As a coach I am engaged by those who want to establish clear intentions for their artistic endeavors, to support and encourage so that they sustain a level of energy and empowerment which is demonstrated in work that is rewarding, inspiring -- and finished!" Winspear also writes about international education.

Winspear loves outdoor pursuits such as horseback riding, hiking, sailing, and mountain biking; she's also an avid traveler, according to her web site bio.

In our interview, Winspear shared some fun facts about herself:

"My first ever job after college was as a flight attendant. I wanted to travel and could not afford it, so I decided to get myself a job where I could travel. I did it for two years and had great fun."

"My worst-ever job was in an egg-packing factory when I was 16."

"I love dogs, horses and generally all animals. I will always stop to check on stray dogs -- I once ended up in the emergency room with a tick embedded in me which had jumped off a dog I had rescued from a busy road. It was a deer tick, which carries Lyme Disease, so I wasn't taking any chances. Funnily enough, when I opened the only magazine in the emergency room, it was to a page carrying an article on tick bites and disease. It stated that you have six hours after the tick embeds itself, before it begins to release the bacteria that cause disease. I counted the hours from rescuing the dog, and by the time the doctor came in I was pleading, ‘Get this thing out of me!!!'"

"My favorite way to unwind is to go for a walk with my husband and the dog at the end of the working day, then we go to our local health club for a swim and to sit by the pool and read for a while. I love time with family and friends, but completely relish time on my own when I have no agenda to follow, no to-do's, just me and time alone."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Jackie Winspear
    2. Hometown:
      Ojai, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 30, 1955
    2. Place of Birth:
      Weald of Kent, England
    1. Education:
      The University of London’s Institute of Education
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt


PROLOGUE

Early September 1931

The old woman rested on the steps of her home, a caravan set apart from those of the rest of her family, her tribe. She pulled a clay pipe from her pocket, inspected the dregs of tobacco in the small barrel, shrugged, and struck a match against the rim of a water butt tied to the side of her traveling home. She lit the pipe with ease, clamping her ridged lips around the end of the long stem to draw vigor from the almost-spent contents. A lurcher lay at the foot of the steps, seeming at first to be asleep, though the old woman knew that one ear was cocked to the wind, one eye open and watching her every move.

Aunt Beulah Webb—that was the name she was known by, for an older gypsy woman was always known as aunt to those younger—sucked on her pipe and squinted as she surveyed the nearby fields, then cast her eyes to the hop-gardens beyond. The hops would be hanging heavy on the bine by now, rows upon rows of dark-green, spice-aroma’d swags, waiting to be harvested, picked by the nimble hands of men, women and children alike, most of whom came from London for a working late-summer holiday. Others were gypsies like herself, and the rest were gorja from the surrounding villages. Gorja. More house dwellers, more who were not gypsies.

Her people kept themselves to themselves, went about their business without inviting trouble. Aunt Beulah hoped the diddakoi families kept away from the farm this year. A Roma would trust anyone before a diddakoi—before the half-bred people who were born of gypsy and gorja. As far as she was concerned, they looked for trouble, expected it. They were forgetting the old ways, and there were those among them who left the dregs of their life behind them when they moved on, their caravans towed by boneshaker lorries, not horses. The woman looked across at the caravan of the one she herself simply called Webb. Her son. Of course, her son’s baby daughter, Boosul, was a diddakoi, by rights, though with her shock of ebony hair and pebble-black eyes, she favored Roma through and through.

About her business in the morning, Beulah brought four tin bowls from underneath the caravan—underneath the vardo in the gypsy tongue. One bowl was used to wash tools used in the business of eating, one for the laundering of clothes, one for water that touched her body, and another for the cleaning of her vardo. It was only when she had completed those tasks, fetching dead wood from the forest for the fire to heat the water, that she finally placed an enamel kettle among the glowing embers and waited for it to boil for tea. Uneasy unless working, Beulah bound bunches of Michaelmas daisies to sell door to door, then set them in a basket and climbed back into her vardo.

She knew the village gorja, those out about their errands, would turn their backs when they saw her on the street, would glance away from her black eyes and dark skin now rippled with age. They would look aside so as not to stare at her gold hoop earrings, the scarf around her head, and the wide gathered skirt of threadbare deep-purple wool that marked her as a gypsy. Sometimes children would taunt.

“Where are you going, pikey? Can’t you hear, you old gyppo woman?’

But she would only have to stare, perhaps point a charcoal blackened finger, and utter words in dialect that came from deep in the throat, a low grumble of language that could strike fear into the bravest bully—and they would be gone.

Women were the first to turn away, though there were always a few—enough to make it worth her while—who would come to the door at her knock, press a penny into her outstretched hand, and take a bunch of the daisies with speed lest their fingers touch her skin. Beulah smiled. She would see them again soon enough. When dusk fell, a twig would snap underfoot as a visitor approached her vardo with care. The lurcher would look up, a bottomless growl rumbling in her gullet. Beulah would reach down and place her hand on the dog’s head, whispering, “Shhhh, jook.” She would wait until the steps were closer, until she could hold the lurcher no longer, and then would call out, “Who’s there?” And, after a second or two, a voice, perhaps timid, would reply, “I’ve come for my fortune.”

Beulah would smile as she uncovered the glass sphere she’d brought out and set on the table at eventide, waiting.

Not that a ball made of a bit of glass had anything to do with it, yet that was what was expected. The gypsy might not have been an educated woman, but she knew what sold. She didn’t need glass, or crystal, a bit of amethyst, a cup of still-wet tea leaves, or a rabbit’s foot to see, either. No, those knickknacks were for the customers, for those who needed to witness her using something solid, because the thought of her seeing pictures of what was to come in thin air would be enough to send them running. And you never scared away money.

Beulah heard a squeal from the tent that leaned against her son’s vardo, little Boosul waking from sleep. Her people were stirring, coming out to light fires, to make ready for the day. True gypsies never slept in their spotless vardos, with shining brass and wafer-thin china hanging from the walls. Like Beulah, they lived in tents, hardy canvas tied across a frame of birch or ash. The vardos were kept for best. Beulah looked up to the rising sun, then again at the fields as the steamy mist of warming dew rose to greet the day. She didn’t care for the people of this village, Heronsdene. She saw the dark shadow that enveloped each man and woman and trailed along, weighing them down as they went about their daily round. There were ghosts in this village—ghosts who would allow the neighbors no rest.

As she reached down to pour scalding water into the teapot, the old woman’s face concertina’d as a throbbing pain and bright light bore down upon her with no warning, a sensation with which she was well familiar. She dropped the kettle back into the embers and pressed her bony knuckles hard against her skull, squeezing her eyes shut against flames that licked up behind her closed eyelids. Fire. Again. She fought for breath, the heat rising up around

her feet to her waist, making her old legs sweat, her hands clammy. And once more she came to Beulah, walking out from the very heart of the inferno, the younger woman she had not yet met but knew would soon come. It would not be long now; the time approached—of that she was sure. The woman was tall and well dressed, with black hair—not long hair, but not as short as she’d seen on some of the gorja womenfolk in recent years. Beulah leaned against the vardo, the lurcher coming to stand at her mistress’s side as if to offer her lean body as buttress. This woman, who walked amid the flames of Beulah’s imagination, had known sadness, had lived with death. And though she now stepped forward alone, the grief was lifting—Beulah could see it ascending like the morning cloud, rising up to leave her in peace. She was strong, this woman of her dreams, and . . . Beulah shook her head. The vision was fading; the woman had turned away from her, back into the flames, and was gone.

The gypsy matriarch held one hand against her forehead, still leaning against her vardo. She opened her eyes with care and looked about her. Only seconds had passed, yet she had seen enough to know that a time of great trouble was almost upon her. She believed the woman—the woman for whom she waited—would be her ally, though she could not be sure. She was sure of three things, though—that the end of her days drew ever closer, that before she breathed her last, a woman she had never seen in her life would come to her, and that this woman, even though she might think of herself as ordinary, of little account in the wider world, still followed Death as he made his rounds. That was her calling, her work, what she was descended of gorja and gypsy to do. And Beulah Webb knew that here, in this place called Heronsdene, Death would walk among them soon enough, and there was nothing she could do to prevent such fate. She could only do her best to protect her people.

The sun was higher in the sky now. The gypsy folk would bide their time for three more days, then move to a clearing at the edge of the farm, setting their vardos and pitching their tents away from Londoners, who came for the picking to live in whitewashed hopper huts and sing their bawdy songs around the fire at night. And though she would go about her business, Beulah would be waiting—waiting for the woman with her modern clothes and her tidy hair. Waiting for the woman whose sight, she knew, was as powerful as her own.

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Reading Group Guide

About this Guide

The following author biography and list of questions about An Incomplete Revenge are intended as resources to aid individual readers and book groups who would like to learn more about the author and this book. We hope that this guide will provide you a starting place for discussion, and suggest a variety of perspectives from which you might approach An Incomplete Revenge.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 40 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(24)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 19, 2012

    EM-SD-CA I'm so with you! I savor these books too. Moving on

    EM-SD-CA I'm so with you! I savor these books too. Moving on to number 5 today. Discovering this era in English history while following Maisie on her journey has been a very enlightening experience. Filled with ideas to mull over and place and times to envision. What a treat! I'll be so sad when I'm ahead of the author and must wait! And true, one must begin with book one. Grow with Maisie.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Maisie is back!

    Much better than #4, Maisie's character is more herself. The story is more in keeping with books 1-3. A great classic mystery in the genre of Agatha Christie.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 28, 2014

    Good storytelling

    Good storytelling and I'll continue with the series. Each one most enjoyable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2014

    Highly recommended

    The Maisie Dobbs series are remarkable in that while following the life and work of the character, they continue to unfold new and interesting events and characters. Unlike many series, they remain fresh and hold your interest. Incomplete Revenge is a "stand alone" and while the main characters are the backbone of the story, one can read and enjoy this volume on itself.

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  • Posted March 24, 2013

    I didn't have a great experience when I read Messenger of Truth,

    I didn't have a great experience when I read Messenger of Truth, which was number four in the Maisie Dobbs series.  I had heard so many great things, that I decided I had to give another one a try and I'm so glad that I did.




    Business is slow for Maisie and she's quite happy when work starts trickling in to distract her from a personal loss.  However, what seemed like a simple job turns into quite a bit of mystery and things aren't as they seem (not surprising to us).  Over a span of time Maisie puts all the pieces together well before the reader and slowly unveils the truth which is quite surprising.




    On the story...
    While I wasn't intrigued from the very beginning, I soon fell into the story.  Many of the complaints I had in the previous book concerning Maisie's attitude isn't present here.  The story started off a bit slow for me but when I recognized the bizarre circumstances I became hooked. There are many characters and many repeats.  I didn't start from book one so I think that it's possible to jump in at any time with this series.  There is mention of previous events but it isn't such a big deal.  Honestly, I found the ending to be so beyond anything I ever expected, it left me thinking quite a bit.




    On the narrator...
    Ms. Cassidy did a great job with this audio but I'm not sure I would recommend the audio version for other reasons.  Ms. Cassidy easily took on the varying accents and her voice gave the characters personality.  But there are quite a bit of details in this mystery and many many characters.  I think it just might be simpler and easier to read just in case you forget something and want to flip back




    Overall...
    I'm glad that I didn't give up on this series because this story was very entertaining.  My advice?  Read the back of the book and pick up a book where the actual mystery interests you.  Otherwise the unveiling could take some time and if you aren't interested in the subject it might drag.

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  • Posted September 5, 2012

    Highly recommended

    I am loving the Maisie Dobbs novels. I love the characters and am waiting to see if Maisie finds a man. I am on #6 and will be disappointed when the series runs out.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2012

    Unique

    Beautifully written and atmospheric.

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  • Posted August 1, 2012

    Another winner

    Once again Jaqueline Winspear has woven a post WW1 thriller. Historically fascinating and physiologically intriguing, the novel moves the reader further along through British history.

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  • Posted April 19, 2012

    Like a box of fine chocolates

    I'm savoring the Maisie Dobbs series like a box of fine chocolates... one bite at a time. Characters, research & storyline are just too good to rush!!!!

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  • Posted June 10, 2011

    great+read

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Posted May 9, 2010

    Another good read in this series

    Maisie Dobbs if one of the best characters introduced into a series. Character development is wonderful, the plot original along with a realistic story.

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  • Posted April 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Incomplete Revenge Wins Hearts

    Jacqueline Winspear is one of the few contemporary authors whose books I rush out to buy! This latest novel is perhaps her best yet. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in England between the World Wars, mystery lovers, and the general public!!

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  • Posted April 10, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    GREAT WHODUNIT BOOK

    This book provided many hours of enjoyable reading. However, it is part of a series which makes more sense when read from book one. An individual could read it without the background knowledge acquired from the previous books, yet you do gain more with the previous books.
    This series of books opened my eyes to WWI and the issues that resulted there from, for the British and many European countries. The American education system does not give a proper education on WWI. Americans are taught only about the US contributions to WWI and nothing more. The USA only joined the fighting for the last year of the war and by that time millions of men and women had been displaced and killed from fighting. The US education system makes one believe the war ended because of US assistancve, which is partly true, however, the US takes credit for ending the war and negotiating the "new world order" (League of Nations). The British and European countries counted on the US to lead the way but the promises made by the US could never be ratified which ultimately lead to the further breakdown of countries, promises unkept. The unsolved issues in Europe were the beginnings of WWII.
    Jacqueline Winspear has done a marvelous job researching the time frame, and writes with great accuracy. Her characters are working hard to make a life in uncertain times, while dealing with the personal tragedies and personal hell that has become the fabric of their lives due to the great war.
    If you love history and a good "whodunit" you will love these books.

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  • Posted February 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An Incomplete Revenge: A Maisie Dobbs Novel

    Maisie Dobbs was sent to investigate a potential land purchase. She travels to a village called Kent during the hop picking season. She finds a sinister dark force at work thru the town which divides it. Everybody is a suspect and the novel keeps you guessing. There are mysterious fires that erupt thru the town; each reference in the book has a deeper meaning. The novel also focuses on forms of prejudice and added to the small town microcosm. Almost, the townspeople could not think on their own, more like a bunch of followers than leaders. I loved the references about the dog. This was a nice touch and I can appreciate it being an animal lover. I did not like the references to the gypsies, it was kind of weird. I know that it is important to paint a background picture of Maisie. Otherwise, a pretty good book overall that captured my attention.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2008

    A Cozy Mystery

    When my local library received the latest in the this series - An Incomplete Revenge - in audio format, I decided to borrow it to listen in the car. I'm quite glad I did as it made such a difference to listen to it. The characters came alive. The reader had a wonderful English accent that set the tone and location for this book. Maisie Dobbs is a psychologist and investigator. All the novels take place in England in the late 1920's. Maisie is asked to investigate a small village for a company hoping to purchase the local brick works. They are concerned about a series of fires and small thefts that have been occurring. It is hop picking season in the village, so her assistant Billy and his family are also in the village to work, as are a band of gypsies. The villagers do not report the fires and just gloss over them. They are very reticent about some of the history of the village and do not like the gypsies. With patient questioning Maisie unravels the mysteries surrounding this tiny enclave. The descriptions of society at this time are fascinating. If you're looking for a good cozy mystery, this might be for you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2008

    Post WW I mystery involving pickers of hops and village problems

    An Incomplete Revenge takes place in the area around London right after World War I. The story involves Londoners and Gypsies that travel to the farming areas and pick hops during the harvesting season. They are not welcomed to the area but they are a necessary part of hop picking and generally they stay to themselves, but sometimes get in trouble, especially the younger ones. Masie Dobbs is a Psychologist and Investigator who is very good at her job. Masie is hired by James Compton to investigate a large estate and a brickyard that he in interested in purchasing. The area is called Heronsdene and reports are telling him that there are some strange things going on in that area including burglary and fires, some of which appears to be minor mischief. Compton did not want to purchase something where troubles would run wild and make it an irresponsible purchase. Masie goes to the area and senses herself that Heronsdene is indeed a source of trouble. She could feel it just by walking the streets and talking to the shop owners and citizens in the town. Masie goes out into the woods nearby and finds the Gypsies and the Londoners, both picking the hops but as far a part from each other as possible. They don¿t like each other any more than the people of Heronsdene like either group. Masie enters each group and makes as much of an inroad as possible while attempting to find out what action they perform that might be causing the mischief in the city. She makes friends, or as friendly as the groups would allow. After time, they started to take Masie into their confidence much more than any other persons around. It seems there had been a German Zeppelin raid during the war that had bombed a house in the area. No one would talk about that raid or the circumstances caused by it. Masie had to dig wide and far to get a little bit here and a little bit there. No one trusted the Sandermere family that owned the large estate. They had money, got drunk, got into trouble with women, and got away with things no one should be allowed to, causing distrust and distaste in the entire area. Masie made connections with various residents in the area as she gathered her information for James Compton. She also was in touch with a reporter, Beattie Drummond, who was trying to get a great story so she could make progress up the staff of a major newspaper. Beattie and Masie exchanged information, helping each other a lot. The story is slow moving at times which I have found some English authors tend to do but the descriptions of the areas and people from that area are great. Jacqueline Winspear has grabbed the atmosphere of the time and area and placed it in words that do not leave the reader wanting. She also gives an insight into life among the Gypsies and the lower class Londoners that have to travel around to make a living doing hard work for small pay.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A reviewer

    In 1931 business tycoon James Compton considers buying property in Heronsdene, Kent but a rash of questionable fires has left him re-evaluating his selection. He asks his friend London based investigative psychologist Maisie Dobbs to look into what seems to him as obvious the work of an arsonist. She would do anything for her mentor and besides needs the money he offers as the Great Depression has hammered at consultants like her so she agrees to visit the tiny rustic village.--------------- Maisie quickie uncovers the suspicious dealings of a landowner while wondering why the locals refuse to speak about visiting Gypsies or a WW I zeppelin raid that killed an entire family as the behavior is way beyond the normal suspicion of strangers. A struggling Maisie begins to tie together the townsfolk, the gypsies, the Great War and what happened afterward in remote Heronsdene, but someone is on war alert watching her every step.-------- The latest Dobbs between the World Wars¿ mystery is a terrific entry in one of the best twentieth century private investigation series. Maisie is at her best as she sleuths in a location in which no one wants her around let alone snooping. However, it is the sense of time and place that makes AN INCOMPLETE REVENGE and its four predecessors (see MESSENGER OF TRUTH, PARDONABLE LIES, MAISIE DOBBS and BIRDS OF A FEATHER) worth reading as few authors if any bring to life England in the late 1920s and early 1930s as picturesquely as Jacqueline Winspear consistently has done with the marvelous Maisie mysteries.--------- Harriet Klausner

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    Posted April 22, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2010

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