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Messenger of Truth (Maisie Dobbs Series #4)

Messenger of Truth (Maisie Dobbs Series #4)

4.3 43
by Jacqueline Winspear

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Maisie Dobbs investigates the mysterious death of a controversial artist—and World War I veteran—in the fourth entry in the bestselling series.

London, 1931. The night before an exhibition of his artwork opens at a famed Mayfair gallery, the controversial artist Nick Bassington-Hope falls to his death. The police rule it an accident, but Nick's twin sister


Maisie Dobbs investigates the mysterious death of a controversial artist—and World War I veteran—in the fourth entry in the bestselling series.

London, 1931. The night before an exhibition of his artwork opens at a famed Mayfair gallery, the controversial artist Nick Bassington-Hope falls to his death. The police rule it an accident, but Nick's twin sister, Georgina, a wartime journalist and a infamous figure in her own right, isn't convinced.

When the authorities refuse to consider her theory that Nick was murdered, Georgina seeks out a fellow graduate from Girton College, Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator, for help. Nick was a veteran of World War I, and before long the case leads Maisie to the desolate beaches of Dungeness in Kent, and into the sinister underbelly of the city's art world.

In Messenger of Truth, Maisie once again uncovers the perilous legacy of the Great War in a society struggling to recollect itself. But to solve the mystery of Nick's death, Maisie will have to keep her head as the forces behind the artist's fall come out of the shadows to silence her.

Following on the bestselling Pardonable Lies, Jacqueline Winspear delivers another vivid, thrilling, and utterly unique episode in the life of Maisie Dobbs.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Set in 1931 London, Jacqueline Winspear's fourth mystery featuring Maisie Dobbs (Pardonable Lies et al.) finds the intrepid psychologist and investigator up against her most baffling case yet -- the allegedly accidental death of a controversial artist.

Just hours before celebrated British painter Nick Bassington-Hope is scheduled to open a much-anticipated exhibit of his latest work at the renowned Mayfair gallery, he's found dead. The local police rule the death accidental, as all the evidence points to a fall from a scaffold. But Bassington-Hope's twin sister, Georgina, isn't so sure -- in fact, she's certain that someone killed her brother. After being recommended by a Scotland Yard inspector, Dobbs is hired to get to the bottom of the artist's untimely death. But even as her personal life suffers tragedy after tragedy -- her longtime potential beau abruptly ends their "courtship," and her trusted assistant's young child dies of diphtheria -- Dobbs perseveres on and eventually uncovers disturbing secrets surrounding the brilliantly talented artist who could "touch the truth," secrets that some people would kill to keep from being revealed…

Fans who enjoy meticulously researched historical mystery sagas like Sandra Scoppettone's Faye Quick novels (set in 1943 New York City) and Philip Kerr's Berlin Noir trilogy (taking place in 1937 Berlin) will absolutely devour Winspear's Maisie Dobbs novels, which immerse readers in a richly described post-WWI England struggling with widespread unemployment, poverty, and political upheaval. Featuring an intuitive, compassionate, and downright endearing protagonist, these historical whodunits are simply irresistible. Paul Goat Allen
Publishers Weekly
Broadway and television veteran Cassidy continues the subtle, sharp vocal performance that earned her awards for the audio version of Winspear's last Maisie Dobbs mystery, Pardonable Lies. There's a lovely, old-fashioned lilt to Cassidy's reading, reminding listeners of the period (it's now 1931 in an England haunted at every level by the war that officially ended 14 years before). There's still a class battle going on, one that Maisie has straddled because of her unique background: a child of London's working class, put into service at 14, then rescued by a patroness who recognized her intelligence and sent her to study at Girton, Cambridge University's pioneering college for women. So Maisie can treat her working-class East London assistant with the same ease and understanding as she handles her current client a woman from a wealthy, eccentric family whose twin brother, an important artist, was killed in a supposed accident. The bonus interview at the end with Winspear makes listeners realize how similar a mindset Maisie and the author possess. Cassidy and Dobbs are a match made in audio heaven. Simultaneous release with the Holt hardcover (Reviews, June 19). (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This fourth installment in the Maisie Dobbs historical mystery series (after Pardonable Lies) finds our fearless psychologist/inquiry agent investigating the death of artist Nick Bassington-Hope. According to Detective Inspector Stratton, Nick's fall from a set of scaffolding was merely a tragic accident. Nick's twin sister, Georgina, however, insists he was murdered and hires Maisie to discover the truth. Maisie soon finds herself moved by Nick's powerful, often discomforting re-creations of his wartime experiences. But where is the painting on which he was working when he died? Maisie's probing questions and careful listening skills bring her close to danger as she uncovers a series of events leading back to World War I. Meanwhile, her relationship with Andrew Dene slowly unravels as Maisie realizes her work means more to her than he does. The mystery itself is rather transparent, but what makes this book delightful is how Winspear shows Maisie's emotional development amid the bitter legacy of the Great War. Her growing fan base should enjoy this latest entry. Strongly recommended.-Laurel Bliss, Princeton Univ. Lib., NJ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

“In Maisie Dobbs, Jacqueline Winspear has given us a real gift. Maisie Dobbs has not been created--she has been discovered. Such people are always there amongst us, waiting for somebody like Ms. Winspear to come along and reveal them. And what a revelation it is!” —Alexander McCall Smith, author of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

“Maisie is a sleuth to treasure.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Worth cheering about . . . [Winspear] keep[s] her series about the astonishing Maisie Dobbs alive and as fresh as new paint.” —Chicago Tribune

“When people ask me to recommend an author, one name consistently comes to mind: Jacqueline Winspear. . . . What makes Winspear so special is her ability to write convincing historical fiction. Going beyond the correct details about headgear and slang from the 1920s and 1930s, she convincingly captures the interior lives of her characters. . . . Wonderful.” —USA Today

“Maisie Dobbs, Winspear's brilliant psychological investigator, returns for her fourth adventure. . . . Definitely more of a political and psychological read than a simple whodunit.” —Daily News

“What makes this book delightful is how Winspear shows Maisie's emotional development amid the bitter legacy of the Great War. Her growing fan base should enjoy this latest entry. Strongly recommended.” —Library Journal

Product Details

Center Point Large Print
Publication date:
Maisie Dobbs Series , #4
Edition description:
Large Print Edition
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

Messenger of Truth

A Maisie Dobbs Novel

By Jacqueline Winspear

Henry Holt and Company

Copyright © 2006 Jacqueline Winspear
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-0101-7


"Good morning, Miss Bassington-'ope. Come on in out of that cold." Billy Beale, Maisie Dobbs's assistant, stood by the door to the first-floor office as Maisie allowed the visitor to ascend the stairs before her.

"Thank you." Georgina Bassington-Hope glanced at the man, and thought his smile to be infectious, his eyes kind.

"I've brewed a fresh pot of tea for us."

"Thank you, Billy, that will be just the ticket, it's brassy out there today." Maisie smiled in return at Billy as she directed Georgina into the room.

Three chairs had been set by the gas fire and the tea tray placed on Maisie's desk. As soon as her coat was taken and hung on the hook behind the door, Georgina settled in the middle chair. There was a camaraderie between the investigator and her assistant that intrigued the visitor. The man clearly admired his employer, though it did not appear to be a romantic fondness. But there was a bond, and Georgina Bassington-Hope, her journalist's eye at work, thought that perhaps the nature of their work had forged a mutual dependence and regard—though there was no doubt that the woman was the boss.

She turned her attention to Maisie Dobbs, who was collecting a fresh manila folder and a series of colored pencils, along with a clutch of index cards and paper. Her black wavy hair had probably been cut in a bob some time ago but was now in need of a trim. Did she not care to keep up with a hairdressing regime? Or was she simply too busy with her work? She wore a cream silk blouse with a long blue cashmere cardigan, a black skirt with kick pleats and black shoes with a single strap across to secure them. It was a stylish ensemble, but one that marked the investigator as someone who set more stock by comfort than fashion.

Rejoining Georgina, Maisie said nothing until her assistant had seen that the guest had tea and was comfortable. Georgina did not want to confirm her suspicions by staring, but she thought the woman was sitting with her eyes closed, just for a moment, as if in deep thought. She felt that same sensation of warmth enter her body once more, and opened her mouth to ask a question, but instead expressed gratitude.

"I'm much obliged to you for agreeing to see me, Miss Dobbs. Thank you."

Maisie smiled graciously. It was not a broad smile, not in the way that the assistant had welcomed her, but the woman thought it indicated a person completely in her element.

"I have come to you in the hope that you might be able to help me...." She turned to face Maisie directly. "You have been recommended by someone we both know from our Girton days, actually."

"Might that person have been Dame Constance?" Maisie inclined her head.

"However did you know?" Georgina seemed puzzled.

"We rekindled our acquaintance last year. I always looked forward to her lessons, and especially the fact that we had to go to the abbey to see her. It was a fortuitous connection that the order had moved to Kent." Maisie allowed a few seconds to pass. "So why did you visit Dame Constance, and what led her to suggest you should seek me out?"

"I must say, I would have had teeth pulled rather than attend her tutorials. However, I went to see her when ..." She swallowed, and began to speak again. "It is in connection with my brother's ... my brother's—" She could barely utter another word. Maisie reached behind her into a black shoulder bag hanging across the back of her chair and pulled out a handkerchief, which she placed on Georgina's knee. As the woman picked up the pressed handkerchief, the fragrant aroma of lavender was released into the air. She sniffed, dabbed her eyes and continued speaking. "My brother died several weeks ago, in early December. A verdict of accidental death has been recorded." She turned to Maisie, then Billy, as if to ensure they were both listening, then stared into the gas fire. "He is—was—an artist. He was working late on the night before the opening of his first major exhibition in years and, it appears, fell from scaffolding that had been set up at the gallery to allow him to construct his main piece." She paused. "I needed to speak to someone who might help me navigate this ... this ... doubt. And Dame Constance suggested I come to you." She paused. "I have discovered that there was little to be gained from badgering the police, and the man who was called when my brother was found seemed only too pleased when I told him I was going to talk to an inquiry agent—I think he was glad to get me out of his sight, to tell you the truth."

"And who was the policeman?" The investigator held her pen ready to note the name.

"Detective Inspector Richard Stratton, of Scotland Yard."

"Stratton was pleased to learn that you were coming to see me?"

Georgina was intrigued by the faint blush revealed when Maisie looked up from her notes, her midnight-blue eyes even darker under forehead creases when she frowned. "Well, y-yes, and as I said, I think he was heartily sick of me peppering him with questions."

Maisie made another note before continuing. "Miss Bassington-Hope, perhaps you could tell me how you wish me to assist you—how can I help?"

Georgina sat up straight in the chair, and ran her fingers back through thick, drying hair that was springing into even richer copper curls as the room became warmer. She pulled at the hem of her nutmeg-brown tweed jacket, then smoothed soft brown trousers where the fabric fell across her knees. "I believe Nicholas was murdered. I do not think he fell accidentally at all. I believe someone pushed him, or caused him to fall deliberately." She looked up at Maisie once more. "My brother had friends and enemies. He was a passionate artist and those who expose themselves so readily are often as much reviled as admired. His work drew both accolades and disgust, depending upon the interpreter. I want you to find out how he died."

Maisie nodded, still frowning. "I take it there is a police report."

"As I said, Detective Inspector Stratton was called—"

"Yes, I was wondering about that, the fact that Stratton was called to the scene of an accident."

"It was early and he was the detective on duty apparently," added Georgina. "By the time he'd arrived, the pathologist had made a preliminary inspection...." She looked down at the crumpled handkerchief in her hands.

"But I am sure Detective Inspector Stratton conducted a thorough investigation. How do you think I might assist you?"

Georgina tensed, the muscles in her neck becoming visibly taut. "I thought you might say that. Devil's advocate, aren't you?" She leaned back, showing some of the nerve for which she was renowned. Georgina Bassington-Hope, intrepid traveler and journalist, became infamous at twenty-two when she disguised herself as a man to gain a closer view of the lines of battle in Flanders than any other reporter. She brought back stories that were not of generals and battles, but of the men, their struggle, their bravery, their fears and the truth of life as a soldier at war. Her dispatches were published in journals and newspapers the world over and, like her brother's masterpieces, her work drew as much criticism as admiration, and her reputation grew as both brave storyteller and naive opportunist.

"I know what I want, Miss Dobbs. I want the truth and will find it myself if I have to. However, I also know my limitations and I believe in using the very best tools when they are available—price notwithstanding. And I believe you are the best." She paused briefly to reach for her cup of tea, which she held in both hands, cradling the china. "And I believe—because I have done my homework—that you ask questions that others fail to ask and see things that others are blind to." Georgina Bassington-Hope looked back at Billy briefly, then turned to Maisie once again, her voice firm, her eyes unwavering. "Nick's work was extraordinary, his views well known though his art was his voice. I want you to find out who killed him, Miss Dobbs—and bring them to justice."

Maisie closed her eyes, pausing for a few seconds before speaking again. "You were very close, it seems."

Georgina's eyes sparkled. "Oh, yes, we were close, Miss Dobbs. Nick was my twin. Two peas in a pod. He worked with color, texture and light, I work with words." She paused. "And it has occurred to me that whoever killed my brother may well want to silence me too."

Maisie nodded, acknowledging the comment deliberately added to intrigue her, then she stood up, moved away from the fire and walked across to the window. It was snowing again, settling on the ground to join the brown slush that seeped into shoe leather only too readily. Billy smiled at their guest and pointed to the teapot, indicating that perhaps she might like another cup. He had been taking notes throughout the conversation, and now knew his job was to keep their guest calm and quiet while Maisie had a moment with her thoughts. Finally, she turned from the window.

"Tell me, Miss Bassington-Hope: Why were you so reticent to keep your appointments? You canceled twice, yet you came to Fitzroy Square in any case. What caused you to renege on your contract with yourself on two—almost three—occasions?"

Georgina shook her head before replying. "I have no proof. I have nothing to go on, so to speak—and I am a person used to dealing with facts. There's a paucity of clues—indeed, I would be the first to admit, this looks like a classic accident, a careless move by a tired man using a rather precarious ledge upon which to balance while preparing to hang a work that had taken years to achieve." She paused briefly before continuing. "I have nothing except this." She pressed her hand to her chest. "A feeling here, right in my heart, that all is not as it should be, that this accident was murder. I believe I knew the very second that my brother died, for I experienced such an ache at what transpired, according to the pathologist, to be the time of his death. And I did not know how I might explain such things and be taken seriously."

Maisie approached Georgina Bassington-Hope and gently laid a hand on her shoulder. "Then you have most definitely come to the right place in that case. In my estimation, that feeling in your heart is the most significant clue and all we need to take on your case." She looked at Billy and nodded, whereupon he flipped over a new card. "Now then, let us begin. First of all, let me tell you about my terms and the conditions of our contract."

MAISIE DOBBS HAD been in business as a psychologist and investigator for almost two years, having previously been apprenticed to her mentor since childhood. Blanche Dr. Maurice Blanche, was not only an expert in legal medicine, but himself a psychologist and philosopher who had provided a depth of learning and opportunity that might otherwise have been unavailable to his protégé. Now, with a steady stream of clients seeking her services, Maisie had cause for optimism. Although the country was in the grip of economic depression, there were those of a certain class who barely felt the deepening crisis—people like Georgina Bassington-Hope—which in turn meant that there was still plenty of business for an investigator with a growing reputation. The only dark cloud was one she hoped would remain at a good distance. During the autumn of the previous year, her own shell shock had reared up, resulting in a debilitating breakdown. It was this malaise, compounded by a rift with Blanche, that had led to a loss of trust in her mentor. Though in many ways she welcomed the newfound independence in the distance from him, there were times when she looked back at the rhythm of their work, at the rituals and processes, with an ache, with regret. At the outset of a case, following a preliminary conversation with the new client, Maurice would often suggest a walk or, if the weather was poor, simply a change in the seating arrangement. "As soon as that contract is signed, Maisie, we shoulder the weight of our load, open the gate and choose our path. We must therefore move the body to engage our curiosity again after taking on the task of administrator."

Now, with the contract signed by both Maisie and Georgina Bassington-Hope and poor weather preventing all possibility of a walk, Maisie suggested the trio move to the table by the window to continue the conversation.

Later, after the new client had left, Maisie and Billy would unfurl a length of plain wallpaper across the table, pin the edges to the wood, and begin to formulate a case map of known facts, thoughts, feelings, hunches and questions. As the work went on, more information would be added, with the mosaic eventually yielding up previously unseen connections pointing to the truths that heralded closure of the case. If all went well.

Maisie had already jotted some initial questions on an index card, though she knew that many more would come to mind with each response from her new client. "Miss Bassington-Hope—"

"Georgina, please. 'Miss Bassington-Hope' is a bit of a mouthful, and if we are to be here for any length of time, I would rather dispense with the formalities." The woman looked from Maisie to Billy.

Billy glanced at Maisie in a way that made his discomfort at the suggestion obvious.

Maisie smiled. "Yes, of course, as you wish. And you may call me Maisie." Though she was not at all sure she was really open to such an informality, her client's preference must be honored. If she were relaxed, information would flow more readily. Both women now looked at Billy, who blushed.

"Well, if you don't mind, I think I'll stick to your proper name." He looked at Maisie for guidance, then turned to the woman again. "But you can call me Billy if you like, Miss Bassington-'ope."

Georgina smiled, understanding the predicament she had placed them in. "All right, then, Billy—and how about just 'Miss B-H' for me."

"Right you are. Miss B-H it is."

Maisie cleared her throat. "Well, now that we have that little conundrum out of the way, let's get on. Georgina, first I want you to tell me as much as you know about the circumstances of your brother's death."

The woman nodded. "Nick has—had—been preparing for this exhibition for some time, over a year, in fact. His work was becoming very well known, especially in America—there are still a fair few millionaires and they are buying up everything from poor old Europe, it seems. Anyway, Stig Svenson of Svenson's Gallery on Albemarle Street—he's more or less Nick's regular dealer—offered him a special exhibition that comprised both earlier and new works. Nick jumped at the chance, especially as he thought the gallery would be the ideal place to unveil a piece he has been working on, one way or another, for years."

Maisie and Billy exchanged glances, and Maisie interjected with a question. "Why was it perfect for his work? What did the gallery have that made him so excited?"

"Stig had just had the whole place ripped apart and painted—and Nick had already made it clear that he needed a certain amount of room for the new pieces." Georgina held out her arms to help describe the gallery. "Essentially, there are two sort of square bay windows at the front—they're huge—with a door in between, so you can clearly see in from the street, though you cannot view each individual piece. Svenson has—as you might imagine—a very modern, Scandinavian idea of how to use room. It's very bright, every inch of his gallery modeled to display a piece to its advantage. He's had the latest electric lighting installed, and fittings that direct beams in such a way as to create shadows and light to draw buyers in." She paused, to see if her audience of two were keeping up. "So, at the far end there is one huge blank wall almost two floors high for larger pieces, then on both sides a galleried landing, so that you walk in as if you are walking into a theater, only there are no seats and you are not on a gradient—and it's completely white. You can go to either side, up stairs to the landings, but there are screens to divide the room in sections so that you never actually see the whole pièce de résistance—if there is one—until the end. All very clever."

"Yes, I see." Maisie paused, tapped her pen against the palm of her left hand, then spoke again. "Would you describe his 'pièce de résistance' for us?"


Excerpted from Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear. Copyright © 2006 Jacqueline Winspear. Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the Maisie Dobbs novels, Maisie Dobbs, Birds of a Feather, and Pardonable Lies. Maisie Dobbs won the Agatha, Alex, and Macavity Awards, and Birds of a Feather won the Agatha Award. Originally from the U.K., Winspear now lives in California.

Brief Biography

Ojai, California
Date of Birth:
April 30, 1955
Place of Birth:
Weald of Kent, England
The University of London¿s Institute of Education

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Messenger of Truth (Maisie Dobbs Series #4) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
Messenger of Truth is the fourth book in the Maisie Dobbs series by British-born American author, Jacqueline Winspear. When the death of controversial artist Nicholas Bassington-Hope, from a fall whilst setting up his latest exhibition, is ruled as accidental, his twin sister Georgina is unconvinced. Georgina, an outspoken journalist, seeks out the help of Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator. In the course of her investigations, Maisie meets the bohemian Bassington-Hope family, Nick’s fellow artists from the colony at Dungeness, his promoter, gallery owner Stig Svenson, and the collector who is determined to own all of his work, wealthy American Randolph Bradley. And while all the evidence points to an unfortunate fall, Maisie soon finds that plenty of possible motives exist for Nick’s murder. Nick was known for including real people in his paintings, careless of whom it might upset. Did his latest masterpiece, secreted away in an unknown lockup, offend the wrong person? Or did he fall foul of his younger brother’s contacts with the underworld? Was Randolph looking to increase the value of his collection (as the death of an artist is bound to do), or annoyed that he refused to sell the masterpiece?  What were his artist friends, of late noticeably wealthier, hiding? Were the recent quarrels with his siblings relevant? Maisie is left to determine the true story alone, as Billy Beale has problems of his own. DI Stratton is being less than helpful and things come to a head with Maisie’s suitor, Andrew Dene. This instalment touches on war artists, war propaganda, the atrocities of war, the scourge of childhood diseases, and the loss of art works to richer countries. Stolen heirloom diamonds, European works of art and smugglers all feature as Maisie delves into the world of art. Winspear develops her main characters further and gives the reader an original plot with enough twists to keep the pages turning. Winspear uses some wonderfully descriptive prose: her depiction of the converted railway carriage is particularly evocative. This is another excellent mystery that skilfully conjures the feel of post-war England and her inhabitants. Fans will look forward to the next book in the series, An Incomplete Revenge. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As usual, a superb mystery with an interesting cast of characters ............... Maisie never disappoints!!
BookReflections More than 1 year ago
Set in London after the Great War, Maise Dobbs has quite a mystery on her hands. Nicholas Bassingon-Hope, upcoming artist, has fallen to his death. His sister Georgina feels in her heart that her twin brother has been murdered and when the police do not believe her, she turns to Maisie. Without any clues to point to murder, Maisie takes the case, determined to bring peace to the Bassington-Hope family one way or the other. Before I write anything else, I have to state how much I LOVE this cover. It is so creative and looks a-mazing in person. I love reading mysteries that are also historical fiction because the mysteries are solved without any fancy technology. It just seems like good detective work. Maisie is so smart and analytical. It reminded me a bit of when I was younger and I was reading Nancy Drew. While I appreciated the writing and the backdrop of the story, the plot was a bit slow for my tastes. I felt like clues were being uncovered and the relevance wasn't explained to the reader until the big unfolding at the end. For me, this meant I didn't feel any excitement from the mystery. I didn't feel driven to turn each page. I also didn't connect or like Maisie very much. She appeared to be a character that was a bit to polished and judgmental for my tastes.
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just gets better and better
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She has such courage not just in doing her job but also in seeing herself and her own faults and vulnerabilities. She is ahead of her time, forging new roads for other young women to follow. I do hope she finds love, some onexeho is willing to let her continue with her work, maybe someone that will share in her adventures, some one who is secretly very rich and who has no problem letting her be who she is.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love historical fiction and mysteries, and Maisie Dobbs fits the bill. The WWI background is very interesting and with this book the author moves into the Thirties--another interesting era. The reader can't help but like Maisie Dobbs and her personal journey. She kept the reader guessing until the end with this book. She's easy to read, so sit back with a cup of tea and enjoy!
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is part of a series that the reader should begin by reading the first book, Massie Dobbs. I have read all the books in the series. The author brings in history, good writing and an English mystery.
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Cher58 More than 1 year ago
From Maisies' first meeting with the parents of a missing son, to the end- she learns the "truth" about the case, her own relationships with her mentor, friends, and father. This, most recent publication from Ms. Winspear has widened our view of Maisie's world. Her case maps lead her and Billy Beales to an exciting conclusion to capture the antagonist and expand her relationship with the new Detective Inspector. The characters are sensitive and real, and set in the era before WWII. The setting lends insight to Maisie's character and actions as a woman in business for herself in that time. This book was a very satisfying read and I can't wait for the new one!