- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
A new Maisie Dobbs novel from award-winning author Jacqueline Winspear
In the third novel of this unique and masterly crime series, a deathbed plea from his wife leads Sir Cecil Lawton, KC, to seek the aid of Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator. As Maisie soon learns, Agnes Lawton never accepted that her aviator son was killed in the Great War, a torment that led her not only to the edge of madness but also to the doors of those who practice the dark arts and commune ...
A new Maisie Dobbs novel from award-winning author Jacqueline Winspear
In the third novel of this unique and masterly crime series, a deathbed plea from his wife leads Sir Cecil Lawton, KC, to seek the aid of Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator. As Maisie soon learns, Agnes Lawton never accepted that her aviator son was killed in the Great War, a torment that led her not only to the edge of madness but also to the doors of those who practice the dark arts and commune with the spirit world. Determined to prove Ralph Lawton either dead or alive, Maisie is plunged into a case that tests her spiritual strength, as well as her regard for her mentor, Maurice Blanche. The mission will bring her to France and reunite her with her old friend Priscilla Evernden, who lost three brothers in the war, one of whom has an intriguing connection to the case.
Set against a finely drawn portrait of life between the World Wars, Pardonable Lies is "a thrilling mystery that will enthrall fans of Jacqueline Winspear's heroine and likely win her new ones" (Detroit Free Press).
The young policewoman stood in the corner of the room. Plain whitewashed walls, a heavy door, a wooden table with two chairs, and one small window with frosted glass rendered the room soulless. It was a cold afternoon and she'd been in the corner since coming on duty two hours ago, her only company the rumpled and bent girl sitting in the chair that faced the wall. Others had come into the room to sit in the second chair: first, Detective Inspector Richard Stratton, with Detective Sergeant Caldwell standing behind him; then Stratton standing while a doctor from the Maudsley Hospital sat before the girl, trying to get her to speak. The girl—no one knew her age or where she had come from because she hadn't spoken a word since she was brought in this morning, her bloodstained dress, hands and face showing a month's worth of dirt—was now waiting for another person who had been summoned to question her: a Miss Maisie Dobbs. The policewoman had heard of Maisie Dobbs, but with what she had seen today, she wasn't sure that anyone could get this young scrubber to talk.
The policewoman heard voices outside the door: Stratton and Caldwell and then another voice. A smooth voice. A voice that was neither loud nor soft, that did not need to be raised to be heard or, thought the policewoman, to get someone to listen.
The door opened and Stratton came in, followed by a woman she presumed to be Maisie Dobbs. The policewoman was surprised, for the woman was nothing like she had expected, but then she realized that the voice had revealed little about the owner, except that it had depth without being deep.
Wearing a plain burgundy suit with black shoes and carrying a worn black leather document case, the visitor smiled at both the policewoman and Stratton in a way that almost startled the uniformed woman, as her eyes met the midnight-blue eyes of Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator.
"Pleased to meet you, Miss Chalmers," said Maisie, though they had not been introduced. The warm familiarity of the greeting took Chalmers aback. "Brrr. It's cold in here," added the investigator, turning to Stratton. "Inspector, can we bring in an oil stove? Just to take the edge off?"
Stratton raised an eyebrow and inclined his head at the unusual nature of the request. Amused at seeing her superior caught off guard, Chalmers tried to hide a grin, and the seated girl looked up, just for a second, because the woman's voice compelled her to do so.
"Good. Thank you, Inspector. Oh—and perhaps a chair for Miss Chalmers." Maisie Dobbs removed her gloves, placing them on top of the black bag, which she set on the floor, before pulling a chair around so that she was seated not opposite the girl, on the other side of the table, but close to her.
Strange, thought Chalmers, as the door opened and a constable brought in another chair, left the room, and returned with a small paraffin stove, which he placed by the wall. They exchanged quick glances and shrugged shoulders.
"Thank you," said Maisie, smiling.
And they knew she had seen their furtive communication.
Now, sitting alongside the girl, Maisie said nothing. She said nothing for some time, so that after a while Chalmers wondered what in heaven's name she was there for. Then she realized that the Dobbs woman had closed her eyes and had changed her position slowly, and though she couldn't put her finger on it, it was as if she were talking to the girl without opening her mouth, so that the girl—as if she couldn't help herself—leaned toward Maisie Dobbs. Blimey, she's going to talk.
"I'm getting warmer now." It was a rounded voice, a west-country voice. The girl spoke deliberately, with rolled r's and a nod when her sentence was finished. A farm girl. Yes, Chalmers would have pegged her for a farm girl.
But Maisie Dobbs said nothing, just opened her eyes and smiled, but not with her mouth. No, it was her eyes that smiled. Then she touched the girl's hand, taking it in her own. The girl began to cry and, very strange again, thought Chalmers, the Dobbs woman didn't reach out to put an arm around her shoulder, or try to stop her or use the moment as Stratton and Caldwell might have. No, she just sat and nodded, as if she had all the time in the world. Then she surprised the policewoman again.
"Miss Chalmers. Would you be so kind as to poke your head around the door and ask for a bowl of hot water, some soap, two flannels, and a towel, please."
Chalmers gave a single nod and moved toward the door. Oh, this would surely give the girls something to chew over later. They'd all have a giggle about this little pantomime.
A bowl of hot water was brought to the room by the police constable, along with the flannels, soap, and towel. Maisie removed her jacket, placed it over the back of the chair, and rolled up the sleeves of her cream silk blouse. Reaching into the bowl, she rubbed some soap on a wet flannel and squeezed out the excess water. Then she lifted the girl's chin, smiled into her reddened and bloodshot eyes, and began to wash her face, rinsing the flannel and going back again, dabbing the hot cloth on the girl's temples and across her forehead. She washed her arms, holding first her left hand in the hot flannel and working the cloth up to her elbow, then reaching for the girl's right hand. The girl flinched, but Maisie showed no sign of noticing the movement, instead massaging her right hand with the cloth, gently working it along her arm to the elbow, and then rinsing again.
It was as she knelt on the floor, taking one filthy bare foot after the other and washing the dirt and grime away with the second flannel, that the policewoman realized she had become mesmerized by the scene unfolding before her. It's like being in church.
The girl spoke again. "You've got right soft 'ands, miss."
Maisie Dobbs smiled. "Thank you. I used to be a nurse, years ago, in the war. That's what the soldiers used to say: that my hands were soft."
The girl nodded.
"What's your name?"
Chalmers stared as the girl—who had been sitting in that room without so much as a cup of tea since she was brought in twelve hours ago—replied immediately.
"Avril Jarvis, miss."
"Where are you from?"
"Taunton, miss." She began to sob.
Maisie Dobbs reached into the black bag and brought out a clean linen handkerchief, which she placed on the table in front of the girl. Chalmers waited for Maisie to take out a sheet of paper to write notes, but she didn't; instead she simply continued with her questions as she finished drying the girl's feet.
"How old are you, Avril?"
"Fourteen next April, I reckon."
Maisie smiled. "Tell me, why are you in London and not Taunton?"
Avril Jarvis sobbed continuously as Maisie folded the towel and sat next to her again. But she did answer the question, along with every other question put to her over the next hour, at which point Maisie said that was enough for now; she would be taken care of and they would speak again tomorrow—only Detective Inspector Stratton would have to hear her story too. Then, adding fuel to the tale that Chalmers would tell the other policewomen lodging in rooms upstairs at Vine Street, the Jarvis girl nodded and said, "All right, then. Just so long as you'll be with me, miss."
"Yes. I'll be here. Don't worry. You can rest now, Avril."
Copyright © 2005 by Jacqueline Winspear. All rights reserved.
Posted February 17, 2011
I Also Recommend:
The third Maisie Dobbs novel, Pardonable Lies, is a bigger book, and delves more deeply into Maisie's past and her personal life. When a man asks Psychologist/Private Investigator Maisie Dobbs to help him fulfill a deathbed promise to his wife to find out if their son, who was declared killed during World War I was really dead, Maisie takes the case.
Coincidentally, Maisie's friend Priscilla has come for a visit and asks Maisie to find out the circumstances behind her brother Peter's wartime death in France. Maisie and Priscilla both served in France during the war, and Maisie was wounded in an incident that caused her boyfriend to become brain damaged. He now lives in a permanent vegetative state in a hospital.
All this shakes Maisie, and she reluctantly takes the cases, and heads back to France to face her demons. The scene where Maisie is in the cemetery where so many men lost their lives during the war is emotionally powerful, and reveals a new level of depth to Maisie. All the horrors of war come rushing back, and Maisie is overcome with emotion.
I think many people who have faced trauma will understand Maisie's experience. Maisie has been presented as a character so in control of her emotions, this incident makes her more vulnerable.
Wisnpear ratchets up the tension in this novel as it appears that someone is trying to kill Maisie. Who and why this is happening is a puzzle, as there is more than one suspect.
The title, Pardonable Lies, refers to a few things. Maisie and her mentor Dr. Maurice Blanche have a falling out when Maisie discovers that he hid from her some aspects of his intelligence work during the war. This rift is important, and I wonder if it will permanently affect their relationship.
Maisie is very scrupulous, and her integrity is paramount to her. When she discovers two secrets related to Priscilla's brother and her client's son, she has to decide which is more important- protecting someone or telling the truth. Her internal struggle makes for a powerful story.
I'm enjoying getting to better know Maisie through these novels. In this one, we see Maisie struggle more with her emotions, having to face her past. I liked her friendship with Priscilla, unique because Maisie doesn't seem to have many friends her own age.
I also like getting historical context. Following World War I, when ships were no longer needed for battle, many of them were converted for pleasure travel. Although the world financial depression hurt the economy, travel to the Riviera, Africa and the Mediterranean became cheaper and easier. This opened up the world to many people who hadn't traveled much before.
Pardonable Lies gives us a deeper look at Maisie's life and I found it the strongest of the series so far. This series would be great for high school girls, Maisie is a terrific role model.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 25, 2013
To be honest, I read the first two of the series via the library (on ebooks) but they didn't have the third. I guess it says something that I bought it!
Not great literature but I enjoy the view into post WWI England and Maisie and Billy are good company. The plots are well done but they are only part of the story. The development of the two characters, their lives and growth as people is part of it too.
However, I'll be getting book 4 at the library. These are a little light -- and are such quick reads -- that I'm not tempted to continue purchasing them at $10 a pop.
Posted September 23, 2012
Truly an outstanding series. This edition (#3 in the series) presents a more "polished," sensitive, and engaging Maisie. This an absolutely TERRIFIC read, the mystery is engrossing, and the book is hihly recommended!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 28, 2012
Posted June 18, 2012
A very well written book about Maisie's trials and tribulations and haunting ghosts of her war experiences. Quite a story which hung together very nicely. Enjoyed the exprience and the characters that seemed to come to life with every page. Not normally read this sort of thing, but it kept me turning the pages, and looking forward to picking the book up again and again. I highly recommend this experience to others.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Winspear, a masterful storyteller, sends her detective back to France to finally face all the bottled up feelings about her time there, her lost love, and the terrible loss of humanity that she witnessed there. Her involvement in at least two major cases are brought along with her other baggage on this trip, and their resolution brings to light two terrible wrongs, and while one remains hidden, the other opens a new world for her own relations.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 23, 2009
Posted August 9, 2008
I really wanted to enjoy Pardonable Lies, bit it wasn't to be. The plot was dull, the characters insipid, not one that I cared for, and the book was sooooo sloooow moving. I probably could have accepted all that if the flavor of the 1930s Deco period had been captured, but it wasn't. Read Christie's Hercule Poirot instead. I'd call Pardonable Lies a near miss.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 6, 2007
When things happen, they happen in threes. So Maisie Dobbs learns when she takes a case to help a child accused of murder, a sort of double case dealing with soldiers killed in the war, and trying to find out who was trying to kill her. The child accused of murder is a girl barely thirteen forced into street walking. Of the two soldiers one was the brother of Maisie's best friend and the other was the son of an MP who promised to settle the question of whether boy still lived or not. Lastly, the killer surfaced as Maisie began her investigations. Was it connected to the case. Talented Jacquenline Winspear has written a story that will keep you reading. You will thoroughly enjoy meeting Maisie and the other characters while stepping back in time. A series of subplots woven into the fabric of the whole make for a satisfying and pleasant read. A touch of the paranormal added to the mix of mystery and romance give it a flavor to set it apart from the ordinary mystery. Any reader will find this deserves the title, cozy, even though it doesn't follow all the rules. You'll be looking for other books by this very able author. I know I will.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 16, 2006
In 1930 psychologist sleuth Maisie Dobbs feels a bit overworked as she gets caught up with three situations. First she believes that thirteen yeas old Taunton farm girl Avril Jarvis is innocent of the murder the police accuse her of committing she sends her assistant Billy Beale to Taunton to gather information on the teen. Second, Sir Cecil Lawton asks her to help find the body of his son, Ralph, an RFC pilot shot down in 1917 behind enemy lines, but his body never came home his wife, who just died, extracted a deathbed vow from Cecil to bring their son home. Finally her Girton University friend Priscilla Partridge nee Evernden asks Maisie to look into the death of her brother Peter in France. Maisie reluctantly agrees her hesitation is personal as she hates having to go back to where she drove an ambulance in 1915 while working for the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry and fell in love with Dr. Simon Lynch, whose war injuries left his mind and body incapacitated. --- The third Dobbs historical mystery (see MAISIE DOBBS and BIRDS OF A FEATHER) is a terrific entry as once again the heroine works on cases that involve people still traumatized by WWI over a decade after the hostilities ended. The key characters in the WWI cases still need healing. On top of looking back through time, Maisie also has the ¿modern day¿ case involving the teen farm girl. Life in 1930 England and to a degree via half-truth memories and the investigations of WW I England and France come vividly and freshly to life as Jacqueline Winspear spins a delightful tale. --- Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 3, 2006
Posted August 24, 2005
Those who had the good fortune to read or hear the first story in Jacqueline Winspear's acclaimed Maisie Dobbs series (Maisie Dobbs 2003) were immediately won by an indomitable heroine. Many will remember that the year was 1929 and Maisie had a rather inauspicious beginning in her professional life - she worked as a housemaid. However, by dint of courage, determination and a supportive employer she is able to attend Cambridge. Soon after she volunteers as a nurse and serves in France during the Great War. Following that experience she becomes an investigator, tending to clients in postwar England. Little did she think she would return to France, especially to the site where she witnessed such carnage, but when she is hired by Sir Cecil Dobbs to investigate his son's death during the War she finds herself on fields of battle again. Sir Cecil's wife is dying and she does not believe their son actually died as his body has never been recovered. This is not the only perplexity facing Maisie - she has reason to question her friend and mentor, Maurice Blanche and feels compelled to prove the innocence of a teenage farm girl accused of murder. In a bonus interview on these audio books author Winspear refers to those who lost loved ones during the War by saying, '....I wanted to bring that spirit, that strength, to the character of Maisie Dobbs, along with a sense of a woman who has seen death of the most terrible kind, who has loved and lost, and who came of age when women showed extraordinary resolve.' She did all of this. Broadway and television actress Orlagh Cassidy offers a moving performance on the Unabridged Edition, while the author delivers an equaling affecting reading on the Abridged Edition. - Gail CookeWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 19, 2005
Posted October 5, 2005
I loved this book. Read all 3 of this series within the same week. Thought Maisie Dobbs was good, but a bit dark and macbre. Thought Birds of a Feather was wonderful and Pardonable Lies is equally as good. Maisie, psychologist/investigator took on a case for Sir Cecil Lawton to discover if in fact his son had been killed in the airplane crash during WW one in France. Sir Cecil promised his wife on her death bed that he would try to find the truth re their son. At the same time, while doing some work for Scotland Yard, Maisie was brought in on a case involving a young girl accused of murdering a man. She felt the girl was innocent and asked that Sir Cecil, counsil at law, take her case in lieu of half of Maisie's fee. He agreed. Along with these 2 cases, her college friend Pris, now living with husband and 3 sons in France, asked if Maisie would investigate the death of her brother who was said to be killed in the war. Maisie's mentor, Maurice Blanche advised her not to take on the cases, but she did as she felt obligations on all fronts. As both men were said to be killed in France, it would be necessary for her to return there and face her own dragons of a war where she served as a nurse and her love was physically and mentally damaged. As she gets further involved in the cases, there are several threats to her life. What makes this such a compelling story is that Maisie is so skilled in her ability to analyze people and seek truth. She is so likeable, very intense and determined. In the end truth is discovered in areas she didn't even dream about, but she is able to bring about making positive spins so that all concerned are better off than before she took on these cases. VERY WORHTWHILE reading.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 9, 2008
In 1930 through Sir Julian Compton, Sir Cecil Lawton meets renowned psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs to ask a favor of her, regardless of her high fee. Nervous Cecil explains that his son Ralph served as a member of the Flying Corps, but died in 1917 in France. Cecil¿s wife Agnes believed her son lived in spite of the contrary evidence and turned to spiritualists as her mental state collapsed. Three months just before dying Agnes made Cecil vow on her deathbed to find Ralph. Though she believes this is a wild goose chase, Maisie agrees to make some inquiries although she admits she is not sure how to proceed. She is curious as to how Agnes reconciled her insistence that Ralph lives with the fact that he never came home to see her. Still she begins her inquiries into what happened to Ralph at his home while seeking a legal miracle worker to help embattled Avril Jarvis. Her efforts take Maisie full circle as the clues lead to her college friend Priscilla Evernden, whose lost brother served with Ralph. Meanwhile someone wants the investigation stopped, tampering with Maisie¿s car amongst other attempts to end her inquiries. --- The third Maisie Dobbs investigative tale is a fabulous historical mystery that brings to life two eras, 1930 through the heroine¿s lifestyle and 1917 through the case. The story line is fabulous to follow because of the cast especially the heroine as she digs deep into the past. Readers who appreciate an intelligent well written period piece detective story will enjoy this fine tale and its predecessors (see MAISIE DOBBS and BIRDS OF A FEATHER). --- Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 30, 2010
No text was provided for this review.
Posted April 22, 2009
No text was provided for this review.
Posted December 25, 2010
No text was provided for this review.
Posted June 10, 2009
No text was provided for this review.
Posted November 20, 2008
No text was provided for this review.