Pardonable Lies (Maisie Dobbs Series #3) by Jacqueline Winspear, NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Pardonable Lies: A Maisie Dobbs Novel

Pardonable Lies: A Maisie Dobbs Novel

4.5 40
by Jacqueline Winspear
     
 

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In the third novel of this bestselling series, London investigator Maisie Dobbs faces grave danger as she returns to the site of her most painful WWI memories to resolve the mystery of a pilot's death.

A deathbed plea from his wife leads Sir Cecil Lawton to seek the aid of Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator. As Maisie soon learns, Agnes Lawton never

Overview

In the third novel of this bestselling series, London investigator Maisie Dobbs faces grave danger as she returns to the site of her most painful WWI memories to resolve the mystery of a pilot's death.

A deathbed plea from his wife leads Sir Cecil Lawton 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 to the doors of those who practice the dark arts and commune with the spirit world. In accepting the assignment, Maisie finds her spiritual strength tested, as well as her regard for her mentor, Maurice Blanche. The mission also brings her together once again with her college friend Priscilla Evernden, who served in France and who lost three brothers to the war—one of whom, it turns out, had an intriguing connection to the missing Ralph Lawton.

Following on the heels of the triumphant Birds of a Feather, PARDONABLE LIES is the most compelling installment yet in the chronicles of Maisie Dobbs, "a heroine to cherish" (Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review).

Editorial Reviews

A dying plea spurs Maisie Dobbs's tantalizing investigation. Agnes Lawton never truly believed that her beloved aviator son, Ralph, had died on a World War I battlefield. Now on her deathbed, she implores her knighted husband to find the truth about her offspring's disappearance. For psychologist/detective Dobbs, the case has troubling personal dimensions. Her search not only forces her to grapple with her own painful memories of the Great War; it leads her to doubt the merits of her mentor, Maurice Blanche.
Marilyn Stasio
As long as she doesn't turn into a total saint, Maisie is a sleuth to treasure.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Agatha-winner Winspear's engrossing third Maisie Dobbs novel maintains the high quality of its predecessors, Maisie Dobbs (2003) and Birds of a Feather (2004). In late 1930, the London "psychologist and investigator" gets involved in three cases: proving the innocence of a 13-year-old farm girl, Avril Jarvis, accused of murder; undertaking a search for Sir Cecil Lawton's only son, a pilot shot down behind enemy lines in WWI, whose body was never recovered; and looking into the circumstances of the death of her university friend Priscilla Evernden Partridge's brother in France during the war. Maisie must go back to the region where, 13 years earlier, she served as a nurse, and confront her memories of mud, blood and loss. Filled with convincing characters, this is a complex tale of healing, of truth and half-truth, of long-held secrets, some, perhaps, to be held forever. Winspear writes seamlessly, enriching the whole with vivid details of English life on a variety of social levels. Agent, Amy Rennert. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
A pilot's death forces London investigator Dobbs to face the trauma of her World War I memories, as well as grave danger in this third volume of the best-selling series. Winspear lives in Southern California. With a 12-city author tour. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-It is 1930 and Maisie Dobbs has been operating her detective cum psychiatric agency for more than a year. Her mentor, Maurice Blanche, a cross between Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot, has retired and she has been successful on her own. But a new case threatens to take her back to a place she has been trying to forget: France, where she was a nurse during the Great War. She has been hired by a successful QC (Queen's Counsel) to prove that his only son did die in the war and was not still alive as his recently deceased wife believed. The case seems to pit her against Blanche, and she becomes as fearful of him as of the strange man following her. This case and one she casually takes on for a friend seem to converge frighteningly, and she is emotionally and physically exhausted by the time she wraps them up. Teens will get a great feel for the time between the World Wars and the social and economic milieu as the Depression approaches and the losses of 1914-'18 seem more trenchant. Maisie is indomitable and inspiring, and she must try to find space in her increasingly busy life for her father and her beau while helping her clients to deal with the scars they carry. A thought-provoking series entry, the story contains revelations of secret missions, homosexuality, the lives of persons from all layers of society, and a winning heroine who is not perfect and is willing to learn from her mistakes.-Susan H. Woodcock, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781429900997
Publisher:
Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
04/01/2007
Series:
Maisie Dobbs Series , #3
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
8,749
File size:
625 KB

Read an Excerpt


ONE
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.”

Meet the Author

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the Maisie Dobbs novels, Maisie Dobbs and Birds of a Feather, both BookSense selections. A New York Times Notable Book, Maisie Dobbs has been nominated for several awards, including the Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best Novel. The novel won the Agatha and Macavity Awards, as well as the Alex Award for an adult novel suitable for young adults. Originally from the United Kingdom, she now lives in Southern California.
Jacqueline Winspear is the New York Times bestselling author of the Maisie Dobbs novels. The first in the series, Maisie Dobbs, won the prestigious Agatha Award for Best First novel, the Macavity Award for Best First Novel, and the Alex Award. She won an Agatha for Best Novel for Birds of a Feather and a Sue Feder/Macavity Award for Best Historical Mystery for Pardonable Lies. Winspear was born and raised in the county of Kent in England. Her grandfather had been severely wounded and shell-shocked in World War I, and learning his story sparked her deep interest in the "war to end all wars” and its aftereffects, which would later form the background of her novels. Winspear studied at the University of London's Institute of Education, then worked in academic publishing, in higher education and in marketing communications in the UK. She immigrated to the United States in 1990 and embarked on her life-long dream to be a writer. In addition to her novels, Winspear has written articles for women’s magazines and journals on international education, and she has recorded her essays for public radio. She divides her time between Ojai and the San Francisco Bay Area and is a regular visitor to the United Kingdom and Europe.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Ojai, California
Date of Birth:
April 30, 1955
Place of Birth:
Weald of Kent, England
Education:
The University of London¿s Institute of Education
Website:
http://www.jacquelinewinspear.com

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