“Absorbing and exciting . . . a fast-breaking case that takes Maisie Dobbs from 10 Downing Street to the meanest of London hovels. The book's puzzle is challenging, but what charms most is Dobbs herself . . . engaging.” The Wall Street Journal
“Maisie has only her considerable wits and empathic skill to help Scotland Yard identify the killer. The hunt gets the pulse racing, but the real draw is Maisie herself, a wonderfully nuanced character . . . . [an] engrossing mystery.” People ****
“[An] accomplished series . . . British mysteries of manners, highly evocative of place, often historical, with a compelling main character . . . Dobbs is intelligent, intuitive, and empathetic (she could be Clarice Starling's prototype).” Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“Maisie Dobbs is a revelation.” Alexander McCall Smith
“With a plot that seems ripped from the headlines, a sympathetic and intriguing heroine and prose that leaves the reader marveling at her powers, Winspear has again created a work of great moral probity in which the horror is leavenedand perhaps even surpassedby the author's encompassing humanity.” Richmond Times-Dispatch
Maisie Dobbs is anything but merry as she walks home on Christmas Eve, 1931. She's just witnessed the suicide of a man on a crowded London street. What unfolds the next day is even more troubling. A letter delivered to the prime minister's office promises massive mayhem, the destruction of thousands of lives -- and, most surprising of all, it mentions Maisie by name. Drawn into the case first as a suspect, then as a consultant, Dobbs realizes that only she and her assistant are standing between a madman and his terrorist dreams.
Aglow with fairy-tale inflections, this hypnotic, neo-Gothic suspense story unfolds like a hothouse bloom, lush and pungent; it's a sprig of nightshade, all petals and poison. And it heralds the arrival of an astonishingly gifted storyteller…Sly, wry and utterly original, Darling Jim is the stuff of alchemy
The Washington Post
Throughout the shifts in narrative voice and tone, the three Walsh sisters maintain their wonderfully modern vitality, while Jim remains a killer charmer in all versions of the story being juggled here: the murder mystery told in real time; the macabre love story disclosed in the journals; and the magical yarn Darling Jim spins about twin princes whose peaceable kingdom falls into ruin when one of them succumbs to his bestial nature and turns into a wolf. No wonder Fiona, Roisin and Aoife were spellbound.
The New York Times
Like the itinerant Irish storyteller at the crux of this riveting novel, Danish-born author Moerk mixes mythology, Arthurian legend, fairy tales, noir and horror in his American debut. When reclusive Moira Hegarty and her two nieces, Fiona and Róisín Walsh, are found dead in Moira's secluded home in a Dublin suburb, evidence suggests the sisters were imprisoned for months by their aunt, along with a third person, perhaps Róisín's twin sister. The young women left behind two diaries, one of which a postal clerk finds. Three years before, they fell under the spell of Jim Quick, a séanachai(or bard), whose tales of wolves and kings gave him rock star status in the sleepy town of Castletownbere. Only the Walsh sisters appear to have seen beyond the charm of "darling Jim," whose presence coincides with several women's murders. Moerk tightly meshes each separate plot strand-the murders, the diaries and Quick's tales-into an enthralling story that never falters. Author tour. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Niall, a young mail carrier in suburban Dublin, finds the diary of a young girl in his dead-letter bin. Its writer is one of three people found dead in a cottage on his route. Local police have few leads, and the locals aren't saying much except to gossip about a dashing young storyteller making the rounds of local pubs and romancing young women, some of whom have turned up dead. The diary tells of a chain of pub stories involving the adventures of a conflicted wolf-prince roaming the countryside and the real-life violent love between the storyteller and the writer's aunt and sister. Niall becomes obsessed with the case and goes where even the police fear to tread to reveal the shocking truth of the serial murders. This darkly gothic tale of contemporary wolverine romance endeavors to have something for everyone: a quaint Irish setting, Celtic mythology, and grisly multiple murders. In an effort to include many of the current themes in popular fiction, this debut novel does not quite hit the mark and will disappoint both gothic and vampire readers alike. Still, the publisher is pushing this with a five-city author tour and publication in 14 countries, so larger collections should purchase a copy. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/09.]
Susan Clifford Braun
Psychologist and private investigator Maisie Dobbs (An Incomplete Revenge, 2008, etc.) returns for the sixth time in this bleak, haunting mystery. Her almost preternatural intuition can tell Maisie there's something broken in a wounded veteran seconds before he pulls the pin on a grenade, killing himself and stunning a street full of Christmas shoppers. Maisie is saved at the last moment by her diligent assistant, Billy Beale, but the Depression has hit Britain hard in the winter of 1931, and there are other desperate men still lurking. This is a London full of suffering souls, from Billy's wife, Doreen, sick with grief over their lost daughter, to lonely Maisie herself. When an anonymous letter threatens more violence to come, Scotland Yard calls on Maisie to track down the would-be killer. Special Branch and Military Intelligence join them, sometimes cooperating, something butting heads, as they comb fascist meetings and asylums for someone capable of visiting the gruesome deaths of the Great War on innocent civilians. As the investigation closes inexorably on the madman in a race against the clock, Winspear manages to offer a final glimmer of hope among the despair. The lamentation over economic crisis, terrorism and traumatized veterans feels both true to its setting and disquietingly contemporary. Well-crafted and well worth reading.
Winspear creates real suspense set against the troubled social and political scene in early -1930s London and Orlagh Cassidy's superb performance creates the voices and the mood.
Cassidy's British dialects and emotional eloquence make characters and events feel real, frightening and relevant to today.