An Incomplete Revenge (Maisie Dobbs Series #5)

An Incomplete Revenge (Maisie Dobbs Series #5)

by Jacqueline Winspear


$16.23 $17.00 Save 5% Current price is $16.23, Original price is $17. You Save 5%. View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Monday, February 25

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312428181
Publisher: Picador
Publication date: 11/25/2008
Series: Maisie Dobbs Series , #5
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 50,374
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the 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 UK, Winspear now lives in California.


Ojai, California

Date of Birth:

April 30, 1955

Place of Birth:

Weald of Kent, England


The University of London¿s Institute of Education

Read an Excerpt

An Incomplete Revenge
A Maisie Dobbs Novel

By Winspear, Jacqueline Henry Holt and Co.
Copyright © 2008
Winspear, Jacqueline
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780805082159


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 invitingtrouble. 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.


Excerpted from An Incomplete Revenge by Winspear, Jacqueline Copyright © 2008 by Winspear, Jacqueline. Excerpted by permission.
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.

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.

Discussion Questions

1. Divided between past and present, between her female gender and her male-dominated profession, and between her British identity and part-gypsy ancestry, Maisie Dobbs is a character of intense inward divisions. How do these divisions both complicate and strengthen Maisie as a character?

2. A variety of pivotal scenes in An Incomplete Revenge involve dramatic uses of fire. What range of moods, feelings, or symbolic meanings does fire represent in the novel?

3. Although several of the residents of Heronsdene are developed individually as characters, the townspeople are also dominated by an ominous group psychology. What might Winspear be suggesting through her portrayal of this town about the limits of people's abilities to think or choose for themselves?

4. Maisie is freer from class prejudice than most of the other characters in Winspear's novel. Nevertheless, does an awareness of class difference influence her relationships with people like Billy Beale and Priscilla Evernden? How?

5. Animals, especially dogs and horses, appear prominently in An Incomplete Revenge. How do their presence and the way they are treated help us to better understand Winspear's human characters?

6. Followers of the Maisie Dobbs series have shared the heroine's dread anticipation of the death of her long-incapacitated friend Simon Lynch. Does his death in An Incomplete Revenge affect Maisie (or you) in the ways that you anticipated? What choices does Winspear make in describing Maisie's emotional response, and do you agree with them?

7. A character from a previous Maisie Dobbs mystery observed that war is despicable because it is "not over when it ends." How might this seeming paradox be applied to An Incomplete Revenge? Through the death of Simon Lynch and the group confession that marks a climax in the novel, do you think Maisie and the townspeople of Heronsdene are moving toward a long-awaited closure, or do you think they will continue to be trapped and haunted by the memories of the Great War? On what do you base your judgment?

8. What is Maisie's attitude toward the gypsy elements in her ancestry? In a novel that counsels the acceptance and understanding of different ethnicities, is Maisie sufficiently accepting of her own mixed heritage?

9. At the end of the novel, Maisie dances alone in her apartment. Discuss the significance of this gesture.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

An Incomplete Revenge (Maisie Dobbs Series #5) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 74 reviews.
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
An Incomplete Revenge is the fifth book in the Maisie Dobbs series by British-born American author, Jacqueline Winspear. James Compton, son of Maisie’s long-time patron, Lady Compton, is in the process of purchasing a large estate at Heronsdene, Kent for the family company, but some incidents of petty crime, vandalism and small fires in the area are cause for concern, so Maisie is engaged to conduct enquiries. It is early autumn of 1931, and as these cases all seem to occur during the hop harvest, it is especially convenient that her assistant, Billy Beale usually takes his family for a working holiday hop-picking at this time, and is able to contract to the farm on said estate. The waters are muddied, somewhat, by the influx of large groups of Londoners and gypsies, all taking part in the harvest, and the fact that the villagers of Heronsdene seem reluctant to involve the police or fire-brigade. It appears that the land-owner, Alfred Sandermere, is a poor businessman and not well-liked by his tenant farmers or the villagers. A theft from the Manor house, blamed on two young London boys, sees Maisie visiting the gypsy matriarch in search of information. Maisie notices that the mood in the village is unusual: there is an undercurrent of fear in addition to the resentment and suspicion that the presence of the Londoners and gypsies usually brings. It seems the villagers are still keenly feeling the wartime loss of many of their young men, and are strangely hesitant to discuss the Zeppelin raid that occurred in 1916. In trying to determine if this is a case of sabotage, insurance fraud, opportunistic theft by itinerant workers or something else entirely, Maisie’s investigations lead her to encounters with a determined journalist, a dishonest vicar, a loyal dog, some reticent villagers, a luthier and a very snobbish land-owner. She helps to fight a fire, learns to dowse for silver, attends two funerals, dances with gypsies, reconciles with an old friend and picks some hops. Winspear touches on school bullying, prejudice against gypsies and anyone who is different, mob mentality and, of course, revenge. Her extensive research into gypsy customs and beliefs and into hops and hop picking in the early 20th century is apparent in every page. This gentle-paced mystery has quite a twist in the tail: a shocking crime that only becomes apparent in the last few chapters. Once again, an excellent read that will have Winspear fans looking forward to the next book in the series, Among The Mad. 
Mme-Librarian More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Seajack on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Keeps the series moving along nicely
bremmd on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I know I've said this about the other Maisie Dobbs books but this really is my favorite so far. The mystery was very complex and interesting. We got to know more about Maisie family history. Maisie was able to release some of the pain of her past and embrace her future. And Pris was back.I always knew there was something in Maisie's past that gave her her gift and sure enough she does. Her gypsy grandmother must have passed on more than just Maisie's jet black hair. It was nice to see Maisie get in touch with that part of her while investigating a land sale for James Compton, the son of her former employers Lady and Lord Compton. I love the way she found a place for herself with Beulah, Webb, and Paishy and was able to grow. I have to say the thing I'm really enjoying with each new novel is watching Maisie loosen up and start to enjoy life. I love that she's finding time to have some fun.This was definitely the darkest of all the mysteries Maisie has dealt with and I was equally heartbroken and horrified by what happened. It was an interesting look at small communities devastated by war. I can't even imagine what it must be like to lose so many young men at one time. Another thing I think these novels do is to show the wide spread and long lasting impact of war. It's not over when it's over-that's for sure.Maisie also closes the door on a huge part of her past. I don't want to give anything away but the novel will definitely set Maisie on her way forward into the future. And in doing so is able to start to mend her relationship with Maurice Blance. Hopefully she will be able to move on and find a little romance. I'm really keeping my fingers crossed Maisie will be getting a boyfriend soon.And, yippee, Priscilla is back. I love Pris. I love that she calls Maisie on her s0litary, work-filled life. I love how honest she is about the past and is able to live her life in full and wants Maisie to do the same. She really forces Maisie forward so well. I love her rough and tumble boys and her obvious love for them. And I love that Maisie has a friend who she is comfortable with.It was great to see Billy, Frankie, and Maurice back again. I'm worried about Billy leaving for Canada and I have no idea what Maisie will do without him but I'll worry about that when it comes. For all the horribleness of the mystery and all the sad turn of events there really was quite a bit of joy as well. Come on, how bad can it all be when it ends with Maisie dancing?Oh, one last thing. I found it utterly fascinating and an interesting perspective that Billy was on "holiday" while working hop-picking. Just getting out of "the smoke" was the vacation. I don't know if I would think that was much of a vacation. Hmmm.If you're reading along with the I'm Mad for Maisie read-along with Book Club Girl head on over and join the discussion. And if you haven't started reading Maisie Dobbs-get off the stick, you don't know what your missing.
stephaniechase on LibraryThing 8 months ago
While I am not a huge mystery fan, I am a huge Maisie Dobbs fan. Winspear writes eloquently about post WWI Britain and the scars felt by its citizens, British class society, opportunities for women, the rapid changes in life in the countryside and the city... and all with a wonderful voice, and an intensely likeable investigator in Maisie.
horacewimsey on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Winspear has delivered yet again. The Inter-War Years is a great period, and Winspear does a splendid job of bringing that period to life through her Investigator/Psychologist Maisie Dobbs.
cathyskye on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Protagonist: Maisie DobbsSetting: Kent, England, 1931Series: #5First Line: The old woman rested on the steps of her home, a caravan set apart from those of the rest of her family, her tribe.Businessman James Compton wants to buy an estate in the village of Heronsdene in Kent but hesitates after learning of a rash of mysterious fires. He hires Maisie to investigate. After meeting the current landowner, Londoners and a band of gypsies who are all there to harvest hops, Maisie soon learns that Compton was right to be suspicious. There's something else going on, too: the locals are very tight-lipped about a Zeppelin raid that killed an entire family in the village. It takes all of Maisie's skill to get to the bottom of it all.I enjoy this series, not just for the characters and the twists and turns of the plot, but for the glimpse into the lives of the British in the years after World War I. The "War to End All Wars" wrecked havoc all over the nation, changing forever the way people viewed themselves, others, and the world around them. Winspear does a marvelous job weaving all these threads together in a series of books that enduce you to keep turning the pages.Being a psychologist as well as an investigator helps Maisie with her investigations. Her experiences as a casualty clearing station nurse in France and all of her training give her insight into how to get answers to her questions. I had deciphered many of the clues in the book as I read, but the ending still had an impact. Human beings are indeed the most dangerous, and gullible, creatures on the planet.
ethelmertz on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I enjoyed this one much more than the last--more action and less exposition.
MusicMom41 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This is one of my favorite mystery series and it is holding up very well. It is summer and time for many of London¿s poor to go into the country to earn extra money by picking hops. Maisie is also working on a job near one of the major hop picking areas and Billy manages to get his family attached to a farm in that area also. Thy mystery involves a town in which there have been numerous acts of vandalism, mostly involving small fires which the inhabitants insist are merely due to their own carelessness.I enjoy this series especially for depiction of life in England after WWI and for the continuing development of the recurring characters as they adjust to life after the war. These are not ¿puzzle¿ mysteries; rather they are novels that contain an element of mystery in their plots. Highly recommended¿but start with the first one, Maisie Dobbs, which isn¿t a mystery at all, but sets up the series.
picardyrose on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I didn't like the first Maisie Dobbs, but this is pretty good even if it is something about insurance.
NewsieQ on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Psychologist-investigator Maisie Dobbs takes on an assignment from son of her former employer and mentor, Lady Compton. James Compton's company is considering the purchase of an estate near Kent, just outside the village of Heronsdene. Since the end of the Great War, the village has experienced a rash of petty crime: fires, vandalism, and thefts. Before Compton Corporation makes a considerable investment in the brickworks associated with the estate, James wants to know what's what in Heronsdene. It seems like a straightforward enough task and Maisie's business has been slow. But, of course, things get complicated and Maisie -- with her legendary curiosity -- goes the extra mile to sort out the village. Having been the granddaughter of a Gypsy woman, Maisie makes friends with the travelers who are in Heronsdene for hop-picking. Also there for the same reason are Billy Beale and his family -- he's Maisie's able assistant. The trek to Heronsdene gets the family into the country for a time each year and helps them put aside money to emigrate to Canada, long a dream for the war veteran. Soon, Maisie discovers that the village's history of petty crime goes back more than a decade to a tragic Zeppelin attack during World War II -- a bombing that killed a Dutch baker, his wife and daughter. Now it's up to Maisie to figure out what really happened.I've been somewhat disappointed in the last two Maisie Dobbs novels, feeling they weren't quite up to the high standard as the first two. Don't get me wrong -- I would still recommend ALL the books in this series, but in An Incomplete Revenge (#5), Ms. Winspear is back to top form and I'm not going to wait another day to start reading Among the Mad, published in 2009l 02/22/2010
little_prof on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Maisie is asked by her patron's son to investigate some irregularities surrounding a property he wishes to purchase. Maisie sees this as the perfect assignment to get her out of London for a bit and check in on the Beale family while they are picking hops in the country. Maisie arrives in the idyllic village only to be confronted with theft, arson, bigotry, and a pompous arrogant young landowner. Almost as disturbing are the secrets the villagers are keeping about a tragedy during the war and Maisie's own reactions to the group of gypsies that have come for the hopping. With villagers blaming their woes on the Londoners and the gypsies; and the Londoners blaming gypsies and villagers; and the gypsies mostly keeping their own council, Maisie will have to step lively to reach the truth. Luckily for her there is a gifted musician to provide accompaniment as she weaves her way through secrets and revenge.
Kimaoverstreet on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The fifth book in the Maisie Dobbs series, An Incomplete Revenge, follows Maisie as she investigates a rash of crime in the Kent countryside for her patron's son, who is considering purchasing property there. Like the rest of the series, this book is rich in historical detail and full of well-developed characters. I highly recommend An Incomplete Revenge for followers of the Maisie Dobbs series!
Wiskara on LibraryThing 8 months ago
My favorite of the Maisie Dobbs series so far. I enjoyed the character development and finally felt some real realtionship with Maisie. Several loose ends from other books in the series were tied up quite nicely in this novel. I especially liked the emotional conflicts presented and the serious consideraton given to their resolution. This novel was very engaging and felt like a very real picture of life for a independent woman in the 1930's UK. I eagerly anticipate the next book in the series.
Kathy89 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
There was a lot of character development for Maisie in this book and also for Billie. The mystery was easy to solve as Maisie was hired to do an investigative report on property that her former benefactor's son wanted to purchase. Maisie deals with Simon's condition, his mother, her friend Penelope, mentor Maurice and her ailing father while befriending gypsies and solving the case of the stolen property.
DrApple on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I once again loved the historical setting of this Winspear book. This one added the element of gypsies (or Roma) to the atmosphere created by England after the first world war. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable read.
aardvark2 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
In this Maisie Dobbs mystery, it¿s autumn of 1931 and Maisie is in Kent during hop-picking season. She¿s investigating a series of thefts and fires in a village in which her employer wishes to buy the property of the last remaining member of a gentry¿s family. Londoners and gypsies, both there for the hop picking, are the obvious suspects, but Maisie¿s investigation leads her back to WWI and a Zeppelin bombing of the village. Continuing in this book is the story of Maisie¿s past as a WWI nurse in France and her relationship with the doctor with whom she fell in love, and who was severely wounded. The relationship suffers a profound and permanent change.Gypsies and their lifestyle play an important part in this book, and it is revealed that Maisie¿s grandmother had been a gypsy. The annual migration of people to the country to participate in hop picking (which included the author¿s grandparents) provides an interesting bit of history. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The plot is good, the characters interesting, the historical information well-woven, and Maisie herself continues to grow as a person.
vampireeat on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Had I not won this as one of Early Reviewer books, I probably would never have picked it up. Really, that's a shame. This is probably the book that I've had the most enjoyable experience reading that I've gotten from the ER program. Other than "Any Given Doomsday" - this is the only fiction book I've gotten. And if you read my review for the former, you know I didn't think that book was particularly well written. This book, however, is.Don't get me wrong. The pacing of this book is very slow. Very little action and very little plot, ultimately. It's about a woman in England during the 1920's that works as a private investigator. Except she's kind of been chilling out and taking art classes since no one has really been hiring her. I must admit, I kind of liked the Maisie Dobbs I met at the beginning a little better. The one who likes making tapestries and who is learning how to relax. The minute she gets this case she gets wound pretty tight, which I guess is how she was in the other books.I like that this is the fifth book in a series and I didn't really notice. Many mentions are made to Maisie's past, but in a way that makes me want to go read the other books and not take away from my job of reading this one. It took some getting used to with the dialogue from England; I did not, for example, truthfully understand everything her assistant said in very strong cockney, but I tried to put it all in context. I like how all the relationships are shown and explained both past and present; her assistant, her father, her old mentor, and her dying lover. The latter being the most sad of the stories, her visits to his bedside were what really got me into the book. I also loved Maisie's crazy best friend with the three French sons. I wish I had a friend like that.Give this book a chance. It's by no means the best book I've ever read, but it's well-written and a pretty engaging tale. I'm pretty hard to please and I really liked it. You just might like reading it, too.
SWilley on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I jumped into the series starting with this book and now I am going back to start at the beginning. I really enjoyed this book, the reading is not heavy so I could pick it up on a work night for pleasure reading, while at the same time feeling I was spending my time on something worthwhile. It was intelligently written and I loved the gypsy references. Can't wait to read more about Maisie Dobbs.
lg4154 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
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.
turtlesleap on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Winspear's series is captivating. in Maisie Dobbs, she has created a most interesting heroine and has placed her stories in England immediately following World War II. "An Incomplete Revenge" takes place about a decade after the war when Maisie is well-established as a detective. Consulted by the son of her former employer and benefactor to look into some oddities associated with the purchase of a brickwork in rural England, Maisie becomes involved with a band of gypsies, a strangely reticent rural community and local tragedy. She is also able to resolve some purely personal issues that have haunted her. Winspear's novels each seem to have a "theme" that ties the threads of the story together. This one focuses on school bullying and its sometimes tragic results. For potential readers, do be sure to read the first in the series, which sets up the main character and the surrounding circumstances. Winspear is an accomplished enough writer that it's not strictly necessary to do so but certainly would enhance enjoyment of the subsequent books.
readerbynight on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I was very taken with this book I loved the many textures and the fullness of characters, the setting of the late 1930s interspersed with a background story from WWI. I had never read a Maisie Dobbs story before but am fast becoming a new fan! Quite aside from the many mysterious happenings, I enjoyed learning of hop-picking, and the rich fullness of gypsies and gypsy lore.Jacqueline Winspear has a very fluid voice in telling the story, understands the nuances in people, fear, hope, revenge, forgiveness, and the need to live a full life. The formation of who Maisie is unfolds throughout the book. She is a strong woman, conscientious, tolerant and compassionate. Her title of psychologist and investigator might well read psychic investigator, given her abilities and attunement to nature. There were many strands to be woven in this tapestry, with a lot of knots and tangles. The mysteries maintained a strong level and I was happy to see so much of the tapestry tied off in the Epilogue.The many characters in the book are victims of the very crimes they were involved in and you cannot help but feel the fear and incitement for what was done without even realizing why. The despicable but lazy ¿Lord of the Manor¿ of the village is one of the feeblest strong-arms I¿ve ever met in a book, I think. Does he deserve the outcome? Most probably, but maybe it was once again the easy way of doing things. Overall, a very honest and satisfying read, you can be sure I will be reading more of Maisie¿s cases. Thanks to Jacqueline Winspear for one of my new favourite series! I recommend this book for the light mystery it is, a great antidote for between heavier tomes, enjoyable and fulfilling; I do like a book that I can learn something new from, too.
Marensr on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I discovered the Maisie Dobbs series of mysteries sometime back and have enjoyed them as a casual read for their mix of mystery and history and a strong heroine. However, in An Incomplete Revenge I think Winspear has reached new level of assurance and skill in her writing. The historical details are well integrated into the story and there is more personal character development for Maisie. For those who are not familiar with the series, Maisie has risen from the lower orders to obtain a university education. She was a nurse during World War I, where she saw her Doctor fiancé injured by shrapnel. He survived but was not the same and had to have constant care in an institution. Maisie took over the investigative practice of her mentor Maurice Blanche and many of the cases she investigates reveal other wounds of the Great War.In An Incomplete Revenge, Maisie is investigating the sale of a brickworks but finds secrets haunting the nearby village of Heronsdene and the encamped gypsies (Roma) and visiting Londoners there to harvest hops.I appreciate the way Winspear uses the mystery form to explore the larger questions of personal responsibility, the ramifications of World War I, class and gender issues in the rapidly changing interwar period. The series is an enjoyable thought provoking read and An Incomplete Revenge is a standout. I am only surprised no one has yet adapted the series for television.
BinnieBee on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I received this book as an early reviewer. I really liked the way the mysteries were drawn out and solved as the story developed. I'm afraid I could not give it my full, undivided attention as I normally like to do when reading, but I had a lot on my mind when I was reading this book.I will try to read more of Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs novels when I am able to concentrate on them better. I actually think I have read some of her earlier books, but I have no recording of having read it. I like her characters very much and I think Winspear does an excellent job of hinting at and then revealing the hidden secrets that make up the great mystery of this novel.