Maisie Dobbs Bundle #2, An Incomplete Revenge and Among the Mad: Books 5 and 6

Maisie Dobbs Bundle #2, An Incomplete Revenge and Among the Mad: Books 5 and 6

by Jacqueline Winspear

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429994668
Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 02/15/2011
Series: Maisie Dobbs Series
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 640
Sales rank: 41,734
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of An Incomplete Revenge—a New York Times bestseller—and several other Maisie Dobbs novels. She has won numerous awards for her work, including the Agatha, Alex, and Macavity awards for the first book in the series, Maisie Dobbs. Originally from the United Kingdom, she now lives in 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.


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

Maisie Dobbs Bundle #2

By Jacqueline Winspear

Henry Holt and Company

Copyright © 2008 Jacqueline Winspear
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-9466-8


Marta Jones surveyed her students, casting her eyes around the studio, with its high ceilings and skeins upon skeins of colored yarn hanging from laundry racks raised up with pulleys and secured on the wall, and the six wooden looms pressed against one another, for space was at a premium. Her desk — a battered oak table set next to the door — was covered in papers, books and drawings, and to her right, as she faced her class, an ancient chaise longue was draped with an old red velvet counterpane to hide darnings and tears in the upholstery. Several spinning wheels were set against the wall to the left of the room, alongside a box where she kept wool collected on Sunday excursions into the country. Of course, she ordered untreated wool directly from her suppliers, but she liked to collect tufts from the hedgerows, where sheep had pressed against hawthorn or bramble to ease an itch and left behind a goodly pull of their coats.

She had taken on students with some reluctance. Even though the rent on her studio close to the Albert Hall was cheap enough due to an ancient land law that provided for artists, her commissions had diminished and she was forced to look for additional income. So she had placed one small advertisement in the newspaper, and written to those who had purchased her works in the past, to let them know that she was taking in a "small number of students to learn the art and craft of traditional tapestry." In general, her students were a motley group and definitely better off; the working classes could barely afford to eat, let alone spend money on frivolities. There were two ladies from Belgravia who thought it might be "rather fun" to spend a Saturday afternoon or evening here each week, chatting as they worked their shuttles back and forth, following the sketched cartoon image that lay beneath the lines of warp and weft.

Another two friends, well-funded students from the Slade seeking a class beyond their regular curriculum, had joined, as had a poet who thought that work in color would enhance the rhythm and pulse of his language. Then there was the woman who spoke little but who had come to Marta's studio after seeing the advertisement. Watching her now, the artist was fascinated by this particular student, drawn to the changes she had observed since class began. The woman had explained that she had recently been exposed to the world of art — she said it as if it were an unfamiliar country — and that she wanted to do "something artistic," as her work was far removed from such indulgence. She had smiled and gone on to say that she had never produced a proper painting, even as a child, and she thought she could not sketch at all, but she was drawn to tapestry, attracted to the weaving of color and texture, to a medium that did not present an immediate image but, when one stood back to regard the day's endeavor, a picture began to take form. "It's rather like my work," she had said. And when Marta asked about the woman's profession, she paused for a moment and then drew out a card, which she offered to the artist. It said, simply:



Marta thought that this one evening each week was the woman's only recreation, but with each class, something about her seemed to change almost imperceptibly, though the artist found the effect to be quite extraordinary. Her clothes had become more colorful, her artistry more bold as she gained confidence. On the evening when they had experimented with dyeing, taking the yarns they had spun during the previous week, pressing them down into buckets of dye, and then pulling them out to hang first over sinks in the studio's own scullery before looping them over laundry racks to dry, she had rolled up her sleeves and simply laughed when color splashed across her face. The Belgravia matrons had frowned and the poet appeared shy, but soon this woman, who had appeared so reticent at first, so slow and measured in her interactions with fellow students, had come to be the lynchpin in the class — without saying much at all. And, Marta thought, she was very good at drawing out stories. Why, only today, while Maisie worked at her loom, her fingers nimble as she wove threads of purple, magenta and yellow, she had asked the teacher but two questions and soon knew the entire story of the woman's coming to England from Poland as a child. In fact, as she answered the questions that Maisie Dobbs put to her, the whole class knew in short order that Marta's father had insisted that his children learn only English, so that they would fit in and not be marked as foreigners. And her mother had ensured the family dressed in a way that did not set them apart from their new friends, who knew them as the Jones family — that most British of names, adopted as they disembarked from their ship once it had docked at Southampton.

Marta smiled, as she watched Maisie Dobbs work at her loom, and picked up her card again, PSYCHOLOGIST AND INVESTIGATOR. Yes, she must be very good at her trade, this woman who had, without any effort at all, encouraged six people to tell her far more about themselves than they would ever imagine recounting — and all without revealing much about herself, except that she was newly drawn to color.

JAMES COMPTON WALKED at a brisk pace past the Albert Hall, taking advantage of the warm September evening. As his right-hand man in Toronto would have said, he had a head of steam on him, frustration with a land purchase that had proved to be fraught with problems. He did not even care to be in London again, though the thought of returning had at first seemed filled with promise. But the Compton family mansion at Ebury Place had been mothballed, and staying at his father's club and spending each evening with crusty old men languishing amid tales of doom regarding the economy and reminiscences that began with "In my day ..." was not his idea of fun.

Of course, life in the city of Toronto was not all beer and skittles — after all, he had a corporation with diversified interests to run — but there was sailing on the lake and skiing in Vermont, across the border, to look forward to. And the cold was different — it didn't seep into his war wounds the way it did here. He thought of men he'd seen at the labor exchanges, or soup kitchens, or simply walking miles across London each day in search of work, many of them limping, wounds nagging their memories each day, like scabs being picked raw.

But Toronto might have to wait for him a bit longer. Lord Julian Compton, his father, wanted to relinquish more responsibility and was already talking of having James step up to replace him as chairman of the Compton Corporation. And that wasn't all that was bothering him, as he glanced at the scrap of paper upon which he had scribbled the address given to him by Maisie Dobbs during their conversation this morning. His mother, Maisie's former employer and longtime supporter, had always encouraged her husband and son to direct any suitable business in Maisie's direction if possible, so she was the first person he'd thought to telephone when a property transaction began showing signs that it might become troublesome.

"Goddammit!" said James, as he thought of his father's office in the City once again.


James Compton looked up, frowning, then smiled, his eyes crinkling at the corners when he saw Maisie waving from the other side of the road. He crumpled the paper and pushed it into his jacket pocket as he walked across to greet her. "Maisie Dobbs! I was so lost in thought I almost walked straight past!" He paused as she offered him her hand. "Maisie, what on earth have you been doing?"

Maisie regarded her hands, then reached into her shoulder bag and brought out her gloves. "It's dye. I couldn't get it out of my hands and should have put on my gloves immediately — but I can't do much about the splashes on my cheek until I get home." She looked into the eyes of her former employer's son, then reached out to touch his arm. "How are you, James?"

He shrugged. "Well, the engagement's off, that's the first bit of news for you. And as you know, I'm here in England on business — duty calls at the Compton Corporation's London office." James consulted his watch. "Look, Maisie, I know I said this wouldn't take much more time than it would to drink a cup of tea, but I am starving, and I wonder — do you have time for a spot of supper? I've been wrangling —"


"Excuse me, I forgot where I was. Let me start again. I've been considering — worrying about, to tell you the truth — this business transaction I mentioned, and I've not eaten a thing all day."

"Well, we'd better do something about that, hadn't we? I'm rather hungry myself."

James turned and signaled a taxi-cab. "Come on, let's go to a charming little Italian dining room I know — just around the corner from Exhibition Row."

"YOU LOOK DIFFERENT, Maisie." James Compton reached for a bread roll, pulled it apart, and spread one quarter with a thick layer of butter.

"The dye has that effect." Maisie grinned, looking up from the menu. "You haven't changed a bit, James."

"Well, the blond hair has a bit of gray at the sides, but thank heavens it doesn't show much. If I can still walk as upright as my father when I reach his age, I will be more than grateful." He poured a glass of Chianti and leaned back. "You seem more ... I don't know, sort of ... lighter."

"I assure you I am not."

"No, that's not what I mean. It's your demeanor. You seem lighter within yourself, as our Mrs. Crawford would have said." He looked at Maisie, her black hair, cut just above the shoulders to run parallel with the line of her chin, her fringe brushing against black eyebrows that seemed to deepen her violet-blue eyes. She wore a mid-calf-length wool barathea skirt in a rich purple hue, with a red blouse and blue coat — clearly old but well maintained — that draped to mid-thigh. Her shoes, with a single strap buttoned at the side, were of plain black leather. A silver nurse's watch was pinned to her lapel.

"Oh, Mrs. Crawford. What will you do for gingersnaps, James, now that your favorite cook has retired?"

James laughed, and for some minutes they spoke of the past, neither shying from the loss of Enid, Maisie's fellow servant at the Compton household so many years past, a young woman who had been in love with James and whom he had loved in return. Enid died in an explosion at the munitions factory where she worked, in 1915.

"So, tell me how I can help you." Maisie glanced at her watch as she directed the conversation to the reason for their meeting. She did not want to make a late return to her flat in Pimlico, for her day's work was not yet done.

As they ate supper, James described the business transaction that was giving him so much trouble and for which he had seen an opportunity to seek her help.

"There's a large estate down in Kent that I want to buy, on the outskirts of a village called Heronsdene. It's about ten or so miles from Tunbridge Wells — and not that far from Chelstone, actually. The estate is pretty similar to many of its kind in Kent — you know what I mean: a large manor house, Georgian in this case, tenant farmers to manage the land, hunting privileges. But this property has something I'm particularly interested in — a brickworks. It's a small concern. Produces the sort of bricks used in those pseudo-posh neo-Tudor affairs they're building in the new London suburbia. And they manufacture old-fashioned peg tiles for repair of the older buildings you see all over Kent and Sussex."

Maisie set down her knife and fork, reaching for her table napkin. "And you're interested in the brickworks because there's a building boom despite all indications that the economy isn't showing signs of improvement."

"That's right. Now is the time to buy, ready to make a mint when we're on an even keel, even sooner if output can be improved." James pulled a silver cigarette case from the inner pocket of his jacket. "Mind?'

Maisie shook her head.

James continued. "So, despite Ramsay MacDonald being pressed to form a National Government to get us through this mess, and well-founded talk of Britain going off the gold standard any day now, there's still room for optimism — and I want to move ahead soon."

"So what's stopping you, and how can I help?" Maisie waved a hand in front of her face as diplomatically as possible to ward off smoke from James's cigarette.

"I have my doubts about the landowner, a man called Alfred Sandermere. He's the younger son but became heir to the estate when his brother, Henry, was killed in the war. I knew Henry, by the way — good chap, excellent man — but the brother has done nothing but draw funds from the estate, leaving it on the verge of bankruptcy — which of course means I get value for my money. It's essentially a fire sale."


James Compton extinguished his cigarette, pressing it into a glass ashtray which he then set to one side, away from Maisie. "There's been some funny business going on down there, and if there is one thing the Compton Corporation likes, it's a clean transaction. We may move fast in circumstances such as these, but we don't get our hands dirty."

"What's been going on?"

"Mainly what appears to be petty crime. There's been vandalism at the house and at the brickworks. The farmers haven't reported anything amiss, and the villagers — many of whom are employed at the brickworks — are keeping quiet about it."

Maisie frowned. "That's not unusual. You are talking about rural Kent, after all."

"No, this is different. The locals have been almost silent, no one hurrying to point the finger. And you know how unusual that is, especially when there are diddakoi in the area."

"Diddakoi or Roma? They're different, James."

"Alright, people who travel with caravans. Doesn't matter what they are, the locals are always pretty quick to blame them for all manner of ills — either them or the Londoners."

Maisie nodded, understanding. "Hop-pickers?"

"Last year, yes. Of course, the police from Tunbridge Wells couldn't do much; they tend to let the villages just get on with it. And it's not as if there was any lasting damage. But I don't like these reports, Maisie. If we move on this, I have to ensure that the brickworks is at maximum output from the first day of ownership. We'll expand from there. And given the dependence upon local labor, goodwill and no vandalism are of the essence. Of course, the tenant farmers will remain as such, no plans to change that arrangement."

"So what do you want me to do?"

"I want you to look into matters, find out if there's anything amiss locally that would affect our purchase of the Sandermere estate. You have three weeks — perhaps a month — to compile your report. That's all the time I have now, and it's not much where property of this kind is concerned." He poured more wine for himself, setting the bottle back on the table when Maisie shook her head and rested her hand to cover the top of her glass. "I know it's not the sort of case you're used to," he continued, "but you were the first person I thought to call."

Maisie nodded, lifting her glass of Chianti to her lips. She sipped the wine, then put down her glass with one hand as she reached for her shoulder bag and took out a small writing pad with the other. She made several notations, then circled a number before tearing off the sheet and passing it to her supper companion. "I assume my fee is acceptable to you." It was a statement, not a question.

James Compton smiled. "There's another thing that's changed, Miss Maisie Dobbs. I do believe you've become a canny business proprietor."

Maisie inclined her head, as James took a checkbook from his pocket. "An advance against expenses." He scribbled across the check and passed it to Maisie. "You'll have your work cut out for you. Hoppicking's about to start, and the place will be teeming with outsiders."

The investigator nodded. "Then it's the perfect time, James, the perfect time. We'll have your report ready in a month — at the latest."


Excerpted from Maisie Dobbs Bundle #2 by Jacqueline Winspear. Copyright © 2008 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.

Table of Contents


An Incomplete Revenge,
Among the Mad,

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Maisie Dobbs Bundle #2, An Incomplete Revenge and Among the Mad: Books 5 and 6 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great series. Mystery, history, subtle romance, the devastation of war, society and class separations, and family dynamics. Winspear's background in history of fashion is most evident in the first 2 books. She develops into an accomplished mystery writer as the series progresses. I enjoyed the background history woven into the plot and intertwined with Maisie's love and life.
TeechTX More than 1 year ago
My review of the 1st Maisie Dobbs bundle (#s 3 & 4) applies equally to this bundle of #s 5 & 6. Drawing on her past as a field nurse in France during WWI and her remarkable education, both formal and informal, Maisie unravels more and more complex cases, much to the dismay of her male counterparts in the police forces. Set against the social change in England between the wars, these later entries in the series continue its excellence.
telltales More than 1 year ago
Maisie Dobbs series takes place in England after World War 1. The series tells the story of a young girl who overcomes hardships gets an education and advances herself. She becomes a nurse in WW1. After the war she becomes a PI. Each book tells the story of Maisie as she goes through life, they not only tell you of her adventures but also of England in that period of time. All of the books in this series are 5*. I would recommend that you read the series in order. The series is suitable for young adults as well as adults. The series drives home the importance of a good education. Well done as you can see I am a big fan.
Anonymous 6 months ago
The Maisie Dobbs Series, wonderful historical fiction, keeps the main characters linked to the past, but growing in many ways with each successive mystery. I am looking forward to read the next ones!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are a fan of Agatha Christie and love reading about early 20th Century Life (ala Downton Abbey), you will enjoy these stories. Can't wait to start the next "bundle".
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This book was one of my first purchases on my nook several years ago. Tonight I decided to reread it but it will not open for me. I keep getting a message that there is a problem with my purchase even though I am not purchasing the book that has been in my library for years ! There is no other option or help available. I hate amazon and hope Barnes and Noble will producea worthy product to keep kindle from being the only game in town but this does not support my hope! Come on nook!
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Are to funny go find a man and youll really no what its like