Messenger of Truth (Maisie Dobbs Series #4)

Messenger of Truth (Maisie Dobbs Series #4)

by Jacqueline Winspear

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Overview

Maisie Dobbs investigates the mysterious death of a controversial artist—and World War I veteran—in the fourth entry in the bestselling series

London, 1931. The night before an exhibition of his artwork opens at a famed Mayfair gallery, the controversial artist Nick Bassington-Hope falls to his death. The police rule it an accident, but Nick's twin sister, Georgina, a wartime journalist and a infamous figure in her own right, isn't convinced.

When the authorities refuse to consider her theory that Nick was murdered, Georgina seeks out a fellow graduate from Girton College, Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator, for help. Nick was a veteran of World War I, and before long the case leads Maisie to the desolate beaches of Dungeness in Kent, and into the sinister underbelly of the city's art world.

In Messenger of Truth, Maisie once again uncovers the perilous legacy of the Great War in a society struggling to recollect itself. But to solve the mystery of Nick's death, Maisie will have to keep her head as the forces behind the artist's fall come out of the shadows to silence her.

Following on the bestselling Pardonable Lies, Jacqueline Winspear delivers another vivid, thrilling, and utterly unique episode in the life of Maisie Dobbs.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429901017
Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 04/01/2010
Series: Maisie Dobbs Series , #4
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 8,300
File size: 684 KB

About the Author

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the Maisie Dobbs novels, Maisie Dobbs, Birds of a Feather and Pardonable Lies. Maisie Dobbs won the Agatha, Alex, and Macavity Awards, and Birds of a Feather won the Agatha Award. Originally from the U.K., Winspear 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.

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

Read an Excerpt

Messenger of Truth

A Maisie Dobbs Novel


By Jacqueline Winspear

Henry Holt and Company

Copyright © 2006 Jacqueline Winspear
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-0101-7


CHAPTER 1

"Good morning, Miss Bassington-'ope. Come on in out of that cold." Billy Beale, Maisie Dobbs's assistant, stood by the door to the first-floor office as Maisie allowed the visitor to ascend the stairs before her.

"Thank you." Georgina Bassington-Hope glanced at the man, and thought his smile to be infectious, his eyes kind.

"I've brewed a fresh pot of tea for us."

"Thank you, Billy, that will be just the ticket, it's brassy out there today." Maisie smiled in return at Billy as she directed Georgina into the room.

Three chairs had been set by the gas fire and the tea tray placed on Maisie's desk. As soon as her coat was taken and hung on the hook behind the door, Georgina settled in the middle chair. There was a camaraderie between the investigator and her assistant that intrigued the visitor. The man clearly admired his employer, though it did not appear to be a romantic fondness. But there was a bond, and Georgina Bassington-Hope, her journalist's eye at work, thought that perhaps the nature of their work had forged a mutual dependence and regard—though there was no doubt that the woman was the boss.

She turned her attention to Maisie Dobbs, who was collecting a fresh manila folder and a series of colored pencils, along with a clutch of index cards and paper. Her black wavy hair had probably been cut in a bob some time ago but was now in need of a trim. Did she not care to keep up with a hairdressing regime? Or was she simply too busy with her work? She wore a cream silk blouse with a long blue cashmere cardigan, a black skirt with kick pleats and black shoes with a single strap across to secure them. It was a stylish ensemble, but one that marked the investigator as someone who set more stock by comfort than fashion.

Rejoining Georgina, Maisie said nothing until her assistant had seen that the guest had tea and was comfortable. Georgina did not want to confirm her suspicions by staring, but she thought the woman was sitting with her eyes closed, just for a moment, as if in deep thought. She felt that same sensation of warmth enter her body once more, and opened her mouth to ask a question, but instead expressed gratitude.

"I'm much obliged to you for agreeing to see me, Miss Dobbs. Thank you."

Maisie smiled graciously. It was not a broad smile, not in the way that the assistant had welcomed her, but the woman thought it indicated a person completely in her element.

"I have come to you in the hope that you might be able to help me...." She turned to face Maisie directly. "You have been recommended by someone we both know from our Girton days, actually."

"Might that person have been Dame Constance?" Maisie inclined her head.

"However did you know?" Georgina seemed puzzled.

"We rekindled our acquaintance last year. I always looked forward to her lessons, and especially the fact that we had to go to the abbey to see her. It was a fortuitous connection that the order had moved to Kent." Maisie allowed a few seconds to pass. "So why did you visit Dame Constance, and what led her to suggest you should seek me out?"

"I must say, I would have had teeth pulled rather than attend her tutorials. However, I went to see her when ..." She swallowed, and began to speak again. "It is in connection with my brother's ... my brother's—" She could barely utter another word. Maisie reached behind her into a black shoulder bag hanging across the back of her chair and pulled out a handkerchief, which she placed on Georgina's knee. As the woman picked up the pressed handkerchief, the fragrant aroma of lavender was released into the air. She sniffed, dabbed her eyes and continued speaking. "My brother died several weeks ago, in early December. A verdict of accidental death has been recorded." She turned to Maisie, then Billy, as if to ensure they were both listening, then stared into the gas fire. "He is—was—an artist. He was working late on the night before the opening of his first major exhibition in years and, it appears, fell from scaffolding that had been set up at the gallery to allow him to construct his main piece." She paused. "I needed to speak to someone who might help me navigate this ... this ... doubt. And Dame Constance suggested I come to you." She paused. "I have discovered that there was little to be gained from badgering the police, and the man who was called when my brother was found seemed only too pleased when I told him I was going to talk to an inquiry agent—I think he was glad to get me out of his sight, to tell you the truth."

"And who was the policeman?" The investigator held her pen ready to note the name.

"Detective Inspector Richard Stratton, of Scotland Yard."

"Stratton was pleased to learn that you were coming to see me?"

Georgina was intrigued by the faint blush revealed when Maisie looked up from her notes, her midnight-blue eyes even darker under forehead creases when she frowned. "Well, y-yes, and as I said, I think he was heartily sick of me peppering him with questions."

Maisie made another note before continuing. "Miss Bassington-Hope, perhaps you could tell me how you wish me to assist you—how can I help?"

Georgina sat up straight in the chair, and ran her fingers back through thick, drying hair that was springing into even richer copper curls as the room became warmer. She pulled at the hem of her nutmeg-brown tweed jacket, then smoothed soft brown trousers where the fabric fell across her knees. "I believe Nicholas was murdered. I do not think he fell accidentally at all. I believe someone pushed him, or caused him to fall deliberately." She looked up at Maisie once more. "My brother had friends and enemies. He was a passionate artist and those who expose themselves so readily are often as much reviled as admired. His work drew both accolades and disgust, depending upon the interpreter. I want you to find out how he died."

Maisie nodded, still frowning. "I take it there is a police report."

"As I said, Detective Inspector Stratton was called—"

"Yes, I was wondering about that, the fact that Stratton was called to the scene of an accident."

"It was early and he was the detective on duty apparently," added Georgina. "By the time he'd arrived, the pathologist had made a preliminary inspection...." She looked down at the crumpled handkerchief in her hands.

"But I am sure Detective Inspector Stratton conducted a thorough investigation. How do you think I might assist you?"

Georgina tensed, the muscles in her neck becoming visibly taut. "I thought you might say that. Devil's advocate, aren't you?" She leaned back, showing some of the nerve for which she was renowned. Georgina Bassington-Hope, intrepid traveler and journalist, became infamous at twenty-two when she disguised herself as a man to gain a closer view of the lines of battle in Flanders than any other reporter. She brought back stories that were not of generals and battles, but of the men, their struggle, their bravery, their fears and the truth of life as a soldier at war. Her dispatches were published in journals and newspapers the world over and, like her brother's masterpieces, her work drew as much criticism as admiration, and her reputation grew as both brave storyteller and naive opportunist.

"I know what I want, Miss Dobbs. I want the truth and will find it myself if I have to. However, I also know my limitations and I believe in using the very best tools when they are available—price notwithstanding. And I believe you are the best." She paused briefly to reach for her cup of tea, which she held in both hands, cradling the china. "And I believe—because I have done my homework—that you ask questions that others fail to ask and see things that others are blind to." Georgina Bassington-Hope looked back at Billy briefly, then turned to Maisie once again, her voice firm, her eyes unwavering. "Nick's work was extraordinary, his views well known though his art was his voice. I want you to find out who killed him, Miss Dobbs—and bring them to justice."

Maisie closed her eyes, pausing for a few seconds before speaking again. "You were very close, it seems."

Georgina's eyes sparkled. "Oh, yes, we were close, Miss Dobbs. Nick was my twin. Two peas in a pod. He worked with color, texture and light, I work with words." She paused. "And it has occurred to me that whoever killed my brother may well want to silence me too."

Maisie nodded, acknowledging the comment deliberately added to intrigue her, then she stood up, moved away from the fire and walked across to the window. It was snowing again, settling on the ground to join the brown slush that seeped into shoe leather only too readily. Billy smiled at their guest and pointed to the teapot, indicating that perhaps she might like another cup. He had been taking notes throughout the conversation, and now knew his job was to keep their guest calm and quiet while Maisie had a moment with her thoughts. Finally, she turned from the window.

"Tell me, Miss Bassington-Hope: Why were you so reticent to keep your appointments? You canceled twice, yet you came to Fitzroy Square in any case. What caused you to renege on your contract with yourself on two—almost three—occasions?"

Georgina shook her head before replying. "I have no proof. I have nothing to go on, so to speak—and I am a person used to dealing with facts. There's a paucity of clues—indeed, I would be the first to admit, this looks like a classic accident, a careless move by a tired man using a rather precarious ledge upon which to balance while preparing to hang a work that had taken years to achieve." She paused briefly before continuing. "I have nothing except this." She pressed her hand to her chest. "A feeling here, right in my heart, that all is not as it should be, that this accident was murder. I believe I knew the very second that my brother died, for I experienced such an ache at what transpired, according to the pathologist, to be the time of his death. And I did not know how I might explain such things and be taken seriously."

Maisie approached Georgina Bassington-Hope and gently laid a hand on her shoulder. "Then you have most definitely come to the right place in that case. In my estimation, that feeling in your heart is the most significant clue and all we need to take on your case." She looked at Billy and nodded, whereupon he flipped over a new card. "Now then, let us begin. First of all, let me tell you about my terms and the conditions of our contract."


MAISIE DOBBS HAD been in business as a psychologist and investigator for almost two years, having previously been apprenticed to her mentor since childhood. Blanche Dr. Maurice Blanche, was not only an expert in legal medicine, but himself a psychologist and philosopher who had provided a depth of learning and opportunity that might otherwise have been unavailable to his protégé. Now, with a steady stream of clients seeking her services, Maisie had cause for optimism. Although the country was in the grip of economic depression, there were those of a certain class who barely felt the deepening crisis—people like Georgina Bassington-Hope—which in turn meant that there was still plenty of business for an investigator with a growing reputation. The only dark cloud was one she hoped would remain at a good distance. During the autumn of the previous year, her own shell shock had reared up, resulting in a debilitating breakdown. It was this malaise, compounded by a rift with Blanche, that had led to a loss of trust in her mentor. Though in many ways she welcomed the newfound independence in the distance from him, there were times when she looked back at the rhythm of their work, at the rituals and processes, with an ache, with regret. At the outset of a case, following a preliminary conversation with the new client, Maurice would often suggest a walk or, if the weather was poor, simply a change in the seating arrangement. "As soon as that contract is signed, Maisie, we shoulder the weight of our load, open the gate and choose our path. We must therefore move the body to engage our curiosity again after taking on the task of administrator."

Now, with the contract signed by both Maisie and Georgina Bassington-Hope and poor weather preventing all possibility of a walk, Maisie suggested the trio move to the table by the window to continue the conversation.

Later, after the new client had left, Maisie and Billy would unfurl a length of plain wallpaper across the table, pin the edges to the wood, and begin to formulate a case map of known facts, thoughts, feelings, hunches and questions. As the work went on, more information would be added, with the mosaic eventually yielding up previously unseen connections pointing to the truths that heralded closure of the case. If all went well.

Maisie had already jotted some initial questions on an index card, though she knew that many more would come to mind with each response from her new client. "Miss Bassington-Hope—"

"Georgina, please. 'Miss Bassington-Hope' is a bit of a mouthful, and if we are to be here for any length of time, I would rather dispense with the formalities." The woman looked from Maisie to Billy.

Billy glanced at Maisie in a way that made his discomfort at the suggestion obvious.

Maisie smiled. "Yes, of course, as you wish. And you may call me Maisie." Though she was not at all sure she was really open to such an informality, her client's preference must be honored. If she were relaxed, information would flow more readily. Both women now looked at Billy, who blushed.

"Well, if you don't mind, I think I'll stick to your proper name." He looked at Maisie for guidance, then turned to the woman again. "But you can call me Billy if you like, Miss Bassington-'ope."

Georgina smiled, understanding the predicament she had placed them in. "All right, then, Billy—and how about just 'Miss B-H' for me."

"Right you are. Miss B-H it is."

Maisie cleared her throat. "Well, now that we have that little conundrum out of the way, let's get on. Georgina, first I want you to tell me as much as you know about the circumstances of your brother's death."

The woman nodded. "Nick has—had—been preparing for this exhibition for some time, over a year, in fact. His work was becoming very well known, especially in America—there are still a fair few millionaires and they are buying up everything from poor old Europe, it seems. Anyway, Stig Svenson of Svenson's Gallery on Albemarle Street—he's more or less Nick's regular dealer—offered him a special exhibition that comprised both earlier and new works. Nick jumped at the chance, especially as he thought the gallery would be the ideal place to unveil a piece he has been working on, one way or another, for years."

Maisie and Billy exchanged glances, and Maisie interjected with a question. "Why was it perfect for his work? What did the gallery have that made him so excited?"

"Stig had just had the whole place ripped apart and painted—and Nick had already made it clear that he needed a certain amount of room for the new pieces." Georgina held out her arms to help describe the gallery. "Essentially, there are two sort of square bay windows at the front—they're huge—with a door in between, so you can clearly see in from the street, though you cannot view each individual piece. Svenson has—as you might imagine—a very modern, Scandinavian idea of how to use room. It's very bright, every inch of his gallery modeled to display a piece to its advantage. He's had the latest electric lighting installed, and fittings that direct beams in such a way as to create shadows and light to draw buyers in." She paused, to see if her audience of two were keeping up. "So, at the far end there is one huge blank wall almost two floors high for larger pieces, then on both sides a galleried landing, so that you walk in as if you are walking into a theater, only there are no seats and you are not on a gradient—and it's completely white. You can go to either side, up stairs to the landings, but there are screens to divide the room in sections so that you never actually see the whole pièce de résistance—if there is one—until the end. All very clever."

"Yes, I see." Maisie paused, tapped her pen against the palm of her left hand, then spoke again. "Would you describe his 'pièce de résistance' for us?"


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear. Copyright © 2006 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.

Reading Group Guide

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The following author biography and list of questions about Messenger of Truth 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 Messenger of Truth.

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Messenger of Truth (Maisie Dobbs Series #4) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 60 reviews.
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
Messenger of Truth is the fourth book in the Maisie Dobbs series by British-born American author, Jacqueline Winspear. When the death of controversial artist Nicholas Bassington-Hope, from a fall whilst setting up his latest exhibition, is ruled as accidental, his twin sister Georgina is unconvinced. Georgina, an outspoken journalist, seeks out the help of Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator. In the course of her investigations, Maisie meets the bohemian Bassington-Hope family, Nick’s fellow artists from the colony at Dungeness, his promoter, gallery owner Stig Svenson, and the collector who is determined to own all of his work, wealthy American Randolph Bradley. And while all the evidence points to an unfortunate fall, Maisie soon finds that plenty of possible motives exist for Nick’s murder. Nick was known for including real people in his paintings, careless of whom it might upset. Did his latest masterpiece, secreted away in an unknown lockup, offend the wrong person? Or did he fall foul of his younger brother’s contacts with the underworld? Was Randolph looking to increase the value of his collection (as the death of an artist is bound to do), or annoyed that he refused to sell the masterpiece?  What were his artist friends, of late noticeably wealthier, hiding? Were the recent quarrels with his siblings relevant? Maisie is left to determine the true story alone, as Billy Beale has problems of his own. DI Stratton is being less than helpful and things come to a head with Maisie’s suitor, Andrew Dene. This instalment touches on war artists, war propaganda, the atrocities of war, the scourge of childhood diseases, and the loss of art works to richer countries. Stolen heirloom diamonds, European works of art and smugglers all feature as Maisie delves into the world of art. Winspear develops her main characters further and gives the reader an original plot with enough twists to keep the pages turning. Winspear uses some wonderfully descriptive prose: her depiction of the converted railway carriage is particularly evocative. This is another excellent mystery that skilfully conjures the feel of post-war England and her inhabitants. Fans will look forward to the next book in the series, An Incomplete Revenge. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As usual, a superb mystery with an interesting cast of characters ............... Maisie never disappoints!!
BookReflections More than 1 year ago
Set in London after the Great War, Maise Dobbs has quite a mystery on her hands. Nicholas Bassingon-Hope, upcoming artist, has fallen to his death. His sister Georgina feels in her heart that her twin brother has been murdered and when the police do not believe her, she turns to Maisie. Without any clues to point to murder, Maisie takes the case, determined to bring peace to the Bassington-Hope family one way or the other. Before I write anything else, I have to state how much I LOVE this cover. It is so creative and looks a-mazing in person. I love reading mysteries that are also historical fiction because the mysteries are solved without any fancy technology. It just seems like good detective work. Maisie is so smart and analytical. It reminded me a bit of when I was younger and I was reading Nancy Drew. While I appreciated the writing and the backdrop of the story, the plot was a bit slow for my tastes. I felt like clues were being uncovered and the relevance wasn't explained to the reader until the big unfolding at the end. For me, this meant I didn't feel any excitement from the mystery. I didn't feel driven to turn each page. I also didn't connect or like Maisie very much. She appeared to be a character that was a bit to polished and judgmental for my tastes.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Yes%2C+again+i+had+no+idea+where+the+culprit+lay.+i+can+never+guess+what+this+writer+has+in+store+and+it+is+why+i+am+on+to+the+next+book+in+the+series.++I+suggest+Masie+to+everyone+I+know.++
thornton37814 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Maisie sets out to investigate the death of an artist (Nick Bassington-Hope) when his twin has a feeling that there may have been more to the event than the accidental death ruled by the police investigation. Her assistant Billy's daughter is fighting an illness. Maisie recognizes the need to get out of her relationship with Andrew Dene. The investigation leads them to Nick's converted railroad car properties in Dungeness as well as to the London nightlife and art world. This installment resonated more with me than previous installments in the series. I found myself wishing that I could actually see an exhibit of the fictitious artist's work!
Kathy89 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Chose this book because it was on the "Agatha" awards runners' up list for best book of 2007 and I had read the first one in this series and enjoyed it. It had a post WW1 English setting, which was interesting; and the plot revolved around the suspected suicide of a troubled artist. The artist's twin hires Maisie believing it was murder and the police don't; but I found the heroine, Maisie to be very uncharismatic.
EJStevens on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Messenger Of Truth, the fourth book in the Maisie Dobbs mystery series, is filled with a pervasive melancholy that casts its shadow upon Massie and her clients. Jacqueline Winspear masterfully creates a tangled emotional web in which Maisie, with her fine-tuned skills of sensitivity, is ensnared. The war is over but the devastation and dire economic situation have resulted in crime, disease, death and desperation throughout Maisie¿s beloved London. When Miss Dobbs is called upon by a fellow former student of Girton College to investigate the circumstances of the death of her brother, a controversial war artist, there are no shortage of suspects or motives if indeed his death were not an accident. Maisie must face her own war demons if she is to find the answers necessary to solve the case. A task made all the more difficult by the tragic events in the life of her assistance Billy and faced with the deteriorating romantic relationship with Andrew Dene.
cbl_tn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In this fourth Maisie Dobbs novel, psychologist and private investigator Maisie takes on a case at the request of a fellow Girton alumnus. Georgina Bassington-Hope, a noted war-time correspondent, is not satisfied with the ruling of accidental death in her twin Nick's fall from scaffolding at an art gallery. Nick was an artist, and was at the gallery alone to set up the pieces of his masterwork for an exhibition. Nick was very secretive about his work; no one else had seen the work, and no one knew what had happened to it after his death. Maisie's investigation exposes her to a different sort of people than she is used to -- artists, wealthy art patrons, and the wealthy Bassington-Hope family, whose economic situation affords them the freedom to adopt a bohemian lifestyle.This is the best novel yet in the Maisie Dobbs series. Maisie is very much alone in this novel, having left the comfort of the home of friend and former employer Lady Rowan Compton for a flat of her own. As a result of her last major case, she is estranged from her mentor, Maurice Blanchard. She is even deprived of the support of her assistant, Billy Beale, when a family crisis claims his attention.Maisie suffered a breakdown in the previous novel in the series, and when this book opens she is still recovering from its effects. The Bassington-Hope case is her first major case since the breakdown, and those closest to her are concerned that she has taken on too much too soon. Although Maisie has always been self-aware, her breakdown has left her in an even more reflective state. As the title of the book suggests, truth is a theme in this novel. A large part of the impact of Nick Bassington-Hope's art is the truths it depicts, especially of truths of character or activities that its subjects wish to conceal. Maisie's contemplation of truth in connection with her investigation leads her to recognize some unwelcome truths in her own psyche. By the end of the novel she seems to be well on the way to attaining some peace in her personal life.Because Maisie's character development is such an important feature of this series, I recommend reading the previous books in the series before reading this one.
MusicMom41 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm having a dilemma and so is my public library system about how to classify the Maisie Dobbs series. Some of the local libraries, including mine, are putting these novels in the adult fiction area while others are classifying them as adult mystery (at least there is no doubt that they are "adult"). Although I filed the previous reviews I've done on this series under mysteries, I have decided that they really do belong in general fiction. The plots are more complex than most mysteries and involve more than one plot thread; although sometimes these threads overlap, they are not neatly tied into a tidy package at the end and usually there are things to ponder when the last page is read. The "mystery" in each novel is not a puzzle to be solved but a story to be unraveled so that one or more characters can go on with his/her life. There is character development within each story and not only with continuing series characters. One of the chief delights of the series is how Winspear takes us back to an historical time, the period between to two World Wars of the 20th century in England. We get to see the effects of this period across the entire social strata from the poor struggling to survive to the "last hurrah" of the peers of the realm who have no clue what is happening in the lower levels of society.This entry in the series concerns the death of a famous artist on the eve of the opening of his largest exhibition. While working on how he will exhibit his largest masterpiece, which no one has ever seen nor knows what it consists of, he accidentally falls to his death from the scaffold on which he is working. His twin sister is not satisfied with the explanation of the police about his death and goes to Maisie Dobbs to have her investigate not only the death but what happened to the missing masterpiece. Because the artist was a "war artist" there are memories of the war revived, in addition to a portrait of a once wealthy landed family dealing with not only artistic temperament but also how to cope with straitened circumstances. Both Maisie and her aide, Billy, also have problems with which Maisie must deal. This is a very satisfying if somewhat sobering story. I highly recommend this series.To me an interesting connection between this story and The Red Badge of Courage, which I also read this month, is that both novels have a scene where a cease fire is called so that the warring armies can go out on the battlefield to remove their wounded and bury their dead. In Winspear's novel there is poignant description of a meeting between soldiers from opposite sides who accidentally meet face to face amid the carnage and hug each other as they shed tears for their dead comrades. This is followed by a horrifying account of what happens to one of the soldiers when he returns behind his own army's line.
sumariotter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This series started a little bit slowly but keeps getting better and better. One of the blurbs for this book says that Winspear writes "Whydunnits" rather than "Whodunnits" and this is very true--she writes with great psychological insight into her characters. Her plots never seem contrived, and the historical background is really rich. She brings that period of time--1900s to 1930s in postwar England-- vividly to life...although I must say her heroine's compassionate and intuitive approach to detective work are ahead even of our times, sort of a conundrum. Maisie Dobbs is not just an investigator, she is a holistic healer. If only all who are involved in police/detective work had this approach!
tututhefirst on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is probably my least favorite of the series so far. Maisie is hired by Georgina Bassington-Hope to investigate the unusual circumstances of her twin brother's death. Nick, who was an artist apparently fell from a scaffold while preparing to hang his defining work for an exhibit. No one knows what this work looks like, or where Nick has stored it, and Georgina is convinced that although the police have ruled his death accidental, he was actually helped to his death (murdered?). She hires Maisie to dig out the truth. And of course Maisie comes through. The story again was well written, well-plotted (the ending is stunning), but I just found parts of it a bit of a stretch. Still well worth the time though.
bremmd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well, Jacqueline has done it again. Made me Mad for Maisie all over again. Just when I think I can¿t love the next one as much as the last, I read the next and love it more.One of the issues I sometimes have with series is the character either never changes, grows, or evolves or he or she change in ways I do not enjoy. This cannot be said about Maisie. I love the way she grows and develops over each novel. She learns more about her self and we learn more about her. This entry in the series is no exception. And though I¿m sad at where some of her growth has taken her I¿m still love our girl.I wasn¿t surprised by the conclusion of her relationship with Dr. Dene but I did find it very sad. I thought maybe it would just fade away into friendship and maybe they will end up as friends later but it was a very sad moment in Maisie¿s growth. I was also sad to see the riff between Maisie and Maurice hasn¿t quite healed yet. I hope to see them come back together in the next books.I was incredibly happy to see Billy back in the mix but was heartbroken by his storyline. I held out hope till the end that things would turn out well for Billy and his family but appreciate why it had to happen the way it did. It was much more honest.I think as Maisie grows we need less of her emotional story and more mystery and this episodes mystery really had me guessing. Much more of a ¿who-done-it¿ than the past books this really was (as they might say in ¿the smoke¿) a jolly good mystery. Another devastating family story but really very good.I¿m reading this as part of the I¿m Mad for Maisie Read-Along hosted by Book Club Girl. Even if your not reading along head on over. There¿s some great discussion that I¿m sure will make you want to read this series. We¿re about half way through but it¿s not too late to join, just pick up a copy and start reading-you won¿t be sorry.
bjmitch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For months now I've been reading other bloggers' reviews of Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs mysteries. Everyone likes them. So, I looked in the box of books given to me a while ago and found Messenger of Truth. This isn't the first in the series, but I don't usually have the opportunity to read a series in order so I plunged right in.This story is set in London in 1931. The setting is of a changed city after World War I where some women have taken on new types of jobs but the poor are still almost Dickensian in their lives and the rich are oblivious to their plight. Maisie has, after a breakdown, set herself up as a psychologist and inquiry agent (Private Eye) with an assistant, Billy Beale, who is a poor man with a large family to support. He feels fortunate to have a job and is immensely loyal to Maisie. She has also rented her own apartment, though the heat is iffy in this very cold winter.Her client in the story is Georgina Bassington-Hope (love the name) whose brother, Nick, an artist, has died in an apparent accident. He fell from large scaffolding erected to mount his latest work, what everyone suspects is a triptych. There is a younger brother, Harry, who plays the trumpet and is eternally in debt to dubious people, and an older sister, Noelle, who is the practical member of an artistic, creative family. She is also a war widow. The parents, both artists, are still alive, living in the old family home.All of these characters are splendidly drawn. I must admit I've been catching myself talking like a Londoner in the 1930s. Along with the immediate mystery of whether Nick fell or was murdered, there is a pervasive, lurking suspicion involving the rise of Hitler's Nazi Party in Germany. What does it all mean for Europe and particularly England? We are introduced to Nick's best friends, also artists, Billy's family, Maisie's father, and her beau. Lots of characters, but reading the book is something like sitting in a comfortable room beside a roaring fire on a cold winter day as a good storyteller weaves a magical tale. I thought it started out slowly but the characters were interesting enough to draw me in until I was deeply involved. I want to read the older books now, but not having done so didn't dampen my enthusiasm about Messenger of Truth at all. No wonder my book blogging friends rave about Winspear's books.
WeeziesBooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The book ¿Messenger of Truth¿ in the Maisie Dobbs series was particularly interesting to me. It had a touch of family dynamics with loyalties and love and conflicting with passion and protection. Exploring the lives of artists, discovering smuggling activities, and further developing the strong characters in the series and Winspear does and excellent job developing and recounting these subplots. In this installment, Maisie and her assistant Billy embark upon another business contract where they are hired to find out the truth of an artists¿s death. Is it murder or accidental death of the new clients brother? Billy¿s family had challenges and sadness in this book and the gentleness of Maisie¿s character is illuminated several times. The flash backs of the war are always touching and help us all remember the sacrifices made by all men and women who have fought in battle This book is filled with those pictures and thoughts as they are in others of the series. Read the books of the series in order if possible. I have not acquired them in correct order and I still am enjoying them; however, it tells a complete story if you read them in proper progression. This is a 4 plus light mystery told in a historical fiction manner.
michigantrumpet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Number four in the Maisie Dobbs series. Artist Nick Bassington-Hope's late night death while installing his latest paintings for a much anticipated show has been ruled an accident. His sister, Georgina, isn't so certain and hires Maisie Dobbs to investigate. Like all of the books to this point, Winspear uses her platform to discuss the fate of soldiers and their families, coming to grips with the horrors of warfare and the lack of jobs, proper healthcare and services upon their return. As a former nurse at the Front, Maisie has her own demons with which to contend. Having moved into her own flat, she appears to have come a long way towards addressing her own issues. A fast and enjoyable read.
Kimaoverstreet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear, the fourth installment in the Maisie Dobbs series, is a wonderful continuation of the story of this PI, her assistant Billie, and London in the aftermath of WWI. Subplots connect beautifully, as Maisie and Billie work to determine if an artist's death was an accident or murder. Messenger of Truth is resplendant in historical detail and beautiful prose, and is recommended highly to anyone that is a Maisie Dobbs fan!
turtlesleap on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Maisie Dobbs is a perennial favorite and this book, while lacking some of the complexity of her earlier novels, doesn't disappoint.
hemlokgang on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Audiobook...........It is a subtly powerful pleasure to follow along the evolution of Maisie Dobbs, Psychologist/Detective. Jacqueline Winspear does a lovely job of delving into the impacts, small and large, of WWI on the English. It is heartrending and uplifting at the same time. Really good mystery!
ethelmertz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was not my favorite of the Maisie Dobbs books--too much exposition. It took about 100 pages to really get going, but it was an interesting story once it go started.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Must be read in order to make sense.
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