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.
This fourth installment in the Maisie Dobbs historical mystery series (after Pardonable Lies) finds our fearless psychologist/inquiry agent investigating the death of artist Nick Bassington-Hope. According to Detective Inspector Stratton, Nick's fall from a set of scaffolding was merely a tragic accident. Nick's twin sister, Georgina, however, insists he was murdered and hires Maisie to discover the truth. Maisie soon finds herself moved by Nick's powerful, often discomforting re-creations of his wartime experiences. But where is the painting on which he was working when he died? Maisie's probing questions and careful listening skills bring her close to danger as she uncovers a series of events leading back to World War I. Meanwhile, her relationship with Andrew Dene slowly unravels as Maisie realizes her work means more to her than he does. The mystery itself is rather transparent, but what makes this book delightful is how Winspear shows Maisie's emotional development amid the bitter legacy of the Great War. Her growing fan base should enjoy this latest entry. Strongly recommended.-Laurel Bliss, Princeton Univ. Lib., NJ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Broadway and television veteran Cassidy continues the subtle, sharp vocal performance that earned her awards for the audio version of Winspear's last Maisie Dobbs mystery, Pardonable Lies. There's a lovely, old-fashioned lilt to Cassidy's reading, reminding listeners of the period (it's now 1931 in an England haunted at every level by the war that officially ended 14 years before). There's still a class battle going on, one that Maisie has straddled because of her unique background: a child of London's working class, put into service at 14, then rescued by a patroness who recognized her intelligence and sent her to study at Girton, Cambridge University's pioneering college for women. So Maisie can treat her working-class East London assistant with the same ease and understanding as she handles her current client a woman from a wealthy, eccentric family whose twin brother, an important artist, was killed in a supposed accident. The bonus interview at the end with Winspear makes listeners realize how similar a mindset Maisie and the author possess. Cassidy and Dobbs are a match made in audio heaven. Simultaneous release with the Holt hardcover (Reviews, June 19). (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"In Maisie Dobbs, Jacqueline Winspear has given us a real gift. Maisie Dobbs has not been created--she has been discovered. Such people are always there amongst us, waiting for somebody like Ms. Winspear to come along and reveal them. And what a revelation it is!" --Alexander McCall Smith, author of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
"Maisie is a sleuth to treasure." --The New York Times Book Review
"Worth cheering about . . . [Winspear] keep[s] her series about the astonishing Maisie Dobbs alive and as fresh as new paint." --Chicago Tribune
"When people ask me to recommend an author, one name consistently comes to mind: Jacqueline Winspear. . . . What makes Winspear so special is her ability to write convincing historical fiction. Going beyond the correct details about headgear and slang from the 1920s and 1930s, she convincingly captures the interior lives of her characters. . . . Wonderful." --USA Today
"Maisie Dobbs, Winspear's brilliant psychological investigator, returns for her fourth adventure. . . . Definitely more of a political and psychological read than a simple whodunit." --Daily News
"What makes this book delightful is how Winspear shows Maisie's emotional development amid the bitter legacy of the Great War. Her growing fan base should enjoy this latest entry. Strongly recommended." --Library Journal