Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear

A deathbed plea from his wife leads Sir Cecil Lawton to seek the aid of Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator. As Maisie soon learns, Agnes Lawton never accepted that her aviator son was killed in the Great War, a torment that led her not only to the edge of madness but also to the doors of those who practice the dark arts and commune with the spirit world." Maisie accepts the assignment - determined to prove Ralph Lawton either dead or alive - and in doing so is plunged into a case that tests her spiritual strength, as well as her regard for her mentor, Maurice Blanche. The mission also brings her together once again with her college friend Priscilla Evernden, who served in France and who lost three brothers to the war - one of whom, it turns out, had an intriguing connection to the missing Ralph Lawton.

This is my third Maisie Dobbs mystery and my favourite so far. In this one Maisie ends up involved in three different mysteries - she tries to help a young girl charged with murder; she is hired to prove if a young aviator, Ralph Lawton, was actually killed during the war and her old school friend Priscilla asks her to find out how one of her brothers died in the war.

I think that what made me like this one so much is that there was a bit more of history here than in previous books. Maisie actually has to travel to France to find out the answers she needs and a lot is mentioned about life during the war. Then there seemed to be less of Maisie's "supernatural" powers in this one which, to me, is always a good thing. And her mentor Maurice Blanc seems to be more involved than we knew in the war's intelligence service.

There were strong characters, interesting plots and the mysteries were engaging although we could guess at a distance what had separated Ralph Lawton from his father and I think Maisie finding what happened to him involved quite a bit of luck. In the end my favourite resolution was the mystery of what happened to Priscilla's brother.

I am now looking forward to see how Maisie will do in future mysteries since she probably won't feel as close to Maurice as she did thus far.

Grade: 4/5

1 comment:

  1. Yay! I LOVE this series. I just read the newest one and it was still going strong. I hope you continue to enjoy it!