Pardonable Lies (Maisie Dobbs Series #3)

Pardonable Lies (Maisie Dobbs Series #3)

by Jacqueline Winspear

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Overview

In the third novel of this bestselling series, London investigator Maisie Dobbs faces grave danger as she returns to the site of her most painful WWI memories to resolve the mystery of a pilot's death.

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 to the doors of those who practice the dark arts and commune with the spirit world. In accepting the assignment, Maisie finds her spiritual strength tested, 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.

Following on the heels of Jacqueline Winspear's triumphant Birds of a Feather, PARDONABLE LIES is the most compelling installment yet in the chronicles of Maisie Dobbs, "a heroine to cherish" (Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312426217
Publisher: Picador
Publication date: 06/27/2006
Series: Maisie Dobbs Series , #3
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 41,651
Product dimensions: 5.55(w) x 8.19(h) x 0.76(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the Maisie Dobbs novels, Maisie Dobbs and Birds of a Feather, which won the Agatha Award for Best Novel. A New York Times Notable Book, Maisie Dobbs was nominated for a record eight awards, including the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Novel, and won both the Agatha and Macavity Awards for Best First Novel, as well as the Alex Award for an adult novel suitable for young adults. Born in England, Winspear now lives in California.

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



Pardonable Lies



A Maisie Dobbs Novel



By Winspear, Jacqueline


Picador



Copyright © 2006

Winspear, Jacqueline

All right reserved.


ISBN: 0312426216




Chapter One 

The young policewoman stood in the corner of the room. Plain whitewashed walls, a heavy door, a wooden table with two chairs, and one small window with frosted glass rendered the room soulless. It was a cold afternoon and she'd been in the corner since coming on duty two hours ago, her only company the rumpled and bent girl sitting in the chair that faced the wall. Others had come into the room to sit in the second chair: first, Detective Inspector Richard Stratton, with Detective Sergeant Caldwell standing behind him; then Stratton standing while a doctor from the Maudsley Hospital sat before the girl, trying to get her to speak. The girl--no one knew her age or where she had come from because she hadn't spoken a word since she was brought in this morning, her bloodstained dress, hands and face showing a month's worth of dirt--was now waiting for another person who had been summoned to question her: a Miss Maisie Dobbs. The policewoman had heard of Maisie Dobbs, but with what she had seen today, she wasn't sure that anyone could get this young scrubber to talk.
 
The policewoman heard voices outside the door: Stratton and Caldwell and then another voice. A smooth voice. A voice that was neither loud nor soft, that did not need to be raised to be heard or, thought the policewoman, toget someone to listen.
 
The door opened and Stratton came in, followed by a woman she presumed to be Maisie Dobbs. The policewoman was surprised, for the woman was nothing like she had expected, but then she realized that the voice had revealed little about the owner, except that it had depth without being deep.
 
Wearing a plain burgundy suit with black shoes and carrying a worn black leather document case, the visitor smiled at both the policewoman and Stratton in a way that almost startled the uniformed woman, as her eyes met the midnight-blue eyes of Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator.
 
"Pleased to meet you, Miss Chalmers," said Maisie, though they had not been introduced. The warm familiarity of the greeting took Chalmers aback. "Brrr. It's cold in here," added the investigator, turning to Stratton. "Inspector, can we bring in an oil stove? Just to take the edge off?"
 
Stratton raised an eyebrow and inclined his head at the unusual nature of the request. Amused at seeing her superior caught off guard, Chalmers tried to hide a grin, and the seated girl looked up, just for a second, because the woman's voice compelled her to do so.
 
"Good. Thank you, Inspector. Oh--and perhaps a chair for Miss Chalmers." Maisie Dobbs removed her gloves, placing them on top of the black bag, which she set on the floor, before pulling a chair around so that she was seated not opposite the girl, on the other side of the table, but close to her.
 
Strange, thought Chalmers, as the door opened and a constable brought in another chair, left the room, and returned with a small paraffin stove, which he placed by the wall. They exchanged quick glances and shrugged shoulders.
 
"Thank you," said Maisie, smiling.
 
And they knew she had seen their furtive communication.
 
Now, sitting alongside the girl, Maisie said nothing. She said nothing for some time, so that after a while Chalmers wondered what in heaven's name she was there for. Then she realized that the Dobbs woman had closed her eyes and had changed her position slowly, and though she couldn't put her finger on it, it was as if she were talking to the girl without opening her mouth, so that the girl--as if she couldn't help herself--leaned toward Maisie Dobbs. Blimey, she's going to talk.
 
"I'm getting warmer now." It was a rounded voice, a west-country voice. The girl spoke deliberately, with rolled r's and a nod when her sentence was finished. A farm girl. Yes, Chalmers would have pegged her for a farm girl.
 
But Maisie Dobbs said nothing, just opened her eyes and smiled, but not with her mouth. No, it was her eyes that smiled. Then she touched the girl's hand, taking it in her own. The girl began to cry and, very strange again, thought Chalmers, the Dobbs woman didn't reach out to put an arm around her shoulder, or try to stop her or use the moment as Stratton and Caldwell might have. No, she just sat and nodded, as if she had all the time in the world. Then she surprised the policewoman again.
 
"Miss Chalmers. Would you be so kind as to poke your head around the door and ask for a bowl of hot water, some soap, two flannels, and a towel, please."
 
Chalmers gave a single nod and moved toward the door. Oh, this would surely give the girls something to chew over later. They'd all have a giggle about this little pantomime.
 
A bowl of hot water was brought to the room by the police constable, along with the flannels, soap, and towel. Maisie removed her jacket, placed it over the back of the chair, and rolled up the sleeves of her cream silk blouse. Reaching into the bowl, she rubbed some soap on a wet flannel and squeezed out the excess water. Then she lifted the girl's chin, smiled into her reddened and bloodshot eyes, and began to wash her face, rinsing the flannel and going back again, dabbing the hot cloth on the girl's temples and across her forehead. She washed her arms, holding first her left hand in the hot flannel and working the cloth up to her elbow, then reaching for the girl's right hand. The girl flinched, but Maisie showed no sign of noticing the movement, instead massaging her right hand with the cloth, gently working it along her arm to the elbow, and then rinsing again.
 
It was as she knelt on the floor, taking one filthy bare foot after the other and washing the dirt and grime away with the second flannel, that the policewoman realized she had become mesmerized by the scene unfolding before her. It's like being in church.
 
The girl spoke again. "You've got right soft 'ands, miss."
 
Maisie Dobbs smiled. "Thank you. I used to be a nurse, years ago, in the war. That's what the soldiers used to say: that my hands were soft."
 
The girl nodded.
 
"What's your name?"
 
Chalmers stared as the girl--who had been sitting in that room without so much as a cup of tea since she was brought in twelve hours ago--replied immediately.
 
"Avril Jarvis, miss."
 
"Where are you from?"
 
"Taunton, miss." She began to sob.
 
Maisie Dobbs reached into the black bag and brought out a clean linen handkerchief, which she placed on the table in front of the girl. Chalmers waited for Maisie to take out a sheet of paper to write notes, but she didn't; instead she simply continued with her questions as she finished drying the girl's feet.
 
"How old are you, Avril?"
 
"Fourteen next April, I reckon."
 
Maisie smiled. "Tell me, why are you in London and not Taunton?"
 
Avril Jarvis sobbed continuously as Maisie folded the towel and sat next to her again. But she did answer the question, along with every other question put to her over the next hour, at which point Maisie said that was enough for now; she would be taken care of and they would speak again tomorrow--only Detective Inspector Stratton would have to hear her story too. Then, adding fuel to the tale that Chalmers would tell the other policewomen lodging in rooms upstairs at Vine Street, the Jarvis girl nodded and said, "All right, then. Just so long as you'll be with me, miss."
 
"Yes. I'll be here. Don't worry. You can rest now, Avril."
 
Copyright 2005 by Jacqueline Winspear. All rights reserved.


Continues...




Excerpted from Pardonable Lies
by Winspear, Jacqueline
Copyright © 2006 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.


Table of Contents

Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions
1. Three significant figures in Pardonable Lies—Avril Jarvis, Pascale Clement, and the younger Maisie Dobbs of the detective's own tormented recollections—are all about thirteen years old. Why does the novel choose this moment in the three girls' growth and develop-ment as a focal point for observation? Do the three girls have anything in common apart from age?
2. Although a number of mothers, including Agnes Lawton, Irene Nelson, Mrs. Jarvis, and Maisie's own mother, are essentially absent as characters, they exert profound influence over events in the novel. What is the significance of the theme of the absent mother in Pardonable Lies?
3. In quite a few classic detective novels, including The Maltese Falcon and Farewell, My Lovely, homosexual characters experience violent or disrespectful treatment. Does the treatment of homosexuality in Pardonable Lies fundamentally differ from that in older detective fictions? How and why?
4. Compare Maisie's current relationship with Dr. Andrew Dene and the role that her crippled ex-lover Simon continues to play in her life. Which is more important to Maisie, and why?
5. Maisie lied about her age to go to war and now routinely risks her life as a private investi-gator. Nevertheless, Priscilla Evernden observes that Maisie has "kept to the safe places." Is she right? Explain.
6. Many of the characters in Pardonable Lies, including Maurice Blanche, Ralph Lawton, Jeremy Hazleton, and Maisie herself, engage in elaborate deceptions. Is there a deception in the novel that you consider less "pardonable" than the others? Why?
7. Is there a deception in the novel that you consider more "pardonable" than the others? Why?
8. Like Jacqueline Winspear's previous novels, Maisie Dobbs and Birds of a Feather, Pardon-able Lies is haunted by inescapable memories of World War I. In a sense, the war is the great crime from which the legal offenses and ethical transgressions of Winspear's novels are the offshoots. How are the webs of falsehood and deception in this novel a response to the experiences and traumas of war? Do the lies in the novel make the aftermath of the war easier to bear, or do they compound the war's original immorality?
9. Although Jacqueline Winspear frequently focuses on the physical and psychological scars of warfare, Pardonable Lies offers instances of something beautiful or noble that has emerged from the horror. Examples include the birth of Pascale Clement and Ralph Lawton's heroic service in the Flying Corps. How does the novel's introduction of these silver linings enrich or complicate Winspear's depiction of the war and its aftermath?
10. Maisie often uses her training as a psychologist to take decisive control of a situation. Nevertheless, she sometimes experiences social situations in which she feels a lack of control. What are some of these situations, and why does she find them daunting?
11. The daughter of a costermonger, Maisie has risen somewhat above the limitations often encountered by members of her class. However, issues pertaining to class persist in the novel. Compare Jacqueline Winspear's treatment of aristocratic characters like Sir Cecil Lawton and Priscilla Evernden with her rendering of characters like Billy Beale and Lady Rowan's servants.
12. Maisie, who gives such extraordinary courage and support to others, must continually battle an inner sense of her own inadequacy. What are the sources of this feeling, and does she triumph over it?
13. Maisie knows a great deal about comforting others. Consider, however, the persons from whom she derives comfort. Do they have anything in common? To whom does she turn for particular kinds of support, and why?
14. In Chapter 8, Maisie asks herself, "What do I believe in?" Is this question answered in the novel? Does Maisie have beliefs that either strengthen or hinder her in her work or in her life?
15. Jacqueline Winspear offers a number of detailed descriptions of her characters' clothing. Given that Maisie is such a cerebral character, highly focused on the inner workings of the mind and heart, what may be the purpose of such external descriptions in the novel?
16. What role do Maisie's nightmares play in the unfolding of the plot and her character?

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Pardonable Lies 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 66 reviews.
bookchickdi More than 1 year ago
The third Maisie Dobbs novel, Pardonable Lies, is a bigger book, and delves more deeply into Maisie's past and her personal life. When a man asks Psychologist/Private Investigator Maisie Dobbs to help him fulfill a deathbed promise to his wife to find out if their son, who was declared killed during World War I was really dead, Maisie takes the case. Coincidentally, Maisie's friend Priscilla has come for a visit and asks Maisie to find out the circumstances behind her brother Peter's wartime death in France. Maisie and Priscilla both served in France during the war, and Maisie was wounded in an incident that caused her boyfriend to become brain damaged. He now lives in a permanent vegetative state in a hospital. All this shakes Maisie, and she reluctantly takes the cases, and heads back to France to face her demons. The scene where Maisie is in the cemetery where so many men lost their lives during the war is emotionally powerful, and reveals a new level of depth to Maisie. All the horrors of war come rushing back, and Maisie is overcome with emotion. I think many people who have faced trauma will understand Maisie's experience. Maisie has been presented as a character so in control of her emotions, this incident makes her more vulnerable. Wisnpear ratchets up the tension in this novel as it appears that someone is trying to kill Maisie. Who and why this is happening is a puzzle, as there is more than one suspect. The title, Pardonable Lies, refers to a few things. Maisie and her mentor Dr. Maurice Blanche have a falling out when Maisie discovers that he hid from her some aspects of his intelligence work during the war. This rift is important, and I wonder if it will permanently affect their relationship. Maisie is very scrupulous, and her integrity is paramount to her. When she discovers two secrets related to Priscilla's brother and her client's son, she has to decide which is more important- protecting someone or telling the truth. Her internal struggle makes for a powerful story. I'm enjoying getting to better know Maisie through these novels. In this one, we see Maisie struggle more with her emotions, having to face her past. I liked her friendship with Priscilla, unique because Maisie doesn't seem to have many friends her own age. I also like getting historical context. Following World War I, when ships were no longer needed for battle, many of them were converted for pleasure travel. Although the world financial depression hurt the economy, travel to the Riviera, Africa and the Mediterranean became cheaper and easier. This opened up the world to many people who hadn't traveled much before. Pardonable Lies gives us a deeper look at Maisie's life and I found it the strongest of the series so far. This series would be great for high school girls, Maisie is a terrific role model.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have now read five books in this series and am looking forward to reading book #6! I thoroughly enjoy the main character, and I believe that the author has written Maisie in many layers, not just the superficial. The supporting characters are well written from Maisie's assistant to her father. Lastly, the fact that you catch clues throughout the books, but not "who dunnit " until the very end is another plus for me. If you enjoy a series with characters that change and grow, as well as a mystery set within a historic period (1920-1930s), these books are for you. Read and enjoy!
Black_Cat_Lover More than 1 year ago
To be honest, I read the first two of the series via the library (on ebooks) but they didn't have the third. I guess it says something that I bought it! Not great literature but I enjoy the view into post WWI England and Maisie and Billy are good company. The plots are well done but they are only part of the story. The development of the two characters, their lives and growth as people is part of it too. However, I'll be getting book 4 at the library. These are a little light -- and are such quick reads -- that I'm not tempted to continue purchasing them at $10 a pop.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The+best+of+the+first+three+books.+Three+stories+would+often+be+confusing+but+not+in+the+hands+of+this+author.+Each+tale+has+twists+and+turns+that+surprised+me+and+I+enjoyed+the+read+immensely.++I+have+become+very+fond+of+this+character+and+look+forward+to+more+adventure.+
PirateJenny on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the third in the Maisie Dobbs series. Winspear keeps getting better. In this outing, Maisie is hired to discover the truth about a client's son's death. The client's wife had believed their son was still alive (he'd been reported shot down during the war--WWI) and on her deathbed, made him promise to find out the truth. There's a young girl in jail for killing her "uncle" who Maisie believes is innocent. And Maisie's best friend Priscilla asks her to do the favor of finding out where exactly one of her brothers had been killed during the war--the family hadn't been told and Priscilla needed to set him to rest. Maisie finally has to face her experiences in the war and discovers some rather shocking things along the way.
cathyskye on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Protagonist: Maisie DobbsSetting: 1930s LondonSeries #3Pardonable Lies is the third installment of the Maisie Dobbs mystery series, and it's the strongest one yet. Maisie, former nurse during WWI, is set up in practice in London as a psychologist and private investigator. A wealthy man asks her to help him carry out his dead wife's last wish. Their son was listed as killed in action in France. His wife had never believed it and insisted that their son was still alive. The man asks Maisie to prove or disprove it for the final time. Maisie is reluctant to take on the case because it will involve traveling to France--the one place she has avoided since the war ended.The late 1920s and early 1930s is not everyone's favorite time period. The strong emphasis on World War I and its aftermath isn't to everyone's taste either. Maisie is a rather odd character. Still fragile from her own war experiences, she seems to keep an emotional and physical distance between herself and everyone else. To me, the strength of Winspear's books is the depiction of how war twists and mangles people--changing how they think and behave even years down the road. The world had never had to deal with carnage on this scale before, and Maisie shows how it affected us all...one small piece at a time. When I've finished reading one of these books, I have to mentally shake myself out of the time period. Good stuff!
riverwillow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love these books. They are seemingly very simple but actually deal with quite complex emotions. Personally I find stories and films about WWI very moving and although these books are set in the 1920s and 1930s they still hark back to the events of the war and its impact and Winspear's writings feel very real.
MusicMom41 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another interesting outing for Maisie Dobbs in which her search to find out if the son of a peer of the realm actually died in WWI because his dying wife made him promise to find him as she didn¿t believe he was dead. The father wished it to be proved he was dead. The search leads her to also find out about the brother of her college friend, Pricilla Everden. The third Maisie Dobbs book is a well written and historically researched novel which adds to the pleasure of a good story.
delphica on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I felt this was a strong improvement from the second Maisie Dobbs book. Maisie goes to France for the first time since the War to investigate two servicemen killed in action. The plot here is more interesting and thoughtful, I think, although it has a contemporary feel to me despite the setting. I like the plot gimmick of taking the two (seemingly) unrelated mysteries and slowly revealing how they intersect -- obviously it's not very realistic, but that's also probably why we don't go around solving mysteries in real life.Even though I enjoyed this more, I continue to find Maisie insufferable, and most fervently hope that the last installment in this series is The Mystery of Why It Took Billy Beale So Long To Put Strychnine In Maisie's Tea.
MaddieBloom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
MP G. (philomene) - CT: Pardonnable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear I just finished this wonderful third installmebt in the Maisie Dobbs series. Maisi, Psychologist and Investigator, tackles two cases in which she is asked to search for a soldier missing since the Great War, She succeeds admirably, but not before confronting her own terrifying memories of her service there and barely eluding the efforts of someone bent on killing her. It's a very satisfying and interesting read. I can't wait to read her next book, which is already on it's way to me from PBS.
bremmd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another Maisie Dobbs hit as far as I¿m concerned. I was worried the mystery portion of the story was a little far fetched but Winspear made it work. Not only did the mystery work but this chapter saw Maisie start to really heal and grow. And Pris was back. Yippeee.Maisie travels to France to find out what happened to not only Ralph Lawton but also her good friend Priscilla¿s brother Peter. While in France Maisie finally has to deal with the aftermath of her experiences in the war. It was a relief to me she broke down, I felt she would never really be able to move on and grow until she finally dealt with all her pent up emotions about all she had been through. It did break my heart she had to lose a little of her trust in Maurice during this whole ordeal but I think in the long run they will have a better relationship.I was so happy to see Priscilla play such a large role in this book and I hope there¿s more of her to come. I think she¿s such an important friend for Maisie. Her only real girlfriend, in fact. And like a true girlfriend she doesn¿t let Maisie get away with any of her typical diversionary tricks. Pris drags Maisie out into the world and is forcing her to start to live a real and full life. I think Maisie is going to need a lot of help as she blossoms and I hope Pris is the girl to help in the future novels.I wonder about Maisie¿s love life. I love Andrew Dene and think he brings a lot of humor and lightheartedness into Maisie¿s life, which she desperately needs. But, I don¿t know if he¿ll be the fellow she ends up with in the end. And I don¿t know what I feel about this yet. I guess I haven¿t decided if I¿m Team Dene or Team Stratton (darn you Twilight, I don¿t even life you and you still have influence over me). I think it will be good for Maisie to take her time and play the field a little. I just wish she would except a date with Inspector Stratton. I think they¿ll find they have much in common.I¿m looking forward to the next book in the series thanks to Book Club Girl I have my very own copy on the way to read. I believe Pardonable Lies was a big turning point for Maisie. I think she¿ll finally be able to move on and start living life a little more and making more connections with people.Speaking of Book Club Girl, she¿s hosting a discussion of Pardonable Lies today in conjunction with her I¿m Mad for Maisie Read-Along so please head over there and follow along. There is quite a bit I didn¿t mention about the book to discuss and a lot of great thoughts on the book being talked about. If you haven¿t read the book yet it should whet your appetite to dig in.
bookchickdi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The third Maisie Dobbs novel, Pardonable Lies, is a bigger book, and delves more deeply into Maisie's past and her personal life. When a man asks Psychologist/Private Investigator Maisie Dobbs to help him fulfill a deathbed promise to his wife to find out if their son, who was declared killed during World War I was really dead, Maisie takes the case.Coincidentally, Maisie's friend Priscilla has come for a visit and asks Maisie to find out the circumstances behind her brother Peter's wartime death in France. Maisie and Priscilla both served in France during the war, and Maisie was wounded in an incident that caused her boyfriend to become brain damaged. He now lives in a permanent vegetative state in a hospital.All this shakes Maisie, and she reluctantly takes the cases, and heads back to France to face her demons. The scene where Maisie is in the cemetery where so many men lost their lives during the war is emotionally powerful, and reveals a new level of depth to Maisie. All the horrors of war come rushing back, and Maisie is overcome with emotion.I think many people who have faced trauma will understand Maisie's experience. Maisie has been presented as a character so in control of her emotions, this incident makes her more vulnerable.Wisnpear ratchets up the tension in this novel as it appears that someone is trying to kill Maisie. Who and why this is happening is a puzzle, as there is more than one suspect.The title, Pardonable Lies, refers to a few things. Maisie and her mentor Dr. Maurice Blanche have a falling out when Maisie discovers that he hid from her some aspects of his intelligence work during the war. This rift is important, and I wonder if it will permanently affect their relationship.Maisie is very scrupulous, and her integrity is paramount to her. When she discovers two secrets related to Priscilla's brother and her client's son, she has to decide which is more important- protecting someone or telling the truth. Her internal struggle makes for a powerful story.I'm enjoying getting to better know Maisie through these novels. In this one, we see Maisie struggle more with her emotions, having to face her past. I liked her friendship with Priscilla, unique because Maisie doesn't seem to have many friends her own age.I also like getting historical context. Following World War I, when ships were no longer needed for battle, many of them were converted for pleasure travel. Although the world financial depression hurt the economy, travel to the Riviera, Africa and the Mediterranean became cheaper and easier. This opened up the world to many people who hadn't traveled much before.Pardonable Lies gives us a deeper look at Maisie's life and I found it the strongest of the series so far. This series would be great for high school girls, Maisie is a terrific role model.
thornton37814 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There are basically three story lines in this book. One is Maisie's efforts to clear a young girl of murder charges. Another is to find a missing aviator--a case Maisie primarily takes on so that the girl has adequate legal representation. The third is to locate her friend Priscilla's brother's grave. In the midst of it all we encounter a fair amount of espionage, which is not really my cup of tea when it comes to mysteries. Maisie's life is in danger, but she's not sure who is responsible for the attempts on her life. There's just a little too much going on in this novel to try to keep up with everyone and with which part of the story the person might be connected. It had been quite awhile since I read the first book in this series, and I have forgotten some of the things from that particular book which might have helped me understand more of some of the action in this novel. Winspear is a good writer, but this is my least favorite installment in the series to date.
arielfl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another hugely entertaining novel in the Maisie Dobbs series. In this novel Maisie takes on the task of locating the final resting place of the son of a client who was shot down during the war in France. She also finds herself looking for the final resting place of her best friend Priscilla's brother. The tasks require her to go to France and face down some of her personal demons from the war. In this novel her relationship with doctor Deene deepens and she suffers a breach of trust with her mentor Maurice. This series does not shy away from difficult topics such as homophobia. The plot of this book relied on a series of implausible coincidences to bring everything together but in the end I didn't really care. I am still mad for Maisie.
mamzel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Maisie Dobbs is an extraordinary young woman. She signed up to serve as a nurse during World War I, lying about her age. She witnessed unbelievable pain, death, and destruction and thought she was almost recovered from her experiences. She has been asked to search for a young man whose mother could not accept the report of his death. At the same time she has been asked to locate the grave of another young man. To accomplish these things she has to return to France, to the same locales she worked. Maisie uses meditation to try and keep an even keel and not be overwhelmed by the sorrow felt by her clients. She is highly intelligent and is surrounded by loyal friends and family. As such, I would like to see her a little less dependent on them. She is such a strong character that I would prefer that she didn't lean on them as much as she does. For someone who stood ankle deep in blood, listening to the screams of men undergoing amputation, I wish she would trust her own strength. Maybe she develops during the series. I'll have to continue to see.
JanicsEblen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A good read. Read it in 3 days! As always a good plot with lots of twists. This is a great beach read.
michigantrumpet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Third in the Maisie Dobbs series, and a worthy successor to the previous novels. Winspear does a nice job of including enough details of the period to be both atrmospheric and interesting without hitting her readers over the head with her research and erudition. Maisie's time as a WWI nurse continues to haunt her professionally and personally as her cases require her to return to France. A fast and enjoyable read.
klaidlaw on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jacqueline Winspear finally hit her stride with this book. I was beginng to think I was not going to bother with any more of her books. I found the mumbo jumbo spirtualism thing a bit much to take in the first two books. It is still evident in this book, but the plot is more refined and the interaction between characters is more finely tuned. The conflict between Mazie and her mentor is an important part of pushing the story along, and there were some nice twists in the plot.
ImBookingIt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As I was reading, I was thinking this might be my first 5 star rating in a while. The characters were intriguing, the plot drew me in, the details on life in the 1930s were fascinating. The writing was wonderful (and I normally don't notice the writing). The plot lines wrapped up one by one. Just one left dangling...Then the book almost dropped to 3 stars, I was so angry about how that story line resolved. OK, I suspect if I went back to the beginning, the details needed to make the conclusion relevant were there. But I really felt like it was pulled out of nowhere. Grumble. But the rest of the book was really good, so I'll focus on that.I'm a character driven reader-- If a book has interesting characters, I can gloss over a lot of plot weakness. If the characters are weakly drawn, I have trouble caring about strong writing and plot. This book was strong on all of these.The characters in this book were wonderful. I was drawn into Maisie's conflict, coming to terms with her past while trying to solve some cases that dredged up her history with WWI. Even most of the secondary characters were textured, and there are several I'd like to get to know better.After the characters, what I liked most about this books were the reflections of the effects of war, even years after it ends. You see the effects on people that were there and of those that are left behind, of the effects on entire communities.I like this series, the earlier books as well as this one. I'll go on to read the rest sooner rather than later. I'm just still disappointed in the conclusion of that one plotline!
Kathy89 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really am enjoying this series. Maisie is involved in three separate investigations that coincidently intertwine with each other. She is asked for help by the Yard in the case of a 17 yr old girl arrested for murder, and a friend of her mentor needs closure on his MIA son from WWI. Since Maisie is going to France her friend Priscilla asks her to find out where her brother, a soldier in WWI, is buried.
TrishNYC on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Maise Dobbs is an "investigator and psychologist" who finds herself probing a number of mysteries all at the same time. She is called into help with a murder case that features a thirteen year old, a man who seeks to fulfill a death bed promise and a request from a friend to find out the fate of her missing brother. As she looks into these incidents, she finds that some of her cases intersect with each other and produce surprising and unexpected results. In addition, Maise returns to France, the site of the worst horrors in her life where she served as a nurse to the wounded troops. She finds herself not fully healed from past traumas and is also surprised to discover that her mentor is more than she knew him to be. Maise's long dead mother also features prominently in her thoughts, making for a sweet and sad insight into our main character. I finally decided to delve into the Maise Dobbs series after constantly running into it in online bookstores. It contains two things that intrigue me very much, life before,during and after the world wars and mystery stories of any kind. I knew going in that there would be certain references that I would not fully understand seeing as I am starting the series in the third book but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I did not miss much by not reading the first two books. The descriptions of England post World War 1 were very enjoyable and nostalgic(not that I was there during WW1). There were some supernatural elements thrown in and I did not think that added anything to the story. It felt weird and forced and Maise was in my opinion doing well in her own and did not need that added factor. Regular readers of this series may be used to this by now but to me it was meh. Overall, I enjoyed this book as it turned out to be more than just mystery solving and was surprisingly contemplative
verbafacio on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In this third Maisie Dobbs novel, Maisie takes on her past -- her experiences as a nurse during WWI. Investigating the wartime deaths of two soldiers, Maisie must revisit the traumas of her early career. The plot twists along satisfyingly, with a touch of espionage and bohemian lifestyle thrown in for good measure.
readingrat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sort of reminded me of the Agatha Christie novels.
cbl_tn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the third novel featuring Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and private investigator, Maisie takes on three investigations -- a young girl arrested by Scotland Yard and charged with murder, and the World War I deaths of two British soldiers in France. The investigations take Maisie to France, a country she has avoided since the war because of the trauma she experienced there during her nursing service.Even though I had enjoyed the first two novels in this series, I put off reading this third installment because of the mention of spiritualism in the summary on the cover. I generally don't enjoy books that delve into the supernatural. I was pleased to find that spiritualism does not feature prominently in the book, although it is present in the plot.Of the three books I've read so far from this series, this is my favorite. In the previous books, Maisie is a confident woman with much more self-discipline than the average person. This book reveals the vulnerability that Maisie still harbors underneath her self-assured persona. Maisie doesn't have physical scars from the war; her wounds are internal. It will be interesting to see how Maisie's character continues to develop in subsequent books in the series.
EJStevens on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Maisie Dobbs, female sleuth and former battlefield nurse, tackles three major cases in Pardonable Lies. Maisie is brought in by inspector Stratton of Scotland Yard to interview a young girl suspected of murder. Although evidence puts her at the scene of the crime Maisie believes in the girl's innocence. Sensitive to the loss of her own mother at a young age Maisie strives to find the truth before young Avril Jarvis is separated from her mother permanently with a life prison sentence. Upon arriving home to her room at the Compton residence she finds Lord Compton waiting for her with a request to assist his friend Sir Cecil Lawton prove his son's death. Lawton's wife never believed the reports that her son had died in France during the War and on her deathbed made Sir Cecil promise to find their son. This leads Maisie's friend Priscilla to ask her to conduct a similar investigation into the death of her eldest brother Peter. Priscilla lost all three of her beloved brothers in the War yet Peter's body was never found. Maisie with two cases leading her back to France must face her own demons in her search for truth. Maisie must find the strength to face her own bloody past if she is to find out what truly happened to these two soldiers. I highly recommend this novel for any fan of the mystery genre, however giving this book the mystery label does not in fact do it justice. Winspear breaks beyond the bounds of popular mystery fiction providing us with the clues and investigations that we have grown to love while providing a rich tapestry of historical context and introducing characters with a depth rarely found in modern fiction.