I am so glad I found this series! An intelligent, young woman, former nurse-turned-sleuth in post WWI London was a both a setting and story I enjoyed ..Show More »immensely. After reading this, I went on to read the next 2 in the series and after reading those, have added the next to to my "to read" list. If you're looking for graphic, gruesome murders, CIA car chases and graphic sex in your mysteries, this series probably won't work for you. If you enjoy early 1930's England with a sanely-paced story line and exploring characters as they develop over several books, you should enjoy this.
I listened to the first book in the series and liked it so much I purchased the second before I was quite finished. I didn't notice that the narrator..Show More » was different. Within five minutes of beginning the second book I would have asked to return it, if I thought it were possible! This woman speed reads her way through the book, making Maisie sound like a zombie and Billy sound like a total idiot. I have no idea what the narrator of the 3rd and 4th installments is like, but I WILL listen to a preview first. I wish I had taken the time to read this one in print, and I may do that yet, as the awful narration spoiled my enjoyment of the story.
I have just begun Pardonable Lies. I am very disappointed in the narration. I was going to let it pass, but after listening to the very illuminating i..Show More »nterview with Jacqueline Winspear which follows Messenger of Truth I feel impelled to say something. These books are quite good. The detection of crime is but one element; the books are very strong anti-war statements. Ms. Winspear’s research is far reaching and her depiction of the physical, moral and psychological devastation in England during and after WW1, and the consequent enforced poverty, is powerful and heartbreaking. Ms. Winspear says in the interview that she actually hears the voices of her characters in her head. This narrator (Orlaugh Cassidy) shows us little in this regard. Frequently a sentimental approach is taken (which blunts an affect) and with a one dimensional painting of the characters. There is seemingly little understanding of who or what it is she is reading. I will make my point with one example: there is a young girl who is introduced in the first chapter of Pardonable Lies and we are given certain information to allow us to know she has undergone a traumatic event. When she finally speaks she has a rather generic cockney sound - it could, in fact, be Billy speaking. This could, perhaps, be passable, but there is no sense that this child has undergone anything, let alone involvement in murder or that she is covered in blood and grime. Rather than being drawn into this child, I was taken altogether out of the story. These are good books and call out for a narrator with an imagination, one who will move the story along in an organic way.
There's so much of value in this book, all in addition to the perfectly acceptable plot and complex, well-formed characters.
Maisie Dobbs is one of the newly-independent women in England, forced to become so because so many millions of men were killed or damaged during the Great War, they had no alternative to supporting themselves. She becomes an inquiry agent -- and this is one of her cases. She's also a psychologist, and througout the book, her psychological insights help her find the answers she was hired to find.
If you like 'period' mysteries -- Anne Perry, Charles Todd, Victoria Thompson, Michael Cox -- you'll like this series.
I like the detection alpects of these books, of course I do. But beyond that, it's all the tidbits of information the author includes -- how people lived, dressed, spoke, thought and interacted -- that adds to the charm.
A bunus in the audio version is a half-hour interview with the author, who tells how hard she works to keep the books technically accurate. Of particular interest were her comments about how words bounce back and forth between the continents, coming into vogue here or there, at various times throughout the centuries. For example, the word "smog" was in use in 1904 London -- we just think it's a modern term.
I'm looking for more "Maisie Dobbs" books -- and hope they're all narrated by Orlagh Cassidy, who gave a marvelous performance. I was sorry to see the book end.
"Messenger of Truth" is a fine book in every sense. You won't be disappointed.
I noticed when someone writes a negative review people don’t find the review useful. Even so I feel like if I’m going to review a book at least I shou..Show More »ld write some type of review. This is my least favorite of all of her books so far. Although we have followed her life from an early age, all of a sudden she is part gypsy and is aware of all of their ways and language. Also she is proficient with a divining rod to locate any item if she thinks of it hard enough. I like her books and will listen to all of them but I think this story was weak and not practical or probable. At parts, I wish I was able to fast-forward because it was long and drawn out. In her previous books I never even thought of doing something like that because I like each part of the story. I hope her next book is well thought out and not written just to get a book out on the market.
The series is excellent. If you are a fan of social history (post WWI England, women's history, Depression Era) in a fictional setting, Winspears boo..Show More »ks are very well researched, without being teachy or preachy. The reader has a pleasant manner, with voices well differentiated.
Bravo! to Jacqueline Winspear for continuing the Maisie Dobbs stories with yet another incredible social history lesson woven into an Agatha Christie ..Show More »style mystery. Unforgetable! Maisie has another haunting WWI soldier's death case, this time an American cartographer. As well Maisie's life is changing with old friends and new events that will make you smile and some that will have you crying. Favorite characters are included with Billy, Maurice, the Comptons and Scotland Yard. This is the best in the series for Maisie and for me! The narration is superb! Enjoy!
In this book Masie is asked by the Secret Service to take a job at Cambridge as a Philosophy professor at a college dedicated to the furthering of pea..Show More »ce. Masie is tasked with the job of finding out if the staff or students are part of the Communist party and are engaged in activities that are a threat to the Government.
Maisie is not there more than a day or two before a man is murdered and Scotland Yard is called into investigate. Maisie engages in a delicate dance between investigating subversives for the Secret Service and assisting Scotland Yard (unasked) solve the murder. Maisie turns up a group of students sympathetic to the growing SDP in Germany and warns the Secret Service about their activities. The Secret Service is more concerned with ferreting out Communists than they are Fascists and this creates a certain amount of conflict between Maisie and the SS. At that point my brain switched over to real life and I remembered that it was in just this very period in time that Trinity College in Cambridge was the place that The Cambridge Five met and were recruited by the Soviets and became the most effective espionage agents against the British and American interests in the history of spydom. Using 20/20 hindsight perhaps the SS and Winspear should have expanded Maisies mission to include both groups. But then no one had a clue at the time that that nest of vipers was forming its self so I guess being clueless is appropriate.
This book is not heavy on plot. The main mystery was the murder and the spy hunt merely peripheral it seemed to me. Meantime, back at the ranch (London) another mystery develops and is left to Billy to investigate. I thought that much more could have been done with this mystery but perhaps Winspear thought Maisie had her hands to full already.
But is was a lovely visit into Maisie's world. Winspear is a master at creating an atmosphere that drips with authenticity and her secondary characters new and old are always credible
Maise emerged from novel 7 as intelligent, self-aware and on the path to work in the emerging British intelligence community. Book 8 finds a less self..Show More » aware Maisie fumbling professionally and personally to reach a point of development she supassed earlier on. I found this episode more melodramatic with too much backstory - anyone who loves the character will read earlier novels for all the details. There is less rich historical backdrop than usual and some penny-dreadful dialogue in the first half. Even Cassidy as narrator didn't seem to deliver her best performance.
This is still worth downloading for fans of the series -- but if you are a new listener, start with an earlier, stronger Dobbs.
Winspeare said that this was book was going to change the entire playing field and the woman did not lie. She ..Show More »changed almost everything we were familiar with over the course of the book.
I have loved every one of these stories even when I got a little annoyed with the character of Maisie for clinging to tightly to her past and not moving on as fast as I thought she ought to. I am no longer annoyed. Plus she managed to change everything while leaving all the bare bones of the series firmly in place. This book just came out and I am already wishing for the next one.
And as for the mystery, I didn't figure it who-done-it until the very end. I absolutely love twisty mysteries and this one had a grand twist at the end. The book reminds us that regardless of how much we want to see Masie and James wrapped in each others arms Winspeare is a mystery writer and any romance that floats by is strictly secondary and is meant to advance the plot only.
I grew up watching Perry Mason mystery in the early days of TV and my brother and I competed every week to see which one of us could figure out the Grand Denouement first. I'll admit I had an advantage over him for a while because whoever casted the shows had a weakness for weak chins and all I had to do was look to see which character had one and I had the killer. But eventually he figured this out for himself and I had to fall back on thinking which is not usually my brain's default position.
And I say this in every review that I write for the Maisie books. Winspeare is probably better than any other writer of mysteries set in this era. She does such a good job of setting the atmosphere of time and place that the reader is left as fly on wall as they experience the story in whatever format they have chosen.
And, as a personal note to whoever reads this comment. I know I am sounding a little gushy but if you have read any of my journal entries in the past you know that I pretty much call them as I see them. It has gotten me quite a few negative votes on amazon and a few on audible. But happily I am not running for election to anything and I paid for my book and am not obligated to write a positive review for anyone so I will continue always to call them as I see them.