A LESSON IN SECRETS by Jacqueline Winspear
“As with a tapestry, some crimes proved to be true masterpieces of deception. And she knew from experience that when a life had been taken in the act of murder, there were few black and white places, only gray shadows in which the truth lingeredâ€”and truth sometimes held only a passing connection to fact.”
Review by Eleanor Bukowsky Â (APR 23, 2011)
The year is 1932 and the scars of World War I are far from healed. The specter of Nazism has begun to cast its shadow, and England Â has its share of “homegrown Fascists” who enthusiastically promote the aims of the National Socialist German Workers Party. Government officials are even more leery of pacifists, whose desire for peace at any price could undermine the morale of “the men in the ranks.” Against this backdrop of political and social turmoil, Maisie Dobbs keeps busy running her successful private inquiry agency, ably assisted by the conscientious Billy Beale. She is a professional by choice, since she has “a good measure of financial independence, having inherited wealth” from her former mentor, Maurice Blanche. Although Maisie has more than enough to do, Brian Huntley of Special Branch asks her to undertake a top secret mission. She will teach philosophy to undergraduates at the College of St. Francis in Cambridge, while being on the lookout for any activities that are “not in the interests of the Crown.”
When one of the college’s most prominent individuals is murdered, Detective Chief Superintendent Robbie MacFarlane warns Maisie to steer clear of the investigation. However, she cannot resist using her formidable investigative skills to find the killer. In addition, the generous Maisie plans to help Billy and his wife, Doreen, get settled in a new home. Another person she would like to assist is Sandara Tapley, a twenty-four year old widow whose husband died under mysterious circumstances. To make matters even more complicated, Maisie frequently thinks about her absent lover, James Compton, and wonders if they are really meant to be together.
A Lesson in Secrets is another strong entry in this outstanding series. Not only does Ms. Winspear capture the atmosphere, language, and climate of the early thirties in England, but she also manages to create an involving and complex plot with a large and varied cast of characters. She does all this with consummate grace and style, effortlessly balancing at least three or four subplots without confusing or irritating the reader.
This book has something for everyone: romance, espionage, and intrigue, all packaged entertainingly for those who enjoy intelligent and literate works of fiction enhanced by excellent descriptive writing. What a pleasure it is to observe Maisie compassionately and conscientiously fighting for women’s rights, the oppressed, and those who need a tireless advocate to champion their cause. And of course, she tracks down villains, most of whom do not stand a chance against this intrepid, highly intelligent, and determined woman.
|AMAZON READER RATING:||from 99 readers|
|PUBLISHER:||Harper; First Edition edition (March 22, 2011)|
|AVAILABLE AS A KINDLE BOOK?||YES! Start Reading Now!|
|AUTHOR WEBSITE:||Jacqueline Winspear|
|MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION:||Read our review of:|
- Maisie Dobbs (July 2003) /
- Birds of a Feather (2004)
- Pardonable Lies (2005)
- Mesenger of Truth (2006)
- An Incomplete Revenge (2008)
- Among the Mad (2009)
- The Mapping of Love and Death (2010)
- A Lesson in Secrets (2011)
- Elegy for Eddie (October 2012)
April 23, 2011
Â· Judi Clark Â· 2 Comments
Tags: 1930s, Jacqueline Winspear, Time Period Fiction, War Story Â· Posted in: Facing History, Sleuths Series, Thriller/Spy/Caper, United Kingdom, y Award Winning Author