It's 1930. Maisie Dobbs is an investigator and psychologist who investigates mysteries or issues brought to her. Sir Cecil Lawton is recommended to Maisie by her old employer, Lord Compton. Sir Lawton wants Maisie to prove that his son died in the Great War in an air crash near the French German border.
Ralph Lawton was a pilot in the war. When his plane crashed, the fireball was so intense only his dogtags were found. Mrs. Lawton was certain her son was alive. She spent the rest of her trying to prove it through whatever means, including mediums, until she finally died in a mental institution. Sir Lawton is certain his son is dead - or does he only want Ralph to be dead? He made his wife a deathbed promise to find out the truth about Ralph Lawton's death. He now wants Maisie to prove his son died in the crash.
Maisie has two other complications. A 13-year-old girl is accused of killing her "uncle", a pimp in London. Maisie is sure the girl is innocent of murder. How does she prove it? Also, her friend Priscilla had three brothers die in the war. But she doesn't know what happened to one of them. Since Maisie is following up on Ralph Lawton, could she check for Peter Evernden? Then Maisie begins to believe someone is trying to kill her.
Before she is done, Maisie has to return to France for the first time since she returned from being wounded there herself as a nurse on the battlefront. Her mentor, Maurice Blanche, accompanies her across the channel. She continues on her own, looking for the village where Ralph Lawton's plane crashed, for the last place Peter Evernden was known to have been, and to revisit her own area of deployment. Maisie uncovers more than she expects and faces deeply buried emotions of her own.
This is an excellent novel. Maisie is a complex character. Ms. Winspear brings Maisie and 1930's England to life. Her background of things to come winds in and out, not detracting from the story, but instead tantalizing the reader who knows the future. The author does an excellent job of examining the emotions and happenings of the time without getting maudlin. Some of the story lines are obvious to the reader, others are completely obscured.
Pardonable Lies is as good as the first in the series, Maisie Dobbs. Ms. Winspear has a winning series here. I received a pre-release of this novel, and it will be released in the next couple months. (Amazon shows August 10th.) I'm already looking forward to the next novel in the series. If you haven't read the first two novels, do so. If you have, you'll find Pardonable Lies to be a worthy addition to the series.Publicist provided for review
These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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