Title: Pardonable Lies
Author: Jacqueline Winspear
Review Summary: A little more paranormal than I expected this series to get, which threw me, but also much more exciting and action-packed than previous books in the series.
Hello all! I’m currently recovering at my parents’ house in Ohio after the first leg of my move, before heading on to Ithaca on Tuesday, so it’s a great time to get this post up for the summer book club being hosted by Jessica of Quirky Bookworm. This is actually the third book in the Maisie Dobbs series (my review of the first is here) and like all of the books I’ve read so far (through the fourth in the series) it includes a case related to the aftermath of WWI as well as a case that makes Maisie think about her personal experiences in the war. Her first case is an odd one, as she is asked to prove that a man’s son did not survive the war. This leads to a more personal investigation, helping a friend learn about a brother lost in the war under mysterious circumstances.
First a few general observations about the Maisie Dobbs books. The author always does a great job tying together the two, sometimes three, investigations taking place in each novel. Even if the cases don’t connect directly, there’s always some unifying theme that makes them more interesting to read about together. The writing is very good, with a “cozy” feel to it. I can empathize with Maisie and I think she reminds me a little of me, so it’s easy and comfortable to slip into her perspective. That’s not all there is to it thought. I think it’s also the way Jacqueline Winspear writes, especially her inclusion of ordinary events like Maisie making herself coffee and curling up on a chair in her office to work. She also does a great job including details of the times, such as specific clothes people wear and cars they drive. The few re-occurring things I don’t like are the lack of urgency and action in a lot of her cases, plus a certain melancholy feel in the WWI-related cases.
In this book in particular, some of the scenes in which Maisie uses her intuition and which were becoming unbelievable in the second book, became definite paranormal elements in this one. I really didn’t like that, not because I’m opposed to paranormal books, but because it was so at odds with the cozy, down-to-earth, mystery feel of the first book. It blindsided me a little too much. This third book did become more action-packed then the first two, even including some attempts on Maisie’s life. That helped with the feeling of urgency missing in the other books, although I still think more could be done to sell the importance of solving each case. So, the supernatural thing was enough to make me like this book (two stars) less than the average Maisie Dobbs book which I would give three. Fortunately, I kept reading, because the fourth was my favorite yet. But that, as they say, is another story
Who should read this? Anyone who likes post-WWI Britain, fans of cozy mystery novels, possibly people who haven’t read the first two books since it could stand alone and is a little different