Monday, December 3, 2012

Review: A Lesson In Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear

A Lesson In Secrets (Maisie Dobbs #8)
Author: Jacqueline Winspear
Published: March 22, 2011
Genre: mystery
Hardcover: 321 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): In the summer of 1932, Maisie Dobbs’ career goes in an exciting new direction when she accepts an undercover assignment directed by Scotland Yard’s Special Branch and the Secret Service. Posing as a junior lecturer, she is sent to a private college in Cambridge to monitor any activities “not in the interests of His Majesty’s Government.”

When the college’s controversial pacifist founder and principal, Greville Liddicote, is murdered, Maisie is directed to stand back as Detective Chief Superintendent Robert MacFarlane and Detective Chief Inspector Stratton spearhead the investigation. She soon discovers, however, that the circumstances of Liddicote’s death appear inextricably linked to the suspicious comings and goings of faculty and students under her surveillance.

To unravel this web, Maisie must overcome a reluctant Secret Service, discover shameful hidden truths about Britain’s conduct during the war, and face off against the rising powers of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei—the Nazi Party—in Britain.

A pivotal chapter in the life of Maisie Dobbs, A Lesson In Secrets marks the beginning of her intelligence work for the Crown. As the storm clouds of World War II gather on the horizon, Maisie will confront new challenges and new enemies—and will engage new readers and loyal fans of this bestselling mystery series.

My Thoughts: I saw this book a few years ago and fell in love with the cover. I loved the mystery behind it, the art deco design, and the 1930s vibe that I was getting from it. I started reading the description and realized that this was number eight in the series, so I started all the way back at the beginning to work my way up to this one. And it was worth it! For me, this might be the best Maisie Dobbs novel out of the eight (I haven't read the ninth one yet). Maisie is now working with the Secret Service on a case regarding a college in Cambridge that was founded by a pacifist who published a controversial book during World War I. So, away Maisie goes, trying to figure out what is happening at the school. What follows is a murder investigation, and while Maisie is not supposed to help with that case, she just can't help herself.

Jacqueline Winspear is great at crafting a great mystery, one where there are quite a few suspects but she leaves you guessing who has committed the crime until the last few pages. Winspear is also gifted with characters. The growth that Maisie has gone through from the first novel in this series to now is subtle but significant. She is truly independent now but realizing that it may not be necessary to live on her own. Being able to see other characters mature throughout this series is great, too. Seeing Billy and his family grow and bounce back from the loss of their youngest child is so nice to see. And the budding relationship Maisie has with James Compton adds another dimension to this story. James doesn't take away from Maisie, but only adds to her and her stories. I can't wait to see where Winspear takes their relationship in the future.

If you enjoy historical fiction or are a fan of World War I or II novels, then you need to be reading this series! Winspear is an amazing writer and Maisie a wonderful leading lady.   

1 comment:

  1. I love all these covers in this series. I've read a couple of Maisie Dobbs but not this one. I'm going to check my library and see if this one is an option.