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Paperback Pardonable Lies Book

ISBN: 0312426216

ISBN13: 9780312426217

Pardonable Lies

(Book #3 in the Maisie Dobbs Series)

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Book Overview

In the third novel of this bestselling series, London investigator Maisie Dobbs faces grave danger as she returns to the site of her most painful WWI memories to resolve the mystery of a pilot's death. Agatha Christie's Miss Marple. Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone. Alexander McCall Smith's Precious Ramotswe. Every once in a while, a detective bursts on the scene who captures readers' hearts-and imaginations-and doesn't let go. And so it was with Jacqueline...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Historical Mysteries that Tug at the Heart

This weekend I finished reading Jacqueline Winspear's third Maisie Dobbs mystery, Pardonable Lies (following Maisie Dobbs and Birds of a Feather). To call these books mysteries is almost a misnomer. Not that they aren't puzzling and suspenseful - they are - but they offer much more. These books include in-depth studies of character and motivation. They are historical novels that make the reader ache with sadness over the losses of World War I. They are about a woman struggling to maintain her own business, in a time when this was quite unexpected. They are about rising above a poor background to become educated and respected, and then straddling the line between two worlds. I think that Pardonable Lies is the best of the series so far. Maisie, with the help of her reliable assistant Billy, investigates three different cases, all of which stir echoes from Maisie's past. Two of the cases require her to re-visit painful memories of the war (she was a battlefield nurse in France), while in the third she identifies with a vicitimized child. In the course of investigating these cases, she finds her life threatened by unseen enemies. The relentless pressure from the demons of the past and of the present push Maisie hard. I found myself indentifying so closely with Maisie while reading this book that I felt a bit vulnerable myself. I love a book that pulls me in so deeply. I hesitate to say more, because I don't want to spoil the book. But if you like mysteries about strong female characters, or you like historical fiction, especially World-War-I era stories, you should absolutely read this series. Be sure to start with Maisie Dobbs, the first book in the series, so that you'll know Maisie's full background. You can also visit Jacqueline Winspear's website. I found it particularly interesting to read that "Jacqueline's grandfather was severely wounded and shell-shocked at The Battle of the Somme in 1916, and it was as she understood the extent of his suffering that, even in childhood, Jacqueline became deeply interested in the "war to end all wars" and its aftereffects." Perhaps this is why Maisie's grief, and the grief of those around her, feels so true to life in these books. This review was originally published on my blog, Jen Robinson's Book Page, on February 19, 2006.

My First Maisie, but Not My Last

This isn't the type of book I often read. I got it mainly to try to expand my horizons, so to speak-I figured if I didn't like it, I'd give it to my wife. She reads mysteries all the time. I'll be giving it to her to read, but I want this one back. Pardonable Lies is Jacqueline Winspear's third novel featuring Maisie Dobbs, a "psychologist and investigator" in England. The novel is set in 1930, and is peppered with references to unrest in Germany and the concern many people felt about the man who was leading that country. I was first struck by the truthful nature of the conversations about Hitler-there were many people who really didn't see much to worry about, and nobody wanted another world war. Maisie takes on three seemingly disparate cases in this book: she is drawn to the trial of a young woman named Avril Jarvis, who is acused of murder. She accepts the assignment of a prominent lawyer, Sir Cecil Lawton, to determine whether his son was killed in the war. And she agrees to investigate the war record of the brother of her dearest friend, Priscilla Evernden. Of course, these cases quickly become intertwined. And that's the thing I enjoyed about this book the most: the fact that just when you think you have everything figured out, Winspear throws a monkey wrench into the works. Parts of the Lawton case were easy to figure out, and the pieces of the Evernden case fell quickly into place. The way these two related were less obvious at first, and cause me to slap myself in the forehead several times, saying "Why didn't I see that!" In fact, the book took me longer to read because of the number of times that I went back to re-read parts to find out what I'd missed. The characters in the book may seem stock to some-the intrepid young female investigator (a la Nancy Drew), her wealthy friend, the doctor/love interest, the aging mentor, etc. But the characters work, and Winspear has given them each enough of their own personality that they are unique in their own ways. The settings are fascinating-especially since I've just finished reading Michael Shaara's World War I novel To The Last Man. This is the first Maisie Dobbs mystery that I've read, but it won't be the last. As I said, I'm trying to broaden my reading horizons a bit from the science fiction/alternate history rut that I've been in lately. It's looking like mystery will be a good genre to expand into.

Better and Better

I love all the books in this series. My mom and I both read one copy of this book in less than a week between the two of us. You can't put these books down. Maisie Dobbs is a smart believable character who solves people problems as well as mysteries. What always seems like a strait forward problem will develop layers of complexity without losing focus. Winspear allows her main character to grow and develop in each book. If you haven't read the first two, buy them with this one. You'll love all three!

An engaging series with a truly unforgettable and irresistable heroine

Psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs is a rarity in early twentieth-century London --- and in the pages of detective fiction. Cambridge-educated, independent, and dedicated to her work, the spirited sleuth is the owner of a thriving London detective agency, drives a red convertible, regularly assists Scotland Yard, and uses her considerable skills to unravel even the most baffling of mysteries. In PARDONABLE LIES, the third adventure in the series, Maisie tackles not one but three cases. A 13-year-old girl, Avril Jarvis, is being held by Scotland Yard, charged with murder. Maisie is convinced that Avril is innocent and is determined to prove it. Next, Maisie is retained by Sir Cecil Lawton to find evidence verifying that his son, Ralph, perished in World War I more than a decade earlier. The aviator's body was never recovered, and on her deathbed Sir Cecil's wife --- who never accepted that her son was dead --- extracted a promise from him to lay the matter to rest once and for all. When Maisie's old college friend, Priscilla Partridge, finds out that she is looking into the death of a soldier, she asks Maisie to do the same for her brother. He, too, died during the war, and Priscilla has no knowledge of the circumstances surrounding it. These three seemingly disparate cases, as Maisie comes to discover, overlap in unexpected ways. Maisie's quest for information about the two soldiers leads her to France, where the journey takes a personal turn when she visits a site that continues to haunt her. Thirteen years ago, Maisie was a nurse on the front lines in World War I. An attack on the makeshift hospital where she was serving scarred her emotionally and physically, and robbed her of the man she loved, Dr. Simon Lynch, who is broken in body and mind. Here she hopes to, as her father says, "slay her dragons." While in France, Maisie also learns some startling facts about her mentor and former employer, Maurice Blanche. PARDONABLE LIES finds Maisie navigating treacherous ground, testing her detecting skills, her moral integrity, and her spiritual strength. Like the two previous books in the series, MAISIE DOBBS and BIRDS OF A FEATHER, this novel has as its backdrop the shadow of the Great War. History buffs will revel in the evocation of the time and place --- London in the year 1930, a city still reeling from the treacheries of war and unaware that another conflict looms on the horizon. Jacqueline Winspear has created a truly engaging series with the Maisie Dobbs novels. The historical accuracy, compelling plotlines, and vivid descriptions make for smart, appealing page-turners. But the key to their success is the character of Maisie. She's everything a heroine in mystery fiction should be --- brave, complex, hopeful, and beguiling enough to leave the reader wanting only one thing: more Maisie. --- Reviewed by Shannon McKenna

A crackerjack mystery!!

Mystery fans who have not yet discovered Maisie Dobbs would be well advised to correct that oversight! This author's writing is first rate and Maisie Dobbs is a deliciously detailed heroine. In the Fall of 1930, London is mired in economic Depression. And England's citizens have never quite recovered from World War I, including Maisie Dobbs. She still struggles with her experiences as a nurse at the Front. The man she loved in wartime is little more than a vegetable confined to a wheelchair. And her mother's untimely death haunts Maisie's thoughts, asleep or awake. Still, her work as an Investigator / Psychologist keeps her focused and busy as she pursues a cautious relationship with a devoted admirer, Dr. Andrew Dene. Maisie Dobbs is plucky, determined, and has become a skillful investigator in her own right. She'll need every ounce of courage and skill she possesses to survive the case that unexpectedly presents itself. Sir Cecil Lawton QC is a legal miracle worker and one of the great orators of his time. He promises his wife on her death bed to search for proof of their son Ralph's death. Sir Cecil hires Maisie to investigate the fiery airplane crash in France to prove Ralph dead. In exchange, Maisie agrees to halve her fee if Sir Cecil will defend an innocent, imprisoned girl awaiting trial for murder. While Maisie follows one intriguing lead after another in her search for evidence of Ralph Lawton's death, her assistant Billy Beale seeks information to bolster her belief that an innocent girl has been wrongly accused of murder. To complicate the investigation into Ralph Lawton's death, long time friend Priscilla begs Maisie to find information about her brother Peter. Soon, Maisie's educated hunches and focused search for clues lead her to believe that the disappearance of both men is related. After several attempts on her life, Maisie is convinced that someone powerful wishes to prevent a firm conclusion of her investigation. The list of suspects is painful to contemplate because it includes her old friend and mentor, Maurice Blanche. Why would investigating the death of two brave soldiers lost to war move anyone to kill her? Once Maisie ties up all loose ends to her investigation, the truth is shocking and poignant. Should she reveal the utter truth, or are a few "pardonable lies" in order? This book is a delightful read in every way. It's a crackerjack mystery, written by a skillful writer. The characters seemed like real people; they were that well-developed and appealing. Winspear creates an interesting and believable milieu for her characters and provides fascinating details of the era following World War I. Such details add to, and do not in any way detract from, the mystery and plot development. I applaud Ms. Winspear and her intriguing heroine. The possibilities for this series are endless, and wonderful to contemplate.
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