Friday, March 23, 2007

Pardonable Lies

by Jacqueline Winspear
This is book 3 in the series starting with Maisie Dobbs, followed by Birds of a Feather. I think the series gets better with each installment. Maisie is a former nurse who served in France during WWI. She has her dragons that are kept at bay through her hard work at her own detective agency, but in this book she is forced to face them as she travels to France on an assignment.

Pardonable Lies is set in England and France in 1930. Part of the magic of this series is that you feel like you are in the same time period while you are reading. Winspear captures the mood of the age through her description of fashion, decor, and through the dialogue spoken between the characters. You really get a sense of what is 'proper'.

Another reason I enjoy this series is the well-written, tightly woven mystery. Maisie works on 3 separate assignments in this story, but each provides insight that helps solve the others. On a more personal level they provide Maisie with important lessons in settling the past and moving on with her life.

Maisie mentor, Maurice, is present more in this book than the last two. At one point he gives Maisie the following advice: "(There is) the task that we are all sent to accomplish in each other's lives. It is a task of which we have no conscious awareness, but it is there all the same."

More advice from Maurice: "Consider your discomfort and welcome it as the ache necessary for you to become more deeply attuned."

Again, from Maurice: " As time passes we find that the clothes of the past do not fit, do not serve us anymore. As you grew, as you matured, the cloak of recovery ceased to coveryour pain, your guilt at survival."

I liked the imagery of this passage: Maisie turned her thoughts to her investigation, which was proceeding like liquid in a funnel, pouring toward an ever-narrowing point until captured in the cup below.

Just one more passage that caught my attention: Talk went back and forth in such a way that an observer might have been reminded of a tennis game on a summer's day, played not for a wager, or particularly to win, but for the pleasure of connection.

I felt pampered as I indulged myself in reading a mystery after so many months on classics and other pursuits. It was truly a pleasant pastime.


Literary Feline said...

What a coincidence! I just bought a copy of Maisie Dobbs, the first in the series to try. I think I'm going to let my husband read it first though. Everyone's been raving about this mystery series and so I just HAVE to give it a try! :-) I am glad you enjoyed this one and thanks for the great review.

Alyson said...

Glad you were able to have a nice enjoyable book to read. You've been doing so many challenges, so I'm sure it's nice to pick what you feel like reading.

Anonymous said...

I love the Maisie Dobbs series too. I think it's also a great book for non-mystery readers because there is so much more to the story than solving a mystery. I've read all of them and can't wait until the new one comes out.

SuziQoregon said...

I've only read the first one so far, but I enjoyed it. Good to hear they get even better.

Anonymous said...

Glad you liked this one! I love the Maisie Dobbs mysteries! I am also eagerly awaiting the next installment!

Bookfool said...

I'm waiting for a copy of Maisie Dobbs and just found Pardonable Lies in the library sale! So glad you enjoyed it so much. I haven't read a negative review about this series, yet. Thank goodness, since I already own two and have another on its way.

Love the springy new look!