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An Incomplete Revenge (Maisie Dobbs Book 5) Paperback – November 25, 2008

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An Incomplete Revenge (Maisie Dobbs Book 5) + Among the Mad (Maisie Dobbs, Book 6) + Messenger of Truth: A Maisie Dobbs Novel (Maisie Dobbs Mysteries)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; 1st edition (November 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312428189
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312428181
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Edgar-finalist Winspear's enjoyable fifth installment in her Maisie Dobbs series (after 2006's Messenger of Truth), the psychologist/investigator digs deep into a village's long-buried secrets. Maisie's benefactor, tycoon James Compton, wants to buy an estate in the bucolic hamlet of Heronsdene, but is wary after a string of mysterious fires. Maisie soon proves Compton's suspicions correct when she encounters the shady current landowner and a vaguely menacing band of Gypsies in town for the seasonal harvest. The locals are also curiously tight-lipped about Heronsdene's wartime tragedy, when a zeppelin raid wiped out a family. Teasing out Heronsdene's secrets will take all the intrepid former nurse's psychological skills and test her ability to navigate between the Gypsy and gorja (non-Gypsy) worlds. Winspear vividly evokes England between the wars, when the old order crumbled and new horizons beckoned working women like her appealing heroine. Even if a few of the plot twists prove predictable, this jaunt back to a bygone era is as satisfying as a spin in Maisie's MG. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Maisie Dobbs is a revelation."--Alexander McCall Smith, Author of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

"Those unfamiliar with the Maisie Dobbs series are best advised to start here and work their way backward. . . . An Incomplete Revenge shows Maisie at the top of her detecting form."--Newsday

"A smart, pragmatic private investigator and psychologist with extraordinary empathic sensitivity . . . Every page of this novel is dense with affectionately rendered period detail. Winspear deftly intertwines multiple story lines. The tale becomes increasingly gripping as the novel progresses toward a truly moving ending."--The Boston Globe

"Winspear’s lively and graceful prose, strong sense of time and place, and her ability to create believable and sympathetic characters make the book a joy to read."--The Denver Post

"A pleasure . . . This nuanced series explores England in the aftermath of World War I, when millions of women who lost their husbands, lovers, and sons were left to make their own ways. Maisie is one of that group, and her way is an appealing one."--The Times-Picayune (New Orleans)

"A compelling and intriguing puzzle . . . inspear infuses this moving novel with wisdom, restrained emotion and, as is her custom, issues of morality."--Richmond Times-Dispatch

"Intriguing . . . Fascinating . . . Skillfully drawn."--The Washington Times

"One of the more robust entries in the historical mystery category."--The Seattle Times

“Often eloquent and deeply human."--The Providence Journal

More About the Author

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Among the Mad and An Incomplete Revenge, as well as four other Maisie Dobbs novels. She has won numerous awards for her work, including the Agatha, Alex, and Macavity awards for the first book in the series, Maisie Dobbs. Originally from the United Kingdom, she now lives in California.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Richard Cumming on March 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series is written from a lovely point of view. During this period between the world wars the women of England found themselves in a surplus situation of millions compared to the men who had been obliterated upon the killing fields of France. This problem was also an opportunity.

In this fifth book of the series we find Maisie trying to solve the mystery of some mysterious arson cases in a tiny village during the hop harvest. The village is a strange place, filled with an ominous sense of dread.

Maisie has been liberated in a sense occupationally by the war. Many women found new careers because there were so few men left. She also finds another form of liberation in this book, the freedom to love again.

Winspear evokes a much gentler place where discourse was less profane, crimes were less explicit, and the carnage was a tragic memory of war. Violence is implied. Language is muted. Emotions drizzle across the page like an English rain. Exquisite!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on February 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In 1931 business tycoon James Compton considers buying property in Heronsdene, Kent but a rash of questionable fires has left him re-evaluating his selection. He asks his friend London based investigative psychologist Maisie Dobbs to look into what seems to him as obvious the work of an arsonist. She would do anything for her mentor and besides needs the money he offers as the Great Depression has hammered at consultants like her so she agrees to visit the tiny rustic village.

Maisie quickie uncovers the suspicious dealings of a landowner while wondering why the locals refuse to speak about visiting Gypsies or a WW I zeppelin raid that killed an entire family; as the behavior is way beyond the normal suspicion of strangers. A struggling Maisie begins to tie together the townsfolk, the gypsies, the Great War and what happened afterward in remote Heronsdene, but someone is on war alert watching her every step.

The latest Dobbs between the World Wars' mystery is a terrific entry in one of the best twentieth century private investigation series. Maisie is at her best as she sleuths in a location in which no one wants her around let alone snooping. However, it is the sense of time and place that makes AN INCOMPLETE REVENGE and its four predecessors (see MESSENGER OF TRUTH, PARDONABLE LIES, MAISIE DOBBS and BIRDS OF A FEATHER) worth reading as few authors if any bring to life England in the late 1920s and early 1930s as picturesquely as Jacqueline Winspear consistently has done with the marvelous Maisie mysteries.

Harriet Klausner
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By R. Boston on May 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Psychologist and Investigator Maisie Dobbs is hired to look into an odd series of petty thefts and fires in a small English village a decade or so after WW I. A series of annual fires, all near the anniversary of a Zeppelin attack on the town during WW I, are never reported to the authorities. The fire brigades are never called. The villagers extinguish the fires, acting as a single community, yet they seem to ignore the obvious reality that the fires are not accidents or coincidences. When asked, the indicdents are explained as accidents. No one will talk about them or the night of the Zeppelin attack, obviously deeply traumatized by something. Maisie gets to the bottom of it all, yet the truth is too unsettling to be comforting.

The book provides interesting insights into the British class system of the early 20th century, gypsie culture and the aftermath of war, but the book's true greatness is not manifest until near the end, as the pieces fall into place.

Though it starts a bit slow and may not immediately strike the reader as a great or even exceptionally good book, it exposes human nature as only great literature can. It is the only contemporary book I have read in years that I consider to be a great work of literature. Winspear peals back the layers of human nature, revealing raw grief, anger, fear, revenge and guilt.

This is one of the few books of our time that should be read and regarded as a classic by future generations. Once read, it will not be forgotten. It is not just another good detective novel.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By egreetham on May 17, 2008
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"An Incomplete Revenge" is an old-fashioned book reminiscent of very early Agatha Christie--there are lots of coincidences, a complicated plot with a gather-them-altogether ending, and rather stereotypical characters. And in spite of all that, the novel does have, like Christie's, a certain narrative power.

The book is centered on two puzzles: Maisie must find out who is behind the thefts at the manor house of an estate which her friend James wishes to buy, and she must determine who is causing the annual fires in the village where the estate is located. The novel is certainly not a mystery--the identity and rationale of the first criminal is obvious from the first. The "twist," the solution of the second problem, is also not very difficult to anticipate. Whether the reader enjoys the book hinges on what we make of the heroine and her dealings with the other characters and the atmosphere the author establishes.

Maisie is still too much of a superwoman for me--she rarely puts a foot wrong. Her reaction to a grave personal loss which she experiences lacks conviction, though some of the individual scenes concerning it are poignant and moving. I have come to dislike her bossy friend Priscilla, and wonder that Maisie is able to tolerate her. The conversations Maisie has with Maurice Blanche, her mentor, are full of pretension and fraudulent psychology; I haven't missed them.

Which brings us to the Rom, the "gypsies." The Rom customarily assist at the hop-picking which forms such an interesting background to this book.
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