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Messenger of Truth: A Maisie Dobbs Novel (Maisie Dobbs Novels) Hardcover – Unabridged, August 22, 2006


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Product Details

  • Series: Maisie Dobbs Novels (Book 4)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; First Edition edition (August 22, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805078983
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805078985
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #181,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Winspear's winning fourth historical to star British psychologist and PI Maisie Dobbs (after 2005's Pardonable Lies), Georgiana Bassington-Hope, a pioneering female war reporter who was a classmate of Maisie's at Girton College (Cambridge), asks Maisie to investigate the death of her twin brother, Nicholas Bassington-Hope, a WWI veteran and artist. The police have ruled Nick's fall from a scaffold at a Mayfair gallery before his masterpiece could be unveiled an accident, but Georgiana suspects foul play. As Maisie delves into the art world and the dead man's unusual family, the author provides an insightful look at class divisions and dangerous political undercurrents of homegrown fascism in early 1930s Britain. Some might wish that the whodunit side of the story was more developed, but fans of quality period fiction will be well satisfied. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Class divisions and the trauma of war are compelling themes in Winspear's fourth offering featuring psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs (following Pardonable Lies, 2005). Dobbs, who earned a degree from Cambridge and served as a nurse during World War I, employs both meditation and intuition to crack difficult cases. (Her suspicions are often manifested in a "sensation at the nape of her neck, as if a colony of ants were beating a path from one shoulder to the other.") The novel opens in late 1930, as Georgina Bassington-Hope, a well-to-do former wartime journalist, consults Maisie following the death of her twin brother, Nick, a painter commissioned to design war propaganda after sustaining injuries in combat. (Georgina doubts police reports that claim her brother fell from scaffolding while installing a major exhibition at a local gallery.) As Maisie searches for clues among Georgina's relatives, she grows increasingly troubled by the family's shameless extravagance during trying economic times. A cast of vivid characters and plenty of rich period detail boost Winspear's somewhat lethargic plot. Allison Block
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

I just finished reading this book, and had to contribute my two cents.
Catriona White
Her writing is excellent, the story lines are well crafted, and it is wonderful how she engages the readers as she develops her characters and their interactions.
LMH1
Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear is the fourth book in the Maisie Dobbs mystery series.
Christina Lockstein

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Set in post-World War I England, the Maisie Dobbs mysteries keep getting better and better--more fully developed, more complex, and more illustrative of life in that between-wars era. In this fourth novel, Maisie, a former army nurse, now in her late twenties, is an "inquiry agent," or private detective, who has been contacted by wealthy Georgina Bassington-Hope following the death of her brother Nick. Nick, a highly regarded artist, died in a fall from the scaffolding he was using to mount a new exhibition, and Georgina, defying her family and the police report, believes he was pushed.

Using straight-forward, workmanlike prose, author Jacqueline Winspear develops the story and a motley cast of characters which offers a broad cross section of the society between world wars--from the wealthy Bassington-Hopes, who can afford to be frivolous in their arty lives, to the family of Billy Beale, a poor man who supports his large family as Maisie's assistant. The exotic world of artists, gallery owners, and buyers, comes alive, as does the world of fishermen on the Kentish coast, where Nick Bassington-Hope has his studio, and the reader quickly develops an awareness of the stratification pervading society and the concern for one's "place" in it.

As Maisie begins her investigation of Nick's death, Winspear juggles several overlapping plot threads simultaneously. Nick's exhibition was to feature his "masterpiece," thought to be a triptych about his experiences in the war, a work of art so secret no one has ever seen it--and no one has found it since his death.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Roger Brunyate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is Jacqueline Winspear's fourth novel about Maisie Dobbs, "psychologist and investigator." Fans of the series may be slightly disappointed, but should still enjoy it. First-time readers will wonder what all the fuss is about. For, as I suspected already in the third novel, PARDONABLE LIES, the narrative span is becoming difficult to sustain over four books.

But Winspear's sense of period seldom lets her down, and there are still many interesting things here: her view of the vibrant art scene between the wars or the heady night world of jazz clubs and cocktails, contrasted with the effect of the Depression on the out-of-work poor and the lamentable state of public health. And those parts of the story which have to do with the rags-to-riches rise of the heroine (housemaid, war nurse, Cambridge graduate, private investigator) are mercifully shorter -- though Maisie's emotional problems would mean very little to those who had not read the earlier books. But Winspear seems caught on a difficult watershed: on the one hand, continuing to write about the legacy of the First War, which no longer has the resonance that it had in her first books; on the other, exploring the life of a nation moving inexorably towards the Second. There are aspects of both here, but they do not blend easily. If she is to continue, the author needs to move forward rather than back -- and also develop the inner life of her heroine so as to make her interesting for who she is now, rather than as the product of previous books in the series.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Catriona White on February 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just finished reading this book, and had to contribute my two cents. I loved this book! I think it is the best yet in a series that is head and shoulders above most mystery series. Maisie, already a complex character to begin with, becomes richer and deeper in this recent book. So many facets of the deepening worldwide depression are interwoven with the echoes of World War 1, even as faint echoes of the rise of fascism in Germany are making themselves felt, creating a many-layered mystery. In response to the reviewer who felt that Maisie was not as likeable in this book, I did not find that to be the case at all. I DID notice something of that transformation in the previous book in this series, Pardonable Lies, but then, Maisie was undergoing something of an emotional breakdown at that juncture, making it a somewhat darker book. In this book, Maisie seemed to be back on track, and beginning to open to new ideas and possibilities which perhaps the author will explore in later books. I can't wait for the next one!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By tregatt on August 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The fourth installment in the ever popular Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator, "Messenger of Truth" may not be as thrilling and as riveting as "Birds of a Feather" (still my favourite entry in this series), but it stands up well and made for an absorbing and enjoyable read.

When her twin brother, Nicholas, falls to his death while mounting his latest work for an upcoming exhibition, journalist Georgina Bassington-Hope refuses to believe that Nicholas' death is an accident. Instead, she's certain that Nicholas was murdered. Talented and single-minded, Nicholas was well known for upsetting and angering people with his opinions and his art. The police, however, are quite satisfied that Nicholas' death was an accident; and because she cannot get them to reopen the case, Georgina seeks out Maisie's help in discovering who murdered Nicholas and why. Soon, Maisie is delving into the unfamiliar world of artists and night clubs in an attempt to understand Nicholas, his work and what happened the last few hours before he met his death. Was Nicholas murdered because of his art, or because he was involved in something nefarious and dangerous...

While I can see why the previous reviewer was disappointed with this latest Maisie Dobbs installment, I rather enjoyed "Messenger of Truth" myself. Not only was the mystery subplot a very intriguing and tantalising one, but a wonderful bonus here for me, I thought that Jacqueline Winspear did a fantastic job of capturing the darkness and excesses of the period.
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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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