Published by: Picador
Published on: June 27, 2006
Page Count: 384
Genre: Mystery/Historical Fiction
My Reading Format: Hardcover copy borrowed from my public library
Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, and Audiobook
Summary from the Publishers
In the third novel of this unique and masterly crime series, a deathbed plea from his wife leads Sir Cecil Lawton, KC, to seek the aid of Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator. As Maisie soon learns, Agnes Lawton never accepted that her aviator son was killed in the Great War, a torment that led her not only to the edge of madness but also to the doors of those who practice the dark arts and commune with the spirit world. Determined to prove Ralph Lawton either dead or alive, Maisie is plunged into a case that tests her spiritual strength, as well as her regard for her mentor, Maurice Blanche. The mission will bring her to France and reunite her with her old friend Priscilla Evernden, who lost three brothers in the war, one of whom has an intriguing connection to the case.
While Jacqueline Winspear’s novels are certainly cozy, not everything is comfortable for Maisie. I found all of the mysteries under Maisie’s concern in Pardonable Lies interesting and thought provoking. There are so many ways in which a war can tear lives apart and make people see what they do not want to see. At the same time it allows those who choose to do so to remain in the dark. Maisie had to walk a fine line in this book. In fact, she’s in real danger throughout the story. Logically, I knew that all would work out in the end for many reasons, but I was with her in the grips of her fear and anxiety. My mind was racing for the answers right along with her. I appreciate how Maisie forces herself to see the truth in broad daylight even when she cannot compel others to do the same.
While I read the first two books in the series in audio, my local library has the entire collection in print. Although it’s been a while since I’ve read Birds of a Feather, I didn’t feel like hearing Maisie’s voice through that of a third narrator, even though she is well regarded and thus far has continued to narrate the rest of the series. This was the right decision for me. In this book I heard Maisie and Billy Beale in the voices of Rita Barrington and it felt right. I also found myself needing to read in bed. For whatever reason, I’ve not yet mastered the art of staying awake and alert with an audiobook in the wee hours.
Reading Pardonable Lies affirmed my decision to catch up on the adventures of Maisie Dobbs this year. I look forward Messenger of Truth in February, although it wouldn’t be difficult for me to read one Jaqueline Winspear novel after another until I’m finished. Knowing that once I read Leaving Everything Most Loved (published in March) I will have to wait as patiently as possible for the next installment to arrive is helping me to pace myself right now. We’ll see how long that lasts. I have a feeling once I start seeing reviews and tweets fly around that I’ll be in a fever. If you haven’t yet started the Maisie Dobbs series, give it a try. You’ll soon be under Maisie’s spell right along with me.