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February 27, 2011


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Julie P.

I loved this book. And by the way, your questions are excellent!

Here's my review:

1) I like the tension between Maisie and the Inspector and would, at least, like for him to give her a chance. I think it would be interesting given that he has a young child too. Maisie as a step-mom?

2) Totally surprised. I always wondered about the sign on the door! I don't know if I'm as curious about these patients as I am in how Maisie deals with them, gives them advice, etc. Kind of like an IN TREATMENT episode in page form!

3) I have similar feelings. I loved the mentoring relationship and definitely miss it. I agree that Maisie didn't call him out of pride, though, and that bothered me a bit. I'm not sure I think Maisie couldn't benefit from a calming, mature influence.

4) One was the artist and how he portrayed the effects of the war in his paintings.

Of course Maisie was because he solved the crime.

And if I'm stretching, I think Billy's daughter was because what happened to her (trying not to be a spoiler) showed the realities of 1930s London and poverty.

5) Bummer! I wrote them down for an earlier book but not this one. No specifics are coming to mind, but some of the descriptions of the decorating and clothes were kind of new to me.

M Denise C

1) The break-up between Maisie and Dr. Dene was sad. Maisie was not completely up front with Andrew Dene. Their relationship was very one-sided. On the other hand, Dene should have realized how independent Maisie is and that she could never be a traditional wife. I think DI Stratton and Maisie are better suited for each other since their work is similar.

2)I wasn't surprised to know Maisie had other, non-detective-needing clients. If I was going to see a psychologist, someone like Maisie would be very emphathetic, besides being good at solving problems. It is a tough economic time period, so Maisie had to do what she could to bring in cash for her business.

3) Maisie, I think, did let her pride of get in the way of her and Maurice's relationship. Don't you hate when a relationship evolves into something like what was going on between Maisie and Maurice? It is so sad.

4) Messengers of truth in the novel:
-Maisie herself, always seeking the truth
-Nick Bassington-Hope-the artist trying to present the true reality of war
-Priscilla-she is always blunt and truthful to Maisie

5. Some of the words and phrases new to me were:

rashers-thin slices of bacon
nouse-know how; practical skills (Billy says "them with a bit of nouse").
winkles-an edible fish
whelks-an edible marine snail
wattle and daub-a building material consisting of interwoven rods and laths or twigs plastered with mud or clay
flibbertigibbet-an irresponsible silly or gossipy person
damson-tart fruit of a plum
soporific-Inducing or tending to induce sleep

Tilley lamp-kerosene lamp created by a John Tilley
Dr. Syn-a smuggler hero in some novels
Viyella-a wool/cotton blend brand of fabric


1. I was expecting Maisie's breakup with Andrew Dene, but it still made me a bit sad. I think his lighter spirit was good for her, though he's still dedicated to his work. (But I don't think Maisie would ever have given up her work to move to Hastings for him.)

3. I'm struggling with the rift between Maisie and Maurice - I think her independence is probably a good thing, but it makes me sad that she feels she can't trust him. And yes, I think her pride was a factor here.

4. Maisie is always a "messenger of truth," but I think Nick's paintings showed a truth most people didn't want to face. And Priscilla always tells Maisie the truth - I love her blunt honesty; she reminds me of an English friend of mine.

5. I'm still laughing about the "dog and bone" (telephone) - I've never heard anyone except Billy Beale call it that!

Word Lily

I finished the book yesterday, yay!

I'm conflicted about the distance between Maisie and Maurice. Yes, I'm glad that she's growing in her independence, learning to stand on her own two feet. But I'm also disappointed with how she left that relationship, how she was so curt when he called. I felt like she treated both Dene and Blanche poorly in this book, and I don't think that's entirely within her character. Yes, she gets caught up in her work, but she never made it back to those relationships, to even attempt to mend those breaks.

I noted a few new-to-me words, which I'll be posting as part of my regular Words from my Reading series. :)

Diane (bookchickdi)

I found this Maisie novel a bit of a departure. I liked how Maisie is becoming more independent, and I noticed we see less of the familiar characters we've come to know in this novel, a symbol of her growing independence.
My full review is here:

1. I'm sad that Maisie has to choose between her career and love, but it appears Dr. Dene is not the man for her. Will she end up with Det. Stratton if only because he better understands the demands of her career? Remember, her first love Simon and she worked together.
2. I was surprised with the psychologist reference. It was sort of sprinkled in, and then left there. Maybe it is foreshadowing for the next book? Will Maisie take on more clients as a psychologist?
3. I like Maisie's independence from Dr, Blanche. I think this novel is showing us Maisie's growth as a person and an investigator, it is really a natural progression.
4. I loved the fact that Nick's art is a messenger of truth. His art helped people face things they had difficulty admitting. I recently saw the Picasso exhibit at the Met in NYC, and the description of Nick's progression in his art reminded me of that exhibit, which traced Picasso's art throughout his career.
5. I did notice the jam jar reference,and I do like the slang. I'm with MDenise C, Billy's slang is the best, especially 'the dog and bone'.

Julia - pagesofjulia

Well, I missed book 3, but I'm on track with this one. See my review:

1) I clearly missed an important book in terms of Maisie's romantic life; I can't speak too much to her relationship with Dr. Dene. But I've always been set a little on edge by Stratton's attitude towards Maisie; I think he's a little patronizing. Maybe he feels threatened and reacts poorly. I'm not sure I'm rooted for a relationship with him, but I AM rooting for Maisie's social development, and dating would be good for her, in general.

2) This is funny. I'd always interpreted her "shingle" as meaning she's an investigator of the psychologizing persuasion; yes, I was surprised to hear about her other kind of client. I feel that Winspear has a good thing going with her as investigator and don't miss this other storyline too much, but I guess it would be interesting to hear about if done correctly.

3) Can't speak to this one too much since I missed the conflict! But I think it might be good for Maisie to have some distance.

4) I wish I'd made note in book 2 of the reference I saw there: something something is the messenger of truth. I guess Maisie is a messenger of truth; but keeping with the theme of "psychologist and investigator", I think what lies within us, known and unknown, is very much the messenger of truth. This seems to be Maisie's take. Or, within this book, art is a messenger of truth.

5) I always keep track of items of note on my bookmarks, which are just scraps of paper to be discarded when they're filled up and then researched. I keep a pen handy and write down words I don't know or concepts or people I want to research (with page number), and I look them up when I get a chance.

nomadreader (Carrie)

I loved this one too! Here is my review:

1. I wasn't surprised by the break-up, but I was (pleasantly!) surprised to get a glimpse of Dene's thoughts and perspective. I do like her with Stratton; they would always be running off to cases, and I almost picture them like Brenda and Fritz from The Closer (often there cases overlap.)

2. I'm curious about Maisie's credentials as an actual psychologist (and the licensing of psychologists at that time). It will be interesting to see if perhaps a psychologist client provides a clue to a case down the road, or if those careers will overlap in some way.

4. I love the layers of meaning in her titles. They are so remarkable! As an art buff, I was most impressed with discovering the details of the painting itself a messenger of truth. I also loved that Billy's daughter became a messenger of truth through Georgina and her work.


I know I say this with each book, but I think this is my favorite so far. They just keep getting better.

1) I wasn't surprised by the end of the relationship with Dr. Dene but I was surprised how sad it was. I thought they would evolve into a friendship and I hope one day they can be friends. I also noticed that maybe there was some chemistry with Alex Courtman. I hope we see him again.

2) I would love to see some of Maisie's Psychologist work. I forget that part of her shingle but it would be interesting to see her work purely as a Psychologist.

3)I think Maisie really needed to spread her wings and separate herself from Maurice. Trusting her own instincts. I think her pride is definitely mixed up in all of it but in the end I'm guessing she'll be better at her work.

4)I found it interesting the Winspear followed up Pardonable Lies with Messenger of Truth. After learning there were lies that were pardonable to tell Maisie had to decide to be the messenger of hard truths to the Bassington-Hope family. Even though she knew it would be hard she also knew it was important to their healing.

5) Well, thanks for the shout out (though I have to give Kathy @ BermudaOnion credit for inventing Wondrous Word Wednesday). I love British slang, if it wouldn't make me seem a prat (a word I just love) I would use it all the time. I love Billy calling his kids "nippers" it's just adorable. And in this book fell in love with "Shank's pony" which is a much more interesting way to refer to walking.

Thanks so much for hosting this read-along. I'm having the best time. I can't wait the next book. Here's my review of this outing:

Mindy Withrow

I read this book quite a while ago and passed it on to my sister, so it's not fresh enough in my mind for me to participate in this discussion. But I'm thrilled that so many of you are doing this! I love the Maisie books and am really looking forward to her new one. I did a series review of the first four at: Keep up the great discussion!

Word Lily

I posted my review:

Michelle B

1) I was disappointed that Maisie was not forthcoming with Dr. Dene with her reasons why she thought their relationship would not work. I was really rooting for Dr. Dene.
2) I was really surprised at this part of her job. I know her sign says psychologist, but I didn't think she actually did this work ... I hope we see this part of her job in the coming books.
3) Interesting how Maisie is continuing the rift with Maurice. I think it is part of her growing as a person - a new apartment, growing friendship with Priscilla as an adult, being an employer, confidence in her skills as an investigator. I hope in the future they heal their relationship.
4) I LOVE how the titles of the books carry such meaning in the book, when you look back at the book (or read others insightful comments here on the blog!).
5) I like the British words and slang, especially, the dog and the bone!

Jennifer, a quick question - I've tried to find the bundle of the next two books for ereader with no luck (I have a kindle) - can you give more directions? Thanks!

Book Club Girl

I love all the comments and reading all your reviews! Michelle, I'll send you a link!

Jen - Devourer of Books

1) I sort of wondered why Dene did not see the breakup coming earlier than he did. Did he really expect that Maisie was going to give up her work and come and play doctor's wife? If so he clearly didn't learn much from Maurice. I would be interested to see her with Stratton, he is already taking care of a child on his own, so it is possible that they could be together without him needing her to be a wife in the period sense. He might be one of the few men she could conceivably be with who would understand her, but things have been so strained between them since Dene I imagine it would take awhile.

2) I always assumed that the psychologist was on there to describe what sort of investigator she was, I was very surprised to see her actually meeting with patients, since we didn't hear anything about that in the first 3 books.

3) I definitely think this had more to do with Maisie's pride than her independence, particularly with how short she was with Maurice when he called her.

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