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March 14, 2011


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Julie P.

This was probably the most disturbing Maisie book for me. That's not to say that I didn't like it and think it was well-written. It as just disturbing with the mob mentality crime. Here's the link to my review:

1) Am I mistaken or did we learn that she had Gypsy blood in an earlier book? Not important -- just questioning my sanity. I think it was interesting because it was another way that Maisie felt as if she were an outsider. In addition, I liked how it explained her ability to "feel" the crime scenes and "read" people so well.

2) Loved that Maisie found this hobby and I agree that it was terrific how Winspear "wove" together the theme throughout the story by tying it to her investigation work and relationship with Maurice. Also loved how she was walking around with stained hands!

3) I thought she was an interesting contrast to Maisie. Even though both women were career oriented and worked hard to get where they were with their careers, they were very different. I'm kind of hoping to see more of her in a future book!

4) This crime really disturbed me and made me absolutely sick about the power of an evil person. I do think Winspear was using this event to foreshadow what is soon to happen in Germany with Hitler. Maybe that's why it made me even more upset!

5) It was sad for Maisie that Simon passed away, but I think it was time as far as the series goes. Maisie is beginning to move on and I think Simon's passing will give her freedom to maybe start a relationship with someone else. It's odd that we didn't see the Inspector at all in this book. I'm hoping he returns!

6)I loved the theme of dancing and, if I'm not mistaken, we saw a little bit of it in the last book too. I think Maisie's dancing, in both public and private places, is showing that she's finally allowing herself to feel a little joy (and become a little less inhibited.)

7)Sadly, I didn't write any down!

Thanks for the readalong! I already have a copy of the book!

Elizabeth Towns

Is this where I tell you I still need the book? I do!


It would be wonderful to read this book. thanks.

Word Lily

I think this may be my favorite book in the series since Maisie Dobbs.

Here's my review:

1. I loved the explanation (if only partial) for Maisie's sight, as well as the opportunity to step into another culture via Maisie.

2. I think the weaving (and dyeing) is good for Maisie, but I was sad we didn't get to see more of that in this book. I'm guessing it will come up again, though.

3. Beattie is interesting, I'm not sure what I think of her. She's so, very, desperate for a break — I hope it doesn't cause her to make a disastrous mistake.

4. This part was awful, sickening. But yeah, it's not like it (and/or things like it) doesn't actually happen. And it makes sense in the historical context (with WWII approaching) to bring it to the surface, I think.

5. Simon's passing is both good and sad for Maisie (and it was definitely time, as far as the series goes.) I love how Margaret acted.

6. This isn't the first book that Maisie danced in. I think through this we're seeing that Maisie is finally allowing herself to live, perhaps more freely, but also I think just letting herself out of the box/straitjacket she's forced herself into, to ensure her acceptance in the varied circles she encounters.

7. I made note of some of the Gypsy words.

I don't have the next book yet.

Julia - pagesofjulia

Here's my review:

1. I thought it was great fun to learn more about Maisie’s history and how it affects her. I’m so glad to peel back the layers, and I thought her gypsy heritage gave her a nice exotic touch of depth. It was also nice that it helped to explain her intuition. I struggled a little bit in Pardonable Lies with the idea that some people really have a sixth sense; intuition I guess I can buy, but the hint of the paranormal or supernatural messed up, for me, what I thought was a fully real-world series. I can go with it, though. And I like the gypsy-blood explanation.

2. She needed it, of course; her teacher’s observation, and Priscilla’s as well, is that it adds color to her life, which I think is clearly figurative as well as literal. Good for her. She needed a creative outlet.

3. I liked Beattie, and while she and Maisie had a little bit of conflict in the typical way that detectives and allied reporters struggle (she wants her story sooner; I think they have to be pushy about this, really), they did become friends, too. As we’ve said before (about Priscilla) Maisie needs all the friends she can get, especially female friends, especially someone she can speak to as an equal.

4. I found the death of the van Maartens unfortunately realistic. Nationalism and mob mentality of that sort are common in wartime. So I found it believable, but very painful. I was definitely surprised, though, at how calmly Webb walked away from the revelation. I can’t believe he didn’t want to at least break things, if not kill people!

5. It was a relief of sorts, and I think that’s pretty realistic and reasonable. She will finally have to let go, and get to move on; but she struggles with the idea, too. I thought it was good, and probably cathartic and helpful for everyone, that she and Simon’s mother got together. To me, the strangest part was how violent her response was to the idea of cremation. But, I guess I have different spiritual beliefs than some, plus this is a different era. I wouldn’t have expected it to be quite so objectionable an idea.

6. Maisie’s finally loosening up a little bit, allowing herself some creative outlet (like the weaving), and even some fun, happiness, enjoyment.

7. I definitely had to look up the conkers game, how interesting! I’m afraid I’ve thrown away my notes but there was another 2-3 words I looked up, too.

Thanks again, I'm enjoying this!


i would love to read this book,Its such a great series.

Jen - Devourer of Books

After what I thought was sort of a low point in Book 4, this was by far my favorite of the Maisie books!

1. We have gotten hints and clues about Maisie's extra-sensory abilities throughout the series, and I'm really happy that Winspear has finally given us a reason for this in Maisie's past. It is something I have been slightly uncomfortable with until this backstory was introduced.

2. I really liked seeing Maisie expand her horizons, and I thought the linking of this new hobby to Maisie's last major case in the art world was very well done.

3. The interaction between Maisie and Beattie was very interesting because they are so similar, and yet Maisie didn't seem to like Beattie very much, she seemed perpetually annoyed by her. My initial thoughts are that it is indicative of just how sort of counter-culture Maisie's life is, how ahead of her time it is, that
even she isn't really comfortable seeing it done.

4. The reveal of what happened to the vaan Maarten's didn't surprise me in the least, I saw it coming from miles away and, if anything, imagined it to be more generally malicious than it turned out to be. Honestly, I don't think it was any more disturbing than the crime from the past that happened in Book 4, that one really got to me.

5. Maisie handled Simon's passing somewhat better than I thought she would, actually. It seems like this was a very freeing event for her, and I wonder what would have happened between her and Dene if this had happened a year earlier.

6. Maisie danced some in the 4th book too, although she was sort of coaxed into it. I see this as a sign she is coming into her own, comfortable with herself.

M Denise C

I posted about An Incomplete Revenge and answered the questions there:

Cheers, Denise


I was fascinated by Maisie's gypsy heritage - it explains her unusual coloring, as well as her "sense" that goes far beyond intellect and observation.

I was horrified by what happened to the van Maartens - but it was amazing to watch the healing that came at the end of the book.

I thought Simon's death was a freeing event for Maisie - she has held onto him for so long.

The Cockney slang is always a treat; I do love Billy's character, and I hope he doesn't run off to Canada any time soon.

So glad to see Maisie indulging her artistic side, and dancing. I hope both those elements come up again.

I've already read the next book - can't wait for the discussion!

Diane (bookchickdi)

I enjoyed this Maisie novel more than Messenger of Truth.
My review is here:

As to the questions:
1) Learning about Maisie's gypsy gradmother adds to her interest as a character, and may explain some of her intuitive qualities.
2) I liked the weaving, and hope we get to see more of Maisie outside of work in future novels.
3) I loved Beattie! Her line about the vicar's duties- "hatch, match and dispatch" had me chuckling. I'll have to use that line sometime. Maybe she'll replace Billy as Maisie's assistant if Billy moves to Canada?
4) The van Maarten family story is awful, and I believe it is foreshadowing for what will occur soon in Europe. It has happened throughout history, and societies have to take care that mob mentality doesn't invade their thinking. It is the worst side of human nature to blame others who are different when times are tough.
5) Now that Simon is finally at peace, hopefully Maisie will find some for herself as well. Her reconciliation with Simon's mother was touching, and I'm glad Pris was there for Maisie.
6) Maisie dancing alone is freeing, and I agree with M Denise C, I hope we see more of her artistic side to balance her analytical side.
7) I learned what strumping is! I have been guilty of strumping myself, but I never knew that is what stealing apples from an orchard is called.

Michelle B

1) I think it explains a lot of Maisie's intuition with learning more about her background. I really enjoyed when she was 'divining' with the forked stick - I had only thought you could use it for finding water, not other items.

2) Maisie needed a hobby outside of work and I think this fits her nicely. I think what Book Club girl wrote says it nicely - "... this hobby nicely echoed the work she does as an investigator, with her case maps connecting the threads and patterns of events and motivations." What a great connection to make!

3) I was not thrilled with Beattie. I thought she came on too strong for my liking. Although being a woman in this age in a male dominated field, she would have to be a strong woman.

4) I was shocked with the mob mentality against the Van Maarten family. I understand these things happen, but it was difficult to read. I see the foreshadowing of the future WWII in Europe. I wonder how far into the future the Maisie books go?

5) I was sad to see Simon finally pass, but hope that Maisie is finally able to lay the past to rest and move on with her life. I hope that Maisie pursue's a continuing relationship with Simon's mother. Was anyone else shocked with the funeral - how the body went through a door to the crematory flames?!

6) I think with Maisie dancing, she is shedding her sadness. I hope she continues to dance!

7) I enjoyed the cockney, British and gypsy phrases and words - didn't keep track of them though. Glad I have a Kindle that I can look up some of the words while reading!

Martha@Hey, I want to read that

Yikes, I can't believe how late I am at joining in and with this being my favorite so far I really want to add my two cents.

1) It mad perfect sense to me Maisie has a little gypsy in her blood. It explains her gift so well and gives her even more depth. I love the idea we'll be able to explore more of that part of her and maybe even give her more family connections.

2)I love that Maisie is striking out in other creative ways and still using her abilities to draw others (like her weaving teacher) out. I also love that in each novel Maisie grows a little more and begins to have a much fuller life.

3) I think Beattie was a nice counterpoint to Maisie. She has so much of Maisie's drive and instinct with none of her polish. I have a feeling we're going to see her again. I think she would be another good female friend for Maisie to have. I also love the idea of Beattie becoming a novelist.

4) This was such a horrible crime and I had a hard time coming to terms with the town "getting away" with it. It was so an different view on the horrors of war. The foreshadowing of more war ahead seems to be everywhere.

5) I hate to say but I was a relief to have the Simon story line come to an end. It was handled to nicely and is such a big release for Maisie. I think she will able to really move on now. I really liked that Simon's mother was so thoughtful about her handling of his passing and I think it was the best decision for Maisie.

6) I loved Maisie danced again in this novel. Having her get in touch with this part of herself and releasing some of the grief she was holding on to and starting to really embrace her new life. It makes me hopeful we'll will be seeing a happier Maisie and some of the sadness that seems to cling to her will fall away.

7)I love the slang in these novels, including the added gypsy slang we were treated to. I remember Vitmo from earlier books and I want to try to find some, it sounds kind of yummy.

I say with each new novel, this one's my favorite. I guess it's a sign of how well they're written. I can't wait to get started on Among the Mad. My only apprehension is knowing I'm getting close to not having a new Maisie to read for awhile. Yikes, only three to go. I hope Jacqueline is working on a new one,I don't know how long I can wait.

Here's my review:

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well they're written. I can't wait to get started on Among the Mad. My only apprehension is knowing I'm getting close to not having a new Maisie to read for awhile. Yikes, only three to go. I hope Jacqueline is working on a new one,I don't know how long I can wait.

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As An Incomplete Revenge opens, Maisie has taken on a new pursuit, weaving. I thought that this hobby nicely echoed the work she does as an investigator, with her case maps connecting the threads and patterns of events and motivations. Winspear uses the weaving theme to describe her relationship with Maurice as well, when she refers to the "serious rent in the fabric" of their relationship.

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