Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Elegy for Eddie: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear

Elegy for Eddie: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear
Published: March 27, 2012 by HarperCollins Publishing
Source: this copy courtesy of the publisher for TLC Book Tours

In this ninth book in the Maisie Dobbs series, Maisie and her team are hired by a group of costmongers (fruit and vegetable street venders) to investigate the suspicious death of Eddie Pettit. Maise grew up in the same neighbor hood as Eddie and knew him to be a kind, gentle, if somewhat slow person who was what we would now call a horse whisperer. The police refuse to investigate what appears to be merely an accident but these men Maisie has known all of her life are convinced that Eddie's death was no accident. As Maisie and her team begin to investigate, they quickly discover that there is much more to this case than simply the death of a common man. Set in 1933, Winspear brings the behind the scenes build up to the coming Second World War right into Maisie's life as her probing leads her to question a friend and brings the press and a certain Mr. Winston Churchill into the fray.

As with The Mapping of Love and Death, Elegy for Eddie is as much about Maisie as a person as it is about her as an investigator. In this book, Maisie, who appears to have a propensity for introspection, begins to question the motives behind her acts of kindness, her feelings about her new wealth and, above all, her feelings for Viscount James Compton.

Both of the Maisie Dobbs books I've read this month, could very easily be books about Maisie and her circle of friends that happen to have a mystery included as mystery stories that happen to rely heavily on the characters involved. For me, this is both a great asset to the books and a deterrent. Any time you write a series with recurring characters you have to make a choice - will the reader absolutely need to start at the beginning if they want to know what's going on with the characters or will you figure out a way to get new readers up to speed in each book. Winspear has made the latter choice, a choice I very much appreciated when I read The Mapping of Love and Death but here I did find it to be a bit in my way as I read. Still, easy enough to skim over those bits and get on with the lives of Billy, Sandra, Priscilla, James, Frankie, and, Maisie as they move forward with their lives, loves, and difficulties.

For other opinions about this book, check out Word Lily's review, Ryan's review at Wordsmithsonia, and Leeswammes' review. Thanks to TLC Book Tours for letting me help celebrate "March is Maisie Month!"

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