The underlying "Great War" theme that has been present in all of Winspear's novels (usually interwoven in several different threads and consequences, both directly and indirectly related to the war) is present in this one as well. Messenger of Truth deals with the artists who were assigned to work on war propaganda. Nick Bassington-Hope, after being wounded and long after any remaining ideals about the glory of war had disappeared, was required to design propaganda posters for the war effort. In the years after the war and following a long period of adjustment and recovery, Nick's post-war paintings provide a way of working through the despair so many returning soldiers suffered...and he is no longer concerned about who might be offended by his work.
Messenger of Truth is the 4th in the series, and I quickly realized that although I'd read the first two, I'd skipped Pardonable Lies, the third novel. This is an error to be rectified because I'm in the dark about the problems that developed concerning Dr. Maurice Blanche, Maisie's former mentor. While these mysteries can be read and enjoyed alone or out of order, because of the growth and change Maisie exhibits in each novel, I would have preferred to have read Pardonable Lies before Messenger of Truth.
At any rate, Maisie continues to be a young woman who takes her responsibilities to others seriously, but this novel introduces her to individuals who are more creative, more bohemian, more colorful than she has known before, and Maisie finds aspects of this artistic life appealing.
I can't wait for Winspear's next installment -- which will no doubt carry Maisie and her broader perpspectives into new adventures. There is a definite atmosphere of renascence at the conclusion of this novel, and like other fans of this series, I want to see where it leads.
Thanks again to Yolanda Carden at FSB for sending me a copy of Messenger of Truth.
Fiction. Mystery/Historical. 2006. 319 pages.