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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Messenger of Truth

Winspear, Jacqueline. Messenger of Truth. The latest in the Maisie Dobbs series doesn't disappoint; Winspear's Maisie is a dynamic protagonist, and in this novel discovers some aspects of herself that have not previously had the opportunity to make themselves known. Through the course of her investigation to determine whether the death of a talented young artist was an accident or murder, Maisie discovers a lighter side of life, visits clubs, dances, and develops a deep appreciation of art and the people who create it.

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.


  1. I've listened to the first and third of this series, and enjoyed it so much I'm determined to listen to or read the ones I've missed. I've done it out of order, and maybe should fix that ...

  2. Great review Jenclair. I really love this series and am really curious about what will happen in the next book. I've heard it's not out until Spring 2008. Ah the wait....

  3. I've only read the first of the series so far, but I really enjoyed it and plan to read the second one soon. I'm glad to hear that the series continues to be good.

  4. I am a total fan of this character and series of novels. I adore her, and love when the new one comes out! xo

  5. dorothy - I'm curious, too, but at least I know I can read Pardonable Lies in the meantime.

    iliana - Spring 2008! Boy, that is a long wait. But I've checked your blog and jotted down 2 new (to me)authors of mystery series; should help ease the situation. :)

    SuziQ - I think they improve each time as Winspear gets more comfortable with the characters and the way she wants to develop them.

    MissyJoon - Maisie does have broad appeal; I like her character, her appreciation of Eastern meditation, her psychology background, and the mystery.