Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear

Synopsis From Back Cover:

A deathbed plea from his wife leads Sir Cecil Lawton, KC, to seek the aid of Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator.  As Maisie soon learns, Agnes Lawton never accepted that he aviator son was killed in the Great War, a torment that led her not only to the edge of madness but also to the doors of those who practice the dark arts of commune with the spirit world.  Determined to prove Ralph Lawton either dead or alive, Maisie is plunged into a case that tests her spiritual strength, as well as her regard for her mentor, Maurice Blanche.  The mission will bring her to France and reunite her with her old friend Priscilla Everden, who lost three brothers in the war, one of who has an intriguing connection to the case.

Since I started reading this series with the seventh book, I've since read the first, second, eighth, and ninth in the series.  By this time I feel as if I have a good feel for who Maisie Dobbs is, but I've made a goal to read the rest of the series by the end of the year.  With Pardonable Lies done, I can now check off the third book.

It was nice to go back and actually experience for myself some of the events and relationships that are mentioned further on in the series.  I enjoyed getting to see her relationship with the doctor develop and then fall apart, though I could have handled a little bit less angst about it.  And now that I'm thinking along those lines, it dawns on me that when it comes to men, either in this book or further along in the series, Maisie Dobbs does not seem to have it all figured out.  A lot of her self doubt and internal struggles seem to revolve around the men in her life.  And it's just not with her romantic relationships, she seems to have issues with her father and her mentor as well.  Since I'm not a psychoanalyst, I'm not going to explore that theme any further, but it's something to be on the lookout for later on.

It was also a treat to meet Priscilla Everden again, she is such a fun character, that it was nice to see her from the start.  On the surface, she seems to be the opposite of Maisie in so many ways.  But when you get to know her, see her with her family, and witness the effect she has on Maisie; Priscilla is more like Maisie than I think either of them are aware of.

When Maisie realizes that the side investigation into what happened to Priscilla's brother will lead her to the fate of Ralph Lawton, it's one of those odd connections that Maisie seems to draw towards her.  The way in which the two cases become tied together, and with the way Maisie comes across that connection takes upon itself an almost take on a cosmic force feel to it.  When you throw in the spirituality aspect of the story, including one medium who has true power, spiritual health is explored in a few different ways in this book.

The mystery of the missing aviator wasn't all that hard to figure out.  I was able to figure out why the man would choose to remain "dead", rather than go home, fairly quickly.  Between his father's attitude towards the young man, the pictures Maisie finds, and the reaction of the former friend, it's fairly obvious why Ralph Lawton would choose to play dead, if in fact that is what's going on.  I also have to say, it is a rather sad choice to make.  Ralph proved himself in the war, undertaking missions that most men would not only be scared to do, but physically unable to do them as well.  He was a true war hero, maybe under different circumstances, his father could have come around to see that.

I've already read the fourth book in the series, Messenger of Truth, and that review will be coming up in the next few weeks.  Now I just need to get my grubby hands on books five, six, and ten.  I can't wait.

Challenges: A-Z


Blodeuedd said...

Hm..this one sounds like I might have read it

bermudaonion said...

I need to start this series from the beginning. I read Elegy for Eddie and didn't get what all the fuss is about.

carol said...

I bet I would like this series, I just never seem to get around to it. Just too many mysteries out there.

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

These are on my list!

Staci said...

Loving this review and I swear I must go upstairs and claw my way through all of the junk in my book room and grab book one!

Lisa said...

I think I would enjoy the later books a lot more if I had read the series from the beginning and understand the reasons behind some of Maisie's feelings. Sounds like you're getting the background to help with that and enjoying it.