Wednesday 3 July 2013

Book Review: Maise Dobbs #9 and #10

For background on the Maise Dobbs series, see my reviews of #7, The Mapping of Love and Death (and #8, A Lesson in Secrets. Having liked #8 better than #7, I decided to go straight on from that one to the next:


Jaqueline Winspear: Elegy for Eddie
(Maise Dobbs #9)  (2012) ****

April, 1933. To the costermongers of London, Eddie Pettit is simply a gentle soul with a near-magical gift for working with horses. When he is killed in a violent accident, the costers are sceptical about the cause of his death, and recruit Maisie Dobbs to investigate. Maisie, who has known these men since childhood and remembers Eddie fondly, is eager to help. But it soon becomes clear that powerful political and financial forces are equally determined to prevent her from learning too much about Eddie's death  ---
From Amazon’s book description)

I found this book keeping up the standard from the previous one; the mystery concerning Eddie’s death enhances Maise’s personal struggles to get used to having climbed up quite a bit on the social ladder since her own childhood and youth.

So after finishing that one, I decided to catch up and read the most recently published book in the series too:

Leaving Everything Most Loved
(Maise Dobbs # 10)  (2013) ***

London, 1933. Some two months after an Indian woman, Usha Pramal, is found murdered in a South London canal, her brother turns to Maisie Dobbs to find the truth about her death. Not only has Scotland Yard made no arrests, but evidence indicates they failed to conduct a full and thorough investigation. ---
(From Amazon’s book description)

As usual the author is good at descriptions of the time period, and here she brings in some of the culture clashes that come with people from other parts of the Commonwealth moving to England/London to live. However, I feel that both the mystery and the background story are losing tempo again in this book. It feels too much like an interlude or “treading water” as far as Maisie’s personal life is concerned. (Of course most of us go through periods like that. But that does not necessarily mean it makes a good novel…) The book keeps pointing forward to more drastic changes coming up; but as for what will really happen, we shall have to wait until the next book to find out (the author knows by now how to keep us wondering). And that I think is a common weakness with series that just go on and on.


Quotes from Elegy for Eddie:

Sometimes we say we’re sad when we would be better served by using the word melancholy, for example. Sometimes anger can be more accurately described as frustration. The distinction helps us identify a path through the maze of emotion – and emotions can be debilitating, can paralyze us if we allow them power, and we do that when we fail to be precise.

I think I want to find out what it’s like to approach a corner without constantly trying to be prepared for what I might encounter when I round it.
Yes, it does make the load rather heavy if you carry tools for every eventuality.


Quote from Leaving Everything Most Loved

Maisie paused, putting the information about [---] to one side in her mind, as if moving a saucepan to another burner on the stove – it was not to be forgotten, but could simmer while her focus was on the main reason for her call.


  1. this is me to the nth degree
    I think I want to find out what it’s like to approach a corner without constantly trying to be prepared for what I might encounter when I round it.
    Yes, it does make the load rather heavy if you carry tools for every eventuality.

    I drive myself crazy look at what if and what will i need if i do something.. i try to guess and second guess and plan plan plan

  2. I love the quote about gong round a corner. But most of all I love your header today, one of your prettiest...I keep scrolling up for another peek and have now been doing this for several minutes!

  3. So far, I have not read any of the Maisie Dobbs books and am not sure I will, but they certainly sound interesting from your descriptions.

  4. I don't think I'll be in a rush to read these Monica.Thanks for letting me know.
    Anne Cleeves is okay on the who-dunnit genre.

    1. I suspect you might find them a bit slow-paced, Adrian. I think I what I like best about them is that they seem to be well-researched for details of the time-period (1920s and early 30s).

    2. Monica, I wouldn't know. I am old but not that old.

  5. Too many books. To little time. I like the middle two quotes though. I might store those for the future.

  6. I am so far behind with my reviews that I don't think I'll ever catch up. Well done you for writing yours.


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