Sunday, April 28, 2013

Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear


First Line: Edith Billings-- Mrs. Edith Billings, that is, proprietor of Billings' Bakery-- watched as the dark woman walked past the shop window, her black head with its oiled ebony hair appearing to bob up and down between the top shelf of cottage loaves and the middle shelf of fancy cakes as she made her way along with a confidence to her step.

The dark woman Mrs. Edith Billings watched was Usha Pramal, whose body is later found floating in a South London canal. In two months Usha's brother steps off the ship from India and demands to know why more hasn't been done to find his sister's killer. Detective Inspector Caldwell knows that Scotland Yard did very little to investigate this murder and asks Maisie Dobbs if she will help Mr. Pramal.

Maisie learns that Usha was staying at an ayah's hotel with other Indian women whose British employers turned them out into the street when their services were no longer needed. Another woman at the hotel, Maya Patel, was Usha's friend and has information for Maisie, but Maya is killed before she can share what she knows. This case finds Maisie at a crossroads. She finds the Indian culture captivating, and she longs to travel in the same spirit as her mentor, Maurice Blanche, but her lover has given her an ultimatum, and an unfinished case demands to be taken care of.

As usual, Jacqueline Winspear brings 1930s London-- and the mindsets of so many of its citizens-- to life. The mystery kept me guessing right through the book. However, as any faithful Maisie Dobbs devotee will tell you, the mysteries are first-rate, but that's not the real reason why we eagerly await each new book in the series.

We faithful come back for Maisie herself. Her life has changed dramatically since the very first book, and we have to see how she will adapt. This book, more than any other, shows that there could very well be some great changes in her life in the near future. Maisie still isn't completely comfortable with her inheritance, but she has seen that playing Lady Bountiful with her friends and employees isn't the best way to deal with it. It's taken her a long time to overcome the horror she experienced as a nurse at the front during World War I, but she now has a sense of what she wants from life-- and what she wants to give to it. I can't wait to see what's in store when next we meet this wonderful character that Jacqueline Winspear has created. Maisie Dobbs is a treasure.

Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear
ISBN: 9780062049605
Harper © 2013
Hardcover, 352 pages

Historical Mystery, #10 Maisie Dobbs mystery
Rating: A-
Source: Amazon Vine

10 comments:

  1. This one is new to me. Thanks for the review

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    1. You're very welcome, Mystica! :-)

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  2. All of my friends love Maisie so I tried Elegy for Eddie and just thought it was okay. I think I need to revisit the series.

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    1. This is one series that you should read from the very beginning, Kathy. If you don't, I have the feeling that the books will never be anything more than "okay."

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  3. Cathy - I know just what you mean about Maisie Dobbs' character! I like the way Winspear has crafted and developed it. And this one sounds like a really interesting look at the Indian community in London. Intriguing...

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    1. It certainly highlights how all the Indian nannies, governesses, and other servants were often treated, that's for certain. Grrrrr....

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  4. Great review, Cathy! You're absolutely right about Maisie -- the character herself is what makes the series -- and I haven't even read most of them. I loved the first book in this series, and then... life intervened, and I let them slip away. I have the first four, plus several others; one of these days I simply must sit down and read the rest.

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  5. I read an early Maisie Dobbs and loved it, but then never got back to her. Must make time - time, time, time for all the books I do so want to read.

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    1. If only we could read faster, faster, faster!

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