The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik

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April 3, 2011

No. 8, no. 2, no. 20

'It would be hard for a woman to wring a man's neck, Maisie,' said MacFarlane.
     'I'm not saying she murdered him, but I would like to speak to her all the same. I think there was a connection between Rosemary Linden and Greville Liddicote. I am not at all sure what it was, but I intend to find out. And before you ask -- yes, I do think there's an outside chance that it might be connected to our national interests, especially considering the information she might have to hand; information that others might not dream she has. And if they do, we might not be the only ones looking for her.' Maisie paused. 'Have you discovered anything earth-shattering, gentlemen?'
      MacFarlane rolled his eyes again. 'Bloody boring, those education types.'
      'Careful, Detective Chief Superintendent MacFarlane, you're talking to one of them.'
      'Staid, but never boring, Maisie.'
I think I agree...Maisie Dobbs is a little staid (though she has gotten a little snarkier as these books roll on). In this new one, A Lesson in Secrets, Maisie is brought in (again) by the British Secret Service to pose as a junior lecturer in philosophy at a new 'peace college' in Cambridge and advise on anything that might be against the British interests. She also becomes wrapped up (as in the earlier books) in the problems of her friends and colleagues, and a letter with a smudged postmark leads her to question her new romance with James Compton.  Maisie is such an interesting character that I sometimes wish she was more interesting, but there's still something very appealing about these quiet, intelligent mysteries. 

Sometimes, with all the books on my shelves, on my library reserve list, and now even on my Ipod, all wanting to be read next,  it's good to let due dates (instead of a conscious decision) decide for me. I'm looking forward next to two other new installments in the series mysteries I love to read.  I had time to start A Gentleman of Fortune or, The Suspicions of Miss Dido Kent, the second Regency-era mystery by Anna Dean, and this is all leading up to (oh, joy!) spending more time with Guido Brunetti. 

A Lesson in Secrets, by Jacqueline Winspear, was just published by HarperCollins. I read a preview copy kindly provided by the publisher.

{Image found here. I've always wished I had the head for hats.}

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Cristina (Rochester Reader) said...

A very smart hat! Maisie is great :-)
I haven't read any Brunetti yet but I have the first in the series... and after your exclamation of joy, I think I'll have to bump it up the TBR list :-)

Bellezza said...

My hair looks ridiculous under hats, although I, too, like them. That picture is great! I haven't read any of Jacqueline's books, but I know I need to. My dear friend down the street loves the audio of the first I gave her when she had eye surgery.

Ann said...

DOn't you sometimes feel that Maisie is a little more realistic for being a little less interesting? I'm with you about the hats, though. I would give anything to be able to wear one, but on my head they all look like pudding basins.

Penny said...

Oh! Squeak! A new Maisie Dobbs! I read 'Among the Mad' on my new Kindle (both were Christmas presents) and it wasn't the least depressing thing to read at Christmas, but then, I had a pretty depressing Christmas, so that probably fitted...

I love these books. I can see their faults, but I still find them very enjoyable, if that's the way to describe books that deal with the horrors of the First World War. Thank you for drawing it to my attention and for writing an enticing review. I wonder if it’s available on Kindle yet...

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