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Messenger of Truth
A Maisie Dobbs Novel, No. 4

by Jacqueline Winspear

      Maisie Dobbs isn't your usual private detective. To start with, she's female and runs her own agency - unusual enough today, unheard of back in the 1930s. She's also a former maid and wartime nurse. But that's only the beginning. Her sign says "psychologist and investigator" for a reason. She not only has dual practices, but also takes a strongly psychological approach to detective work, basing her investigations on a well-integrated combination of logic and intuition that borders on the psychic. She investigates facts, but she solves people.

Artist Nick Bassington-Hope died falling from the scaffolding where he was working in privacy to install his latest controversial masterpiece. The police quickly rule his death an accident, but Nick's twin sister Georgiana refuses to leave it at that. She is referred to Maisie, whose search for the man Nick was -which she feels she needs to understand to determine how and why he died- forces her to work her way through the complicated web of crime, deception, and personal conflict surrounding Nick in life and in death. A journey that takes her into personal danger both physical and psychological, since (as in prior books) the investigation also forces her to face some truths about herself and her own life.

There's plenty of plot and action, but this series is really about people: their relations with each other and what makes them the way they are. Including Maisie herself, who at times in prior books has seemed almost too perfect, but shows some reassuringly human flaws here. This book and the entire series also give a great feel for the time, when unimaginable scars from The Great War are still part of everyday life for too many people and where the worldwide economic depression of the 1930s brings its own problems. A satisfying entry in one of the more unique series - historical or otherwise - being written today. Recommended.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Pardonable Lies, No 3
Messenger of Truth, No 4
An Incomplete Revenge, No 5
A Lesson in Secrets, No 8


The Book

Henry Holt and Co. AND Picador
August 2006 / July 2007
Hardcover / Paperback
0-8050-7898-3 / 0312426852
Historical Mystery [London 1931]
More at

NOTE: Agathy and Macavity award winning author for prior books in this series.

The Reviewer

Kim Malo
Reviewed 2006
© 2006