I very much enjoyed this book, even more as a period/character piece than as a mystery.
Summary via TLC Tours:
Early April 1933. To the costermongers of Covent Garden—sellers of fruits and vegetables on the London streets—Eddie Pettit was a gentle soul with a near-magical gift for working with horses. So who would want to kill him . . . and why?
Maisie Dobbs’s father, Frankie, had been a costermonger, and she remembers Eddie fondly. But it soon becomes clear that powerful political and financial forces are determined to prevent her from learning the truth behind Eddie’s death. Maisie’s search for answers on the working-class streets of Lambeth leads her to unexpected places and people: to a callous press baron; to a has been politician named Winston Churchill; and, most surprisingly, to Douglas Partridge, the husband of her dearest friend, Priscilla. As Maisie uncovers lies and manipulation on a national scale, she must decide whether to risk everything to see justice done.
The book is set in England as the effects of WWI are still strongly felt, although the country is starting to recover, just a bit, and as the signs of the trouble that will become WWII are becoming visible to those that are looking. Maisie hasn’t been looking,not really, but is noting the signs are around her.
Causing more immediate unrest is Maisie’s personal situation. She’s made a change of class in a way that she recognizes as unusual, and it has left her feeling unsettled and somewhat lonely. She tries to compensate for this by “fixing” the lives of those around her, while trying to deal with her romance that isn’t feeling quite like it should, a house she’s not quite comfortable settling into, and money she really doesn’t want to spend on herself.
The book largely takes place inside Maisie’s head, which worked well for me. I found the world through Maisie’s eyes to be a very interesting place.
And yes, there was a mystery. Eddie himself was a very interesting man, and looking into his death opened many interesting questions for Maisie, and a created a framework for the other events in the book. Perhaps I was too distracted by the rest to properly appreciate the mystery. It certainly wasn’t bad, it’s that the rest was so good…
I’m a fan of Maisie Dobbs, but I skipped a couple of books to get to this one. Quite a bit had happened in Maisie’s life in that time, none of it really a surprise. I don’t think you’d have trouble following the book without having read the earlier volumes, although I’m also not sure you’d enjoy spending that much time in Maisie’s head if you didn’t already know her.
If you are particularly interested in the WWII ties, I’d start here, otherwise I’d read some of the earlier books first– they are good as well.
I received this book for review on a TLC Book Tour. Thank you for the opportunity to participate. For other viewpoints on this book, visit the other tour stops:
- Tuesday, October 30th: Reflections of a Bookaholic
- Wednesday, October 31st: Cold Read
- Thursday, November 1st: Peppermint PhD
- Tuesday, November 6th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
- Friday, November 9th: A Chick Who Reads
- Tuesday, November 13th: Book Journey
- Monday, November 19th: A Fair Substitute for Heaven
- Tuesday, November 20th: Oh! Paper Pages
- Monday, November 26th: 50 Books Project
- Wednesday, November 28th: Books, Thoughts, And a Few Adventures
- Thursday, November 29th: Broken Teepee
- TBD: Teresa’s Reading Corner