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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A new direction ?
Another Maisie Dobbs Novel , but sadly it seems wealth and happiness do not make Maisie more interesting. I feel
Winspear was not sure where to take Maisie and felt she should move forward, I am just not sure if this is the right direction.
I preferred Maisie as an independent and slightly flawed emotionally, making her living and being involved in the life of...
Published on 13 Dec 2012 by Louise Bryan

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
The main problem with this book is the ridiculous plot. Characters are OK, if stereotypes, and the writing is good. I don't expect this sort of book to be more than a potboiler and it is that - fine to read on holiday.
Published 17 months ago by MollieCoddling


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5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant cant wait for the next, 7 July 2014
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brilliant cant wait for the next book
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3.0 out of 5 stars up to standard, 24 April 2014
By 
Stanley Crowe (Greenville, SC) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Lesson in Secrets, A (Maisie Dobbs) (Paperback)
I enjoy the Maisie Dobbs books, but they are quite odd. The post-World War 1 novels of Rennie Airth, for example, give a much more frightening sense of the damage that war can do, and they generate a psychological intensity that Winspear shies away from, and their resolutions are gripping scenes of action. Both Airth and Winspear are concerned to present the world between the wars as a time of fragility, but the sense of threat is much more palpable in Airth's books. In this novel, the shying away from intensity is present too in the domestic passages; Maisie is now sleeping with James Compton, but there is absolutely no sexual energy AT ALL in the novel, and this absence of erotic liberation cuts against the book's ostensible theme of the capacity of women to work effectively in a world still largely dominated by men. There are four strong women in this novel -- Maisie herself, Francesca Thomas,her colleague at College of St Francis, the College Secretary Rosemary Linden, and Maisie's office helper Sandra, now a widow determined to find out the truth behind her husband's death. Rosemary and Sandra, in their different ways, generate some intensity, but Maisie's job seems to be always to be cooling things down -- and that doesn't augur well, long term, for her relationship with James Compton.

Without giving too much away, the story has Maisie agreeing to work for the Secret Service by taking a job teaching introductory Philosophy in Cambridge at the College of St Francis, whose head and founder, Greville Liddicote has established it to further peace in the world following the horrors of World War 1. Hitler is beginning to make noise in Germany, and he has sympathizers in Britain, but (Maisie discovers) he is not taken seriously -- except by Maisie and Francesca, those prescient women! Then Liddicote is murdered, Scotland Yard appears on the scene, and Maisie, though told to keep out of the way of Inspectors McFarlane and Stratton by her Secret Service handler, manages to solve their case, while still being able to make her report to the Secret Service, AND solve problems that Sandra gets into as she seeks the truth about her husband. It's a weakness of the plotting, though, that Maisie manages to resolve the questions of the murder and Sandra's danger not really by sleuthing but by happenstance -- being in the right place at the right time. There is some effective detective work -- the finding of Rosemary Linden, for example -- but it is followed by a lot of exposition that means that Maisie doesn't have to figure things out. Likewise with Francesca Thomas -- there comes a point where she just explains it all. Is it a quality of Maisie's character that makes people explain things to her? or is it a plot convenience that Winspear can't find any other way around?

The real charm of the book is in its rather detached aestheticizing of its "world" -- a kind of aestheticizing that invites a nostalgia for that world, which, one has to say, was far more dangerous and difficult than the books show. The political and economic challenges are alluded to, but they are not rendered convincingly. So all in all, the world as the books present it, is the kind of world in which a sensitive and intelligent woman like Maisie can thrive. That is sentimental and as a result the books belong to the genre of polite romance rather than "thriller." The idea of romance fits too with the treatment of class in the novel, which is a bit odd. James's class difference from Maisie just doesn't register on her consciousness, while her assistants Billy and Sandra treat Maisie as a higher class of being -- even though Maisie's origins are as humble as theirs. I think we're meant to believe that education dissolved these differences, perhaps along with the horror of the war which tends to make one think of common humanity rather than social classes. And maybe it does for some -- but c. 1930, when this book is set, class difference in fact did matter and education had not yet worked its dissolving power. All of which is to say that the grasp of the period is a bit shaky for all the "period detail" of clothes and transportation. For all that, Lee Child, creator of Jack Reacher, apparently loves the Maisie Dobbs books -- but looked at in one way, there's something sentimental about Child's plots too. Justice is done, loose ends are tied up, and history is largely ignored, though there is a bit more sex and violence on the journey.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A thrilling new crime writer, 14 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Lesson in Secrets, A (Maisie Dobbs) (Paperback)
Different, exciting, with no gratuitous violence. Makes me want to read the next, and the next..... Anyway I have them all now, and will read again as I read very fast, and find a lot at second reading.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Up to the usual standard, 6 Feb 2014
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Another intriguing story featuring Maisie Dobbs and her group of colleagues.Another good plot well formulated with a conclusion that is not predictable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear, 3 Jan 2014
A Lesson in Secrets is a quirky, fun novel to read. This book will treat the reader to a wonderful escape via a charming curiosity; come investigatory adventure. All rolled out upon a very British, England setting, back in the 1930s when everything was distinctive, predefined by class.

This is the eighth book of the still growing, Maisie Dobbs series of novels by Jacqueline Winspear.

Maisie Dobbs is a strong willed, independent, female, psychologist and investigator who, in her early years managed the impossible; jump the class barrier. All the Maisie Dobbs novels carry a strong link to the impact of the Great War (WW1). Yet this novel is quite interesting because it also primes the reader with several aspects of the build up towards the future disaster of WW2. Maisie is on assignment, assisting the Secret Service via her links with Scotland Yard. Her cover, to collecting intelligence, is a return to the corridors of academia as a juror lecturer. Yet Maisie soon finds herself on location and in the middle of a murder investigation.

I guess I should add a note to assist anyone new to the Maisie Dobbs series of novels. Read the first one. It's titled, Maisie Dobbs. Knowing where Massie Dobbs came from and how she got to where she is, is a great way to approach being involved in the understanding of the activity within her world.

Five stars.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Maisie Dobbs , A Lesson in Secrets, 22 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Lesson in Secrets, A (Maisie Dobbs) (Paperback)
I am a fan of Maisie Dobbs , having bought a number of them. I like the quaint of the period and the settins of the individual stories. Maisie has a great appeal with a foot in each class of the social divide, which sustains interest in the social mores of the period.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another Good Read, 20 Aug 2013
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I have read this on the Kindle

This was the 8th book in the Maisie Dobbs series, while it was a Good read i didn't think it was as good as previous ones
I think it was because she was doing work for the Secret Service
It still had the main people in it as you follow their lives
I think that the story in this one was not so smooth as in others & i think the reason that Maisie was in Cambridge didn't gel as what she finds out the secret service seems to not be interested in so if they not taking notice of her why did they send her there i found that the subplots more interesting that what she was suppose to be looking at
All that said it was still a good read just not as good as her others
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5.0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly enjoyable read., 29 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Lesson in Secrets, A (Maisie Dobbs) (Paperback)
The 'Maisie Dobbs' book by J.W are a consistently good read. Set in the 1920's-1930's they have a lovely mix of times gone by with a bit of intrigue. If you like a bit of mystery without any gore or swearing then these books might be for you. It's not described as 'cosy crime' for nothing - you could even buy these books for your Grannie.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Maisie does it again!, 12 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Lesson in Secrets, A (Maisie Dobbs) (Paperback)
Entertaining without being too heavy, and one cannot wait for the next to be published. Gets better as the years go by.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 22 Aug 2014
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Enjoyed it very much. I like the period and the solving of the mystery.
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Lesson in Secrets, A (Maisie Dobbs)
Lesson in Secrets, A (Maisie Dobbs) by Jacqueline Winspear (Paperback - 27 Aug 2012)
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