Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs novels have always fit beautifully into the category, "Between the Wars." Her latest, Elegy for Eddie, not only fits that category, but it shows Maisie herself trapped between two lives. Just as England itself struggles to deal with changes in the world, Maisie is struggling to deal with changes in her own life.
Nothing illustrates Maisie's change in status more than the new case she takes on as an inquiry agent. Five men from Maisie's childhood, friends of her father, showed up to ask her to look into a death ruled a "regrettable accident." Maisie remembered Eddie Pettit, who was about ten years older than her, as a little slow, but a gentle, innocent man who seemed to have a magical gift with horses. Maisie's father once worked in Lambeth in the market with those costermongers, and they tried to help when her mother was ill. Now, it's Maisie's turn to try to help those men and Eddie's mother find answers to his death.
Eddie was killed at Bookhams Printers in what appeared to be an industrial accident. But, when Maisie visited the factory, she uncovered rumors that Eddie ran into a bully, a man who always hated him. And, it wasn't long before her probing caused a second tragic accident. She's determined to find answers, even as the case takes her into the homes of the class she now travels in as a wealthy woman and the girlfriend of Viscount James Compton. How much does the wealthy newspaperman who owns Bookhams know about Eddie's death? Maisie's questions involve newspapers, Winston Churchill, her friend Priscilla's husband, and even James himself.
Maisie Dobbs finds herself in a difficult stage in life, as well as in a difficult case. She's caught between her past, as a child of the working class, and her present lifestyle, as a wealthy property owner attending parties with the rich and influential. And, despite her love for James, she finds her life with him suffocating at times. It takes a couple shrewd friends to warn her that she might want to analyze herself and her life.
It's 1933. Germany and Hitler are on the rise. It's a situation already changing England, although war is in the distant future. Maisie's case, the story of an innocent man, is the story of innocent people swept up in forces beyond their control. And, Maisie herself, trying to control people and events in her own life, sees how that can lead to tragedy. Changes are coming for Maisie Dobbs, for England, for Europe. The investigation of Eddie Pettit's death forces Maisie to reevaluate her own life, and her treatment of the people in her life. Winspear asks ethical questions of her character, and her readers. Elegy for Eddie is a powerful story of a character and a world caught up in change. Winspear is clever in her juxtaposition of Maisie's life and need for control, and the situation in England. Who should have the power to decide how people's lives are going to change? It's a question that leaves Maisie Dobbs, and the reader, with no easy answers.
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
It's an honor to be asked to review books, and I'm grateful to all the publishers, publicists, and authors who send me books. Thank you. Reviews will appear on my blog if I've had a chance to read, and finish, the book. If I do not finish a book, I won't review it, and I will not respond to emails asking when, or if, I'll be reviewing a book.
My reviews are only my opinion, and do not reflect the views of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library.
I will not review self-published books, and, at the present time, do not accept books in e-book format.
Moments in History By Michael A. Black
When I was in grammar school I viewed history as something you read about in books. By the time I got into high school and then college I came to the realiza...
Splish, Splash, Splosh!: David Melling
Book: Splish, Splash, Splosh! Author: David Melling (@DavidMelling1) Pages: 22 Age Range: 2-5 Splish, Splash, Splosh! by David Melling is a medium-sized boar...
My Oct. 19, 2009 blog provides full disclosure that I only receive review copies of books, with no other compensation. All review copies are marked as such. If there any any questions, please feel free to contact me.