Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear, book 4 in the Maisie Dobbs series (Henry Holt, 2006), 336 pages
In January 1931, journalist (and fellow Girton alum) Georgina Bassington-Hope comes to Maisie because, although the police have ruled her painter twin brother’s death accidental, Georgina doubts that conclusion.
I loved that this installment in the series had Maisie delving into the arts! I enjoyed the introduction of artist-characters, as well as the use of galleries and studios as backdrops.
Like the earlier books in the series — Maisie Dobbs [my review], Birds of a Feather [my review], and Pardonable Lies [my review] — I loved the setting (both in time and in place), and Maisie herself is irresistible.
I love the tension, how Maisie lives and works between worlds.
There were a few typos that should never have made it into print.
I did feel Maisie acted a bit out of character in this installment, but I may be alone in that. I’m eager to see how several ongoing situations resolve.
A couple quotes:
“Now there were even more threads for her to gather up and spin onto bobbins. It was as if she were herself an artisan, standing before a giant loom with her skeins of wool, each one held ready to form part of the finished scene, the picture that would reveal the circumstances of Nick Bassington-Hope’s death. All she had to do was create the warp and then the weft, her shuttle flying in and out, up and down through the threads, laying her hands across the panel, her fingertips testing for tautness and give, the comb pushing the weft down to ensure close weaving without the hint of a space.”~page 182, Messenger of Truth
“Perhaps it was the freedom to strike out on one’s own path, seeing not a risk in that which was new, only opportunity.”~page 182, Messenger of Truth
I was irked by Pardonable Lies, which prompted my extended separation from the series. That irritation has subsided at least somewhat — and recur too badly with Messenger of Truth, so I’m ready for another dose of Maisie.
Back to the art thing for a minute. One of my favorite aspects of this volume is how it presents and interacts with the ethical choices to tell or not tell, to publish or not, how an artist’s work can, potentially infringe on the freedom of his or her family members. Which is something I’ve pondered for quite some time.
Rating: 4 stars
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