Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear


Yet another in the Maisie Dobbs series. (Thanks again, Laura, for this recommendation.) As in the past, I found the doings of Maisie made cooking and other routine tasks more pleasant.

Though the period (1930s Depression) with the continuing importance of  the aftermath of The Great War is the same as the last two books, I found this one to be a bit different. Clarifying Maisie’s character took less time and in general the writing seemed tighter. While the horror of the war remains important, the suffering caused by the Depression takes a greater role.

Maisie is hired by a fellow Girton graduate to investigate whether the death of her brother was the accident the police concluded it was. The victim (yes, of course, he was murdered) fell from scaffolding he was using to mount his paintings for a show.  To begin their investigation Maisie and her employee Billy spent an afternoon at the Tate to learn about art.

Oswald Mosley makes a brief appearance among the aristocratic artist family friends and is considered to be promising and on the right track. I was surprised to see him referred to this way, so I checked Wikipedia. He called for public works programs during the early days of the Depression (among other things), but after losing an election in 1931, he became a supporter of fascism and was married in 1936 in Goebbels’ home.

Maisie herself is changing a bit:  she has come to recognize that she is not willing to give up her independence and her work for marriage. Her work for the family of artists acquainted her with the possibility of a less staid existence and she was drawn to some aspects of their lives.

Jacqueline Winspear, Messenger of Truth, H. Holt, 2006, 322 pages (I listened to the audiobook.) Available at the UVa and public libraries and from Amazon.

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