Maisie Dobbs Bundle #1, Pardonable Lies and Messenger of Truth: Books 3 and 4

Maisie Dobbs Bundle #1, Pardonable Lies and Messenger of Truth: Books 3 and 4

by Jacqueline Winspear

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Overview

Maisie Dobbs Bundle #1, Pardonable Lies and Messenger of Truth

Books 3 and 4 in the New York Times Bestselling Series

"An outstanding historical series . . . deeply empathetic." (The New York Times Book Review)

Pardonable Lies, by Jacqueline Winspear
(Maisie Dobbs novel #3)

In the third novel of this unique and masterly crime series, a deathbed plea from his wife leads Sir Cecil Lawton, KC, to seek the aid of Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator. As Maisie soon learns, Agnes Lawton never accepted that her aviator son was killed in the Great War, a torment that led her not only to the edge of madness but also to the doors of those who practice the dark arts and commune with the spirit world. Set against a finely drawn portrait of life between the World Wars, Pardonable Lies is "a thrilling mystery that will enthrall fans of Jacqueline Winspear's heroine and likely win her new ones" (Detroit Free Press).

Messenger of Truth, by Jacqueline Winspear
(Maisie Dobbs novel #4)

On the night before the opening of his new and much-anticipated exhibition at a famed Mayfair gallery, Nicholas Bassington-Hope falls to his death. The police declare it an accident, but the dead man's twin sister, Georgina, isn't convinced. When the authorities refuse to conduct further investigations, Georgina takes matters into her own hands, seeking out a fellow graduate from Girton College: Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator. In Messenger of Truth, a Sue Feder/Macavity Award for Best Historical Mystery Award nominee, Jacqueline Winspear delivers another vivid, thrilling, and utterly unique episode in the life of Maisie Dobbs.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429994651
Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 02/15/2011
Series: Maisie Dobbs Series
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 688
Sales rank: 44,676
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of An Incomplete Revenge—a New York Times bestseller—and several other Maisie Dobbs novels. She has won numerous awards for her work, including the Agatha, Alex, and Macavity awards for the first book in the series, Maisie Dobbs. Originally from the United Kingdom, she now lives in California.
Jacqueline Winspear is the New York Times bestselling author of the Maisie Dobbs novels. The first in the series, Maisie Dobbs, won the prestigious Agatha Award for Best First novel, the Macavity Award for Best First Novel, and the Alex Award. She won an Agatha for Best Novel for Birds of a Feather and a Sue Feder/Macavity Award for Best Historical Mystery for Pardonable Lies. Winspear was born and raised in the county of Kent in England. Her grandfather had been severely wounded and shell-shocked in World War I, and learning his story sparked her deep interest in the "war to end all wars” and its aftereffects, which would later form the background of her novels. Winspear studied at the University of London's Institute of Education, then worked in academic publishing, in higher education and in marketing communications in the UK. She immigrated to the United States in 1990 and embarked on her life-long dream to be a writer. In addition to her novels, Winspear has written articles for women’s magazines and journals on international education, and she has recorded her essays for public radio. She divides her time between Ojai and the San Francisco Bay Area and is a regular visitor to the United Kingdom and Europe.

Hometown:

Ojai, California

Date of Birth:

April 30, 1955

Place of Birth:

Weald of Kent, England

Education:

The University of London¿s Institute of Education

Read an Excerpt

Pardonable Lies

A Maisie Dobbs Novel


By Jacqueline Winspear

Picador

Copyright © 2005 Jacqueline Winspear
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-9465-1



CHAPTER 1

The young policewoman stood in the corner of the room. Plain whitewashed walls, a heavy door, a wooden table with two chairs, and one small window with frosted glass rendered the room soulless. It was a cold afternoon and she'd been in the corner since coming on duty two hours ago, her only company the rumpled and bent girl sitting in the chair that faced the wall. Others had come into the room to sit in the second chair: first, Detective Inspector Richard Stratton, with Detective Sergeant Caldwell standing behind him; then Stratton standing while a doctor from the Maudsley Hospital sat before the girl, trying to get her to speak. The girl — no one knew her age or where she had come from because she hadn't spoken a word since she was brought in this morning, her bloodstained dress, hands and face showing a month's worth of dirt — was now waiting for another person who had been summoned to question her: a Miss Maisie Dobbs. The policewoman had heard of Maisie Dobbs, but with what she had seen today, she wasn't sure that anyone could get this young scrubber to talk.

The policewoman heard voices outside the door: Stratton and Caldwell and then another voice. A smooth voice. A voice that was neither loud nor soft, that did not need to be raised to be heard or, thought the policewoman, to get someone to listen.

The door opened and Stratton came in, followed by a woman she presumed to be Maisie Dobbs. The policewoman was surprised, for the woman was nothing like she had expected, but then she realized that the voice had revealed little about the owner, except that it had depth without being deep.

Wearing a plain burgundy suit with black shoes and carrying a worn black leather document case, the visitor smiled at both the policewoman and Stratton in a way that almost startled the uniformed woman, as her eyes met the midnight-blue eyes of Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator.

"Pleased to meet you, Miss Chalmers," said Maisie, though they had not been introduced. The warm familiarity of the greeting took Chalmers aback. "Brrr. It's cold in here," added the investigator, turning to Stratton. "Inspector, can we bring in an oil stove? Just to take the edge off?"

Stratton raised an eyebrow and inclined his head at the unusual nature of the request. Amused at seeing her superior caught off guard, Chalmers tried to hide a grin, and the seated girl looked up, just for a second, because the woman's voice compelled her to do so.

"Good. Thank you, Inspector. Oh — and perhaps a chair for Miss Chalmers." Maisie Dobbs removed her gloves, placing them on top of the black bag, which she set on the floor, before pulling a chair around so that she was seated not opposite the girl, on the other side of the table, but close to her.

Strange, thought Chalmers, as the door opened and a constable brought in another chair, left the room, and returned with a small paraffin stove, which he placed by the wall. They exchanged quick glances and shrugged shoulders.

"Thank you," said Maisie, smiling.

And they knew she had seen their furtive communication.

Now, sitting alongside the girl, Maisie said nothing. She said nothing for some time, so that after a while Chalmers wondered what in heaven's name she was there for. Then she realized that the Dobbs woman had closed her eyes and had changed her position slowly, and though she couldn't put her finger on it, it was as if she were talking to the girl without opening her mouth, so that the girl — as if she couldn't help herself — leaned toward Maisie Dobbs. Blimey, she's going to talk.

"I'm getting warmer now." It was a rounded voice, a west-country voice. The girl spoke deliberately, with rolled r's and a nod when her sentence was finished. A farm girl. Yes, Chalmers would have pegged her for a farm girl.

But Maisie Dobbs said nothing, just opened her eyes and smiled, but not with her mouth. No, it was her eyes that smiled. Then she touched the girl's hand, taking it in her own. The girl began to cry and, very strange again, thought Chalmers, the Dobbs woman didn't reach out to put an arm around her shoulder, or try to stop her or use the moment as Stratton and Caldwell might have. No, she just sat and nodded, as if she had all the time in the world. Then she surprised the policewoman again.

"Miss Chalmers. Would you be so kind as to poke your head around the door and ask for a bowl of hot water, some soap, two flannels, and a towel, please."

Chalmers gave a single nod and moved toward the door. Oh, this would surely give the girls something to chew over later. They'd all have a giggle about this little pantomime.

A bowl of hot water was brought to the room by the police constable, along with the flannels, soap, and towel. Maisie removed her jacket, placed it over the back of the chair, and rolled up the sleeves of her cream silk blouse. Reaching into the bowl, she rubbed some soap on a wet flannel and squeezed out the excess water. Then she lifted the girl's chin, smiled into her reddened and bloodshot eyes, and began to wash her face, rinsing the flannel and going back again, dabbing the hot cloth on the girl's temples and across her forehead. She washed her arms, holding first her left hand in the hot flannel and working the cloth up to her elbow, then reaching for the girl's right hand. The girl flinched, but Maisie showed no sign of noticing the movement, instead massaging her right hand with the cloth, gently working it along her arm to the elbow, and then rinsing again.

It was as she knelt on the floor, taking one filthy bare foot after the other and washing the dirt and grime away with the second flannel, that the policewoman realized she had become mesmerized by the scene unfolding before her. It's like being in church.

The girl spoke again. "You've got right soft 'ands, miss."

Maisie Dobbs smiled. "Thank you. I used to be a nurse, years ago, in the war. That's what the soldiers used to say: that my hands were soft."

The girl nodded.

"What's your name?"

Chalmers stared as the girl — who had been sitting in that room without so much as a cup of tea since she was brought in twelve hours ago — replied immediately.

"Avril Jarvis, miss."

"Where are you from?"

"Taunton, miss." She began to sob.

Maisie Dobbs reached into the black bag and brought out a clean linen handkerchief, which she placed on the table in front of the girl. Chalmers waited for Maisie to take out a sheet of paper to write notes, but she didn't; instead she simply continued with her questions as she finished drying the girl's feet.

"How old are you, Avril?"

"Fourteen next April, I reckon."

Maisie smiled. "Tell me, why are you in London and not Taunton?"

Avril Jarvis sobbed continuously as Maisie folded the towel and sat next to her again. But she did answer the question, along with every other question put to her over the next hour, at which point Maisie said that was enough for now; she would be taken care of and they would speak again tomorrow — only Detective Inspector Stratton would have to hear her story too. Then, adding fuel to the tale that Chalmers would tell the other policewomen lodging in rooms upstairs at Vine Street, the Jarvis girl nodded and said, "All right, then. Just so long as you'll be with me, miss."

"Yes. I'll be here. Don't worry. You can rest now, Avril."

CHAPTER 2

Following a debriefing with Stratton and Caldwell, Maisie was taken back to her office in Fitzroy Square by Stratton's driver, who would collect her again tomorrow morning for another interview with Avril Jarvis. Maisie knew that much rested on the outcome of this second interview. Depending upon what was revealed and what could be corroborated, Avril Jarvis might spend the rest of her life behind bars.

"You've been gone a long time, Miss," said Billy Beale, her assistant, running his fingers back through his sun-burnished hair. He came to Maisie's side, took her coat and placed it on the hook behind the door.

"Yes, it was a long one, Billy. Poor little mite didn't stand a chance. Mind you, I'm not sure how deeply the police are looking into her background at this point, and I would like to have some closer-to-the-bone impressions and information. If I'm required to give evidence under oath, I want to be better prepared." Maisie took off her hat, placed it on the corner of her desk, and slipped her gloves into the top drawer. "I'm wondering, Billy. Would you and Doreen fancy a trip down to Taunton for the weekend, with everything paid for?"

"You mean like an 'oliday, Miss?"

Maisie inclined her head. "Well, it won't be quite like being on holiday. I want you to find out more about Avril Jarvis, the girl I interviewed this morning. She said she's from Taunton and I have no reason to disbelieve her. Find out where she lived, who her family are, whether she went to school there, if she worked, and when she left to come to London. I want to know why she came to London — I doubt if she knew it was for a life on the streets — and what she was like as a child." She shook her head. "Heavens, she's only thirteen now — all but a child. It's wretched."

"She in trouble, Miss?"

"Oh, yes. Very big trouble. She is about to be charged with the crime of murder."

"Gawd — and she's only thirteen?"

"Yes. Now then, can you go to Taunton?"

Billy pressed his lips together. "Well, it's not as if me and Doreen have had much of an 'oliday together, ever, really. She don't like to leave the nippers, but you know, I suppose me mum can look after 'em while we're away."

Maisie nodded and took out a new manila folder, which she inscribed AVRIL JARVIS and passed to Billy, along with a collection of index cards upon which she had scribbled notes while waiting for her debriefing with Stratton and Caldwell. "Good. Let me know as soon as possible if and when you can go. I'll advance you the money for the train, a guesthouse, and incidentals. Now then, let's get on as I've to leave early this evening."

Billy took the folder and sat down at his desk. "Oh, yeah, you're seein' that old friend of yours, Mrs. Partridge."

Maisie turned her attention to a ledger before her. She did not look up. "Yes, Priscilla Partridge — Evernden, as she was when we were at Girton together. After two terms she joined the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry in 1915 and drove an ambulance in France." Maisie sighed and looked up. "She couldn't stand to stay in England after the Armistice. She'd lost all three brothers to war, and her parents to the flu, so she went to live on the Atlantic coast of France. That's where she met Douglas Partridge."

"I reckon I've 'eard that name before." Billy tapped the side of his head with a pencil.

"Douglas is a famous author and poet. He was badly wounded in the war, lost an arm. His poetry about the war was very controversial when it was first published here, but he's managed to continue with his work — though it's very dark, if you know what I mean."

"Not really, Miss. I'd 'eard of 'im, but, y'know, poetry's not up my alley, to tell you the truth."

Maisie smiled and continued. "Priscilla has three boys. She calls them 'the toads' and says they are just like her brothers, always up to something. She's back in London to look at schools for them for next year. She and Douglas have decided that the boys are growing up and need to have a British education."

Billy shook his head. "Don't think I could part with my nippers — oh, sorry, Miss." He pressed his hand to his mouth, remembering that Frankie Dobbs had sent Maisie to work as a maid in the home of Lord Julian Compton and his wife, Lady Rowan, when her mother died. At the time, Maisie was barely thirteen years old.

Maisie shrugged. "That's all right, Billy. It's well past now. My father was doing what he thought best for me, and no doubt that's what Priscilla is doing. Each to their own — we've all got to part one day, haven't we?" Maisie shrugged. "Let's just get these bills finished and go home."

For the past year, Maisie had lived at Lord and Lady Compton's Belgravia home. The accommodation had been offered to Maisie in the context of a favor to Lady Rowan, who wanted someone she trusted living "upstairs" during her absence — Maisie was now an independent woman with her own business, since her mentor and former employer, Maurice Blanche, retired. So instead of a lowly bed in the servants' quarters at the top of the mansion — her first experience of life in the household — Maisie occupied elegant rooms on the second floor. The Comptons were spending more time at Chelstone, their country home in Kent, where Maisie's father was the groom. It was generally thought that the Belgravia property was now retained only to pass on to James, the Comptons' son who managed the family's business affairs in Canada.

For most of the time, Maisie was alone in the house but for a small complement of servants; then at the end of summer, Lady Rowan would sweep into town to take up her position as one of London's premier hostesses. However, extravagance had been curtailed since last year when Lady Rowan, with a compassion uncommon among the aristocracy, declared, "I simply cannot indulge in such goings-on when half the country hasn't enough food in its belly! No, we will draw in our horns and instead see what we can do to get the country out of this wretched mess!"

Upon arriving at Ebury Place that evening, Maisie brought her MG to the mews behind the mansion and noticed immediately that Lord Compton's Rolls-Royce was parked alongside the old Lanchester and that George, his chauffeur, was in conversation with Eric, a footman who took charge of the motor cars when George was in Kent.

George touched his forehead and opened Maisie's door for her. "Evening, m'um. Very nice to see you."

"George! What are you doing here? Is Lady Rowan in London?"

"No, m'um, only His Lordship. But he's not staying. Just a business meeting and then to his club."

"Oh. A meeting at the house?"

"Yes, m'um. And if you don't mind, he's said that as soon as you returned he'd like you to join him in the library."

"Me?" Maisie was surprised. She sometimes thought that Lord Compton had merely indulged his wife in her support of her in the early years of her education, though he had always been nothing less than cordial in his communications.

"Yes, m'um. He knows you're going out later, but he said to say it wouldn't take long."

Maisie nodded to George and thanked Eric, who stepped forward with a cloth to attend to the already shining MG. Instead of entering through the kitchen door, an informality that had become her custom, she walked quickly to the front entrance, whereupon the door was immediately opened by Sandra, the most senior "below stairs" employee in the absence of the butler, Carter, who was at Chelstone.

"Evening, m'um." Sandra gave only a short curtsy, knowing that Maisie hated such formalities. "His Lordship —"

"Yes, George just told me." She passed her hat and coat to Sandra but kept hold of her document case. She checked the silver nurse's watch that was pinned to her lapel, a gift from Lady Rowan when she was sent to France in 1916. The watch had been her talisman ever since. "Thank you, Sandra. Look, could you run me a bath, please? I have to meet Mrs. Partridge at the Strand Palace by seven, and I really don't want to be late."

"Right you are, m'um. Pity she couldn't have stayed here. It's not as if we don't have the room."

Maisie patted her thick black hair and replied as she sped toward the sweeping staircase. "Oh, she said she wanted to be waited on hand and foot in a lavish hotel now that she has a few days' respite from her boys."

Outside the library door, Maisie composed herself before knocking. The men's voices carried; Lord Compton's was sharp and decisive. The second voice seemed deep and resolute, and as Maisie listened she closed her eyes and began to mouth the overheard words, automatically moving her body to assume a posture suggested by the voice. Yes, this was a man of decision, a man of bearing, with weight upon his shoulders. She thought he might be a solicitor, though one thing sparked her interest in the seconds before she knocked on the door and walked into the library: The man's voice, as Maisie interpreted it, held more than a hint of fear.


* * *

"Maisie, good of you to spare us a few moments of your precious time." Julian Compton held out his hand to Maisie to draw her into the room. He was a tall, thin man, with gray hair swept back and a debonair ease of movement that suggested wealth, confidence and success.

"It's a pleasure to see you, Lord Julian. How is Lady Rowan?"

"Apart from that wretched hip, there's no stopping her! Of course, there's another foal on the way now — perhaps another Derby promise in a couple of years!" Lord Compton turned to the man standing with his back to the fireplace. "Allow me to introduce a very good friend of mine, Sir Cecil Lawton, KC."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear. Copyright © 2005 Jacqueline Winspear. Excerpted by permission of Picador.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

PARDONABLE LIES,
MESSENGER OF TRUTH,

Customer Reviews

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Maisie Dobbs Bundle #1, Pardonable Lies and Messenger of Truth: Books 3 and 4 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the first Maisie Dobbs book a few months ago and was immediately hooked. Recently, while on vacation, I whipped through books 3 through 8 in the series. I feel like Maisie is now one of my best friends. Jacqueline Winspear is an excellent writer and I hope book 10 in the series is well underway. Her characters are wonderful as are her settings. I am totally enthralled with London between the two World Wars, a city where society was changing at a rapid pace. The way each book hearkens back in some way to the Great War but also foreshadows World War II is compelling. The mysteries are interesting and there is always an ethical dilemna involved. Pardonable Lies is my second favorite of the books with The Mapping of Love and Death the one I like best. This bundled set of books 3 and 4 is a good value. I wish some of the rest were already bundled.
TeechTX More than 1 year ago
For those who, like me, are now addicted to Maisie Dobbs, 'Investigator and Psychologist,' this bundle of the 3rd and 4th books in the series is an economic godsend. Read my review of the first in the series, the eponymous "Maisie Dobbs," to see my overall assessment of the series. The books just get better and better, and these two are no exception. With each volume, Maisie becomes more mature and more accomplished, her cases become more complex, and her supporting cast of characters becomes more diverse and challenging. The writing is smart and the action crisp. Along with a good cuppa, who can ask for more?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderful book. Have read four of her books and they are all wonderful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Maisie is extremely clever, and the plot was exciting.
Lucinda50 More than 1 year ago
Jacqueline Winspear does not disappoint.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the sample and paid for the whole book, but all that appears is the 21-page sample! And this is the only place I can find to ask for help. Please help.
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