Book Review: Elegy for Eddie by Jacqueline Winspear

I’ve read them all, I’ve reviewed most of them. And the more I read Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs books, the happier I am that I decided to grab that first book on a whim. Deep characters, twisting plots … Winspear has created a world so immersive that it’s easy to lose track of how much time you have spent reading. I’ve spent many a sleepless night with one of her books, constantly saying to myself “One more chapter and I”m done.”

Elegy for Eddie is no exception. What starts off as a simple case – Maisie is asked by some coster monger friends of her father’s to investigate the suspicious death of a young man who had a way with horses – quickly turns into something much, much more. In the course of her investigation, Maisie even comes in contact with Winston Churchill himself!

Winspear’s knowledge of the era shows on each page, as the reader is surrounded by historical details and attitudes. And while we are searching for the truth behind Eddie’s killing, we’re also treated to some character development, as Maisie DObbs herself grows and changes a lot in this book. We’ve seen changing relationships before, but there’s something about the change that takes place in this book that intrigues me. I’m certainly looking forward to future developments on this front (and I did that all without spoiling anything!).

One thing that I’ve been looking for in the books for a while now that I haven’t seen – early on, there were hints of Maisie’s “intuitive” abilities, hinting that there was something more there. In fact, in An Incomplete Revenge, there was a lot made of her gypsy background, and I always thought that the series was going in that direction, but recent books have made little mention of it. That’s the only real loose end that I’ve seen in the books, which makes me thing it’s either something that Winspear decided not to pursue or that it’s coming in a future book. I’m happy either way.

I have recommended the Maisie Dobbs books to everyone I know who reads mysteries or enjoys books set in the 30s and 40s. The descriptions are spot-on regarding historical setting and attitudes, and the characters are fascinating and very deep. With this quality of writing, I don’t look for this series to end any time soon, and for that I am truly thankful.

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