1931. Maisie Dobbs' new case takes her investigation into the pastoral beauty of the Kent Weald where acts of arson, theft and vandelism around the village of Heronsdene have gone suspiciously unreported for more than a decade. With the country in the grip of economic malaise, Maisie is relieved to accept an assignment from an old friend who wants ...
1931. Maisie Dobbs' new case takes her investigation into the pastoral beauty of the Kent Weald where acts of arson, theft and vandelism around the village of Heronsdene have gone suspiciously unreported for more than a decade. With the country in the grip of economic malaise, Maisie is relieved to accept an assignment from an old friend who wants her to uncover the truth behind these crimes, before he can buy part of the magnificent Sandermere estate at the heart of the village. It's hop-picking time and Londoners, including Maisie's assistant Billy Beale, wanting to escape the Smoke for the summer, set up camp in nearby fields. Gypsies, too, have arrived to work the land. Maisie discovers the villagers are bitterly prejudiced against outsiders and, even more troubling, seem possessed by the legacy of a war-time Zepplin raid. She has less than a month to find out why no one has been brought to justice and why secrecy shrouds the village. She must draw on all of her finely honed skills of detection to solve one of her most intriguing cases.
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Publishers Weekly, 2008-03-31 Maisie Dobbs travels to Kent to investigate, among other things, a series of fires, a family of Dutch bakers who were killed during WWI in a zeppelin attack and the theft of some silver. Hop-picking has brought everyone to the area, from Londoners to Gypsies. Orlagh Cassidy, who also read Messenger of Truth, not only captures a range of London and Kentish accents, but she also individualizes even the most minor characters. The lilt of a Danish luthier is perfect, and the dozen or so villagers interviewed by Dobbs have their own rhythms of speech and tone. Cassidy's rendition of Roma words comes across as authentic. This engrossing mystery will be hard to put down, and the listener will be sad when the final, lively strains of a fiddle are heard. Simultaneous release with the Holt hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 26). (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2007-11-26 In Edgar-finalist Winspear's enjoyable fifth installment in her Maisie Dobbs series (after 2006's Messenger of Truth), the psychologist/investigator digs deep into a village's long-buried secrets. Maisie's benefactor, tycoon James Compton, wants to buy an estate in the bucolic hamlet of Heronsdene, but is wary after a string of mysterious fires. Maisie soon proves Compton's suspicions correct when she encounters the shady current landowner and a vaguely menacing band of Gypsies in town for the seasonal harvest. The locals are also curiously tight-lipped about Heronsdene's wartime tragedy, when a zeppelin raid wiped out a family. Teasing out Heronsdene's secrets will take all the intrepid former nurse's psychological skills and test her ability to navigate between the Gypsy and gorja (non-Gypsy) worlds. Winspear vividly evokes England between the wars, when the old order crumbled and new horizons beckoned working women like her appealing heroine. Even if a few of the plot twists prove predictable, this jaunt back to a bygone era is as satisfying as a spin in Maisie's MG. (Feb.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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