Morning, all! I'm on the TLC tour for Jacqueline Winspear's Elegy for Eddie today.
I've read just one Maisie Dobbs book before now. Normally I'm a strict read-in-order series reader. In this case, it was easy to dive into book nine of the series without any issues. The mystery itself stands alone and there's enough intro material for continuing characters that I didn't feel like I was floundering around at all.
Maisie's latest case starts out as a favor for some long time friends. A handful of men from the market and close friends of Maisie's father have concerns about the death of Eddie Pettit. Pettit was well known for his ability to calm any horse. Though he was a bit slow in other regards, his equine skills were sought throughout the area. Eddie was running errands at a local paper factory when one of the rolls crushed him. The factory is adamant that it was nothing more than an unfortunate accident and the police seem to be in agreement, but the men aren't so sure. In fact, they want Maisie to investigate where the police will not.
If you're looking for a well-plotted mystery featuring a strong and independent woman, the Maisie Dobbs series is a perfect fit. She's a PI and psychologist in 1933 England. As of Elegy for Eddie, she's inherited some money but she comes from a humble background, lucky enough to have been supported by those who saw she was capable of so much more.
One of the stand outs of the series -- aside from Winspear's writing, Dobbs as a character, and the immaculate plotting -- is the setting. In particular, the time period the series is set in. It's clear that Winspear has spent a lot of time carefully researching the period she's chosen. And those efforts have paid off. It's one of the things that makes this series so unique and, I think, beloved amongst readers.
The books, in order, are:
Birds of a Feather
Messenger of Truth
An Incomplete Revenge
Among the Mad
The Mapping of Love and Death
A Lesson in Secrets
Elegy for Eddie
Leaving Everything Most Loved (March '13)
For more stops on the tour, visit the official TLC tour page here.
For more on Winspear and her work, check out her official site (linked above). You can also like her on Facebook. Winspear has created an interesting blog devoted to the inspiration behind the Maisie Dobbs series at maisiedobbs.com. I definitely recommend reading as it covers some really fabulous material.