An Incomplete Revenge
Holt, Feb 2008, $24.00
In 1931 business tycoon James Compton considers buying property in Heronsdene, Kent but a rash of questionable fires has left him re-evaluating his selection. He asks his friend London based investigative psychologist Maisie Dobbs to look into what seems to him as obvious the work of an arsonist. She would do anything for her mentor and besides needs the money he offers as the Great Depression has hammered at consultants like her so she agrees to visit the tiny rustic village.
Maisie quickie uncovers the suspicious dealings of a landowner while wondering why the locals refuse to speak about visiting Gypsies or a WW I zeppelin raid that killed an entire family; as the behavior is way beyond the normal suspicion of strangers. A struggling Maisie begins to tie together the townsfolk, the gypsies, the Great War and what happened afterward in remote Heronsdene, but someone is on war alert watching her every step.
The latest Dobbs between the World Wars’ mystery is a terrific entry in one of the best twentieth century private investigation series. Maisie is at her best as she sleuths in a location in which no one wants her around let alone snooping. However, it is the sense of time and place that makes AN INCOMPLETE REVENGE and its four predecessors (see MESSENGER OF TRUTH, PARDONABLE LIES, MAISIE DOBBS and BIRDS OF A FEATHER) worth reading as few authors if any bring to life England in the late 1920s and early 1930s as picturesquely as Jacqueline Winspear consistently has done with the marvelous Maisie mysteries.