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Revenge Isn’t Swet

An Incomplete Revenge (Maisie Dobbs Mysteries)An Incomplete Revenge (Maisie Dobbs Mysteries) by Jacqueline Winspear

Reviewed by Carrie Uffindell

Psychologist and sleuth Maisie Dobbs returns for her fifth adventure in An Incomplete Revenge, a mystery novel by Jacqueline Winspear. Set in England in the autumn of 1931, 13 years after the end of the Great War, Revenge probes the darkness which lies beneath the surface of picturesque Heronsdene, a small village located in rural Kent.

Maisie, now fully recovered from a nervous breakdown she suffered during an investigation the year before, is approached by James Compton, an old friend and businessman. James wishes to purchase a potentially valuable brickworks from Alfred Sandermere, but is worried about the mysterious fires and thievery erupting in the nearby village of Heronsdene. Fearing that the petty crimes are caused by the villagers, whose cooperation he'll need to run the brickworks, James hires Maisie to investigate.

After arriving in Kent, which is in the midst of its annual hop harvest, Maisie swiftly encounters the bitter prejudice between the villagers of Heronsdene and the hop-pickers, a mixture of Londoners and Gypsies who work on the farms surrounding the village. With both compassion and understanding, Maisie begins questioning the villagers, Londoners, and Gypsies, all of whom are eager to point the finger at the other.

As Maisie's investigation continues, more and more questions crop up. Were the fires merely a series of mishaps, or were they arson? Why do the villagers refuse to speak of those who perished in a Zeppelin raid during the war over 13 years ago?

As she investigates the crimes and secrecy surrounding Heronsdene and the Sandermere estate, Maisie must once again confront her own past, including a reunion with the mentor who betrayed her and the loss of her first love, army doctor Simon Lynch.

While some of the plot twists may be predictable, An Incomplete Revenge is a rich, satisfying read. Winspear's writing and research are excellent, firmly entrenching the reader in Maisie's world, as she and her country struggle to heal from the wounds inflicted by the Great War.

Books mentioned in this post

  1. An Incomplete Revenge (Maisie Dobbs...
    Used Hardcover $4.95

One Response to "Revenge Isn’t Swet"

    Regan G Smith April 26th, 2008 at 11:13 am

    I have read all of Winspear's books, and this review of AN INCOMPLETE REVENGE
    is shallow to the point of being useless. It certainly contains no insight into the author's works or mindset, and gives reviewing a bad name. A review should enlighten, not merely reiterate the highlights of the story line. What did Ms. Uffindel do; read the book jacket for the review? There is little sense of Ms. Winspear's brilliance in capturing post WWI England and its sensibilities throughout her work, nor the development of character that Winspear creates over time. When an author writes a novel
    series, a reviewer should pay attention
    to all the elements of setting, character, characters (two crucial ones she leaves out), mood, and the author's ability to tell an ongoing story. I certainly could elaborate upon the faults of this reviewer, but it seems too long a comment already. I do hope in future Ms. Uffindell can get it together for her reviews and write something more interesting than book jacket notes.

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