From the cover :
London, 1931. The night before an exhibition of his artwork opens at a famed Mayfair gallery, the controversial artist Nick Bassington-Hope falls to his death. The police rule it an accident, but Nick's twin sister, Georgina, a wartime journalist and a infamous figure in her own right, isn't convinced.
When the authorities refuse to consider her theory that Nick was murdered, Georgina seeks out a fellow graduate from Girton College, Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator, for help. Nick was a veteran of World War I, and before long the case leads Maisie to the desolate beaches of Dungeness in Kent, and into the sinister underbelly of the city's art world.
I've read several of the Maisie Dobbs books now and while I'm not a bona fide fan, I do enjoy the mysteries and the time period. The atmosphere and history of the period between the two world wars is fascinating to read about as the people pick up the pieces from one war only to be hit by depression and the political unrest leading up to the next war. In this time period, Maisie becomes an unlikely yet worthy hero as she searches and uses her keen intellect and skills of observation and knowledge of psychology to solve the mysteries.
Maisie's back story is told in its entirety in the first Maisie Dobbs book by Jacqueline Winspear (You can read my review of that novel **here**.) and while that first story helps set the stage for the subsequent novels, each book can stand on its own fairly well. Maisie is a unique character: brilliant and wise yet understated and rarely seeking the limelight. With her vast life experiences and her career decisions, Maisie is a model of early feminism in a time when single, working women were a new phenomenon following the war.
I found the mystery in Messenger of Truth quite fascinating. The friends and family surrounding the deceased artist were intriguing and as Maisie tries to untangle the webs to get to the truth of Nick's death, she discovers that many of his associates have secrets to hide. Even years after the war, it is clear that there was much damage to the psyche of the people who lived through the atrocities.
The novel moves at a much slower pace than most mysteries. Honestly, I was bored with Maisie's personal story and that of her employee Billy. While that story-line does much to bolster the atmosphere of the time period, it did little to further the mystery and I wished the pace would move along.
Overall though, I did enjoy the mystery and the conclusion was exciting and fully satisfying.
There are nine novels in the Maisie Dobbs series. Messenger of Truth is the fourth. It was published by Picador in 2006. You can find out more about the author Jacqueline Winspear on her website or Facebook page.
I received a copy of Messenger of Truth as part of the TLC Book Tours. You can check out more stops on the Maisie Dobbs tour.