Intrigue and Secrets in a Kentish Village

“There was something about even the smallest fire that was more unsettling than other crimes of a similar caliber. The match idly thrown on tinder can become an all- consuming blaze, while sparks ignored can envelop a mansion if left unchecked. And flame ignited for the sake of malicious damage strikes at the very heart of individual and collective fear, for isn’t fire the place where the devil resides?”—Jacqueline Winspear, An Incomplete Revenge.

Set in 1931 during an economic downturn, An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear follows psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs as she tackles a puzzling case in the picturesque village of Heronsdene, Kent. Every year, during the bustling hop harvest, strange fires break out. Maisie is called in to uncover the truth behind these incidents, but she quickly realizes the villagers are hiding more than they’re willing to share, including the tragic fate of the Martin family during a World War I zeppelin raid.

Winspear’s writing shines with rich historical detail and atmospheric descriptions, bringing the village and its colorful inhabitants to life. Integrating Romani culture adds a unique and fascinating layer to the narrative. Maisie is a likable protagonist, combining sharp investigative skills with deep empathy, making her journey as engaging as the mystery itself.

The plot unfolds at a steady pace, filled with twists that keep you guessing. The details about hop picking and the Romani in England are intriguing, and themes of revenge, prejudice, and community are woven seamlessly into the story. Overall, the fifth installment of the Maisie Dobbs series is a well-crafted, engaging mystery that offers both suspense and emotional depth. 4 stars.

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