Once again, Maisie Dobbs did not disappoint. I love historical mysteries, and author Jacqueline Winspear gets extra points for having the detective be a woman, which in 1931 would have been unprecedented. It was a 2006 Agatha Award Nominee for Best Novel—always a good sign. (Incidentally, Louise Penny has won the award seven times.)
Nicholas Bassington-Hope was commissioned to paint war propaganda after sustaining injuries in combat. On the night before the opening of his exhibition at a celebrated Mayfair art gallery, he falls from a scaffolding to his death. The police rule it an accident, but the dead man’s twin sister suspects foul play. Where is the painting he was hanging?
When the authorities close the case, Georgina—a renowned wartime journalist—hires Maisie Dobbs to investigate. The case takes Maisie to the desolate beaches of Dungeness and the underbelly of the art world. To solve the mystery, she will have to remain steady as the forces behind his death try to silence her.
Winspear adds plenty of vivid period details to Messenger of Truth, and she juxtaposes the extravagances of the aristocracy with the plight of the poor. The twist at the end was stupendous… the identity of the murderer shocked me! The book concludes with a sense of hope as Maisie is ready to begin a new adventure. Jacqueline Winspear delivers another thrilling episode in the life of Maisie Dobbs. This was book number four in the series for me and I’m eager to read the next installment. 4 stars.