Author: Jacqueline Winspear
Like M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin, Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs tantalizes. The commonality is this – you can’t get enough of them! And the resemblance ends there.
Agatha Raisin is a self made, antagonistic, narcissistic but smart man addicted pug-like investigator. Daisie Dobbs is also a self made investigator of murder; and she sports elegance, courtesy, intelligence and is generous to all. Both authors keep us coming back for more, for we LOVE their characters – the narcissist Agatha and the angelic but all too human Daisie!
1933. London, Larchmont, spring. When beloved Eddie Petit dies a horrible “accidental” death in the Brookhams Paper Factory, his friends, the street fruit and vegetable vendors (costermongers) ask Daisie Dobbs to investigate the death. They are sure it is murder. Daisie grew up with the costermongers, and her father Frank is a retired costermonger. She knows each and every one of them, and as an investigator, she knows they are right if they suspect murder. She also knows Maud, Eddie’s mother, and knew Eddie, a slow but talented child-man who had the gift with horses. Everyone loved Eddie.
Everyone knows Eddie was special. Slow from birth, Eddie had talents; he could gentle any horse anywhere, and he was also an artist; Eddie could replicate exact copies down to every detail after looking at documents once. Daisie and the men also feel badly for Maud. Maud left the workhouse in her early teens, was raped as she left work, and had Eddie by herself as she was cleaning a stall in the stables. She adored Eddie. Daisie is determined to do justice to Eddie, whose only enemy was a ruffian named Jimmy Merton who bullied Eddie mercilessly. And strangely, Jimmy had just started the week before Eddie died at Brookhams when a massive roll of printing paper flipped off the giant conveyor and crushed Eddie on the floor below.
As Daisie and her investigative staff follow their leads, Daisie finds herself in a conundrum. She has inherited great wealth, is seeing aristocrat Viscount James Compton of Ebury Place, and her best friend Priscilla’s husband Douglas seems tied into Eddie’s death. Daisie keeps giving her money away to “help” people; it is her way of controlling her deep ambivalence of going from very poor to very rich overnight. And yet she seems only to make messes of the people’s lives that she is trying to help. And she doesn’t feel comfortable in the luxury and servants that dwell in James Compton’s “castle.” She doesn’t know what she really feels for James either.
When Daisie finds evidence that James, Douglas and Winston S. Churchill, a belligerent rising politician, might have been involved in what indeed seems to be the murder of Eddie Pettit and his best friend Bart Soames, she must find the truth at all costs.
As Jacqueline Winspear leads us into the intricate world of London as it approaches WW II, the drama of high finance, the new nationalism and England’s need to fight Hitler, she winds a truly significant story of intrigue. Like Anne Perry, Winspear conjures characters within a time that we believe in and live with; we engage with them; they are our friends too. The surprise ending is superlative.
Perfect characterizations, 1933 London and Daisie Dobbs lead us through a web of lies, murder and deceit at the highest stations. Daisie finds herself in the midst of horror and yet she must look at the big picture. As she finds out how Eddie and Bart were murdered, she discovers that she does not love James.
Intricate and alluring, hold your breath fast-paced, Elegy of Eddie compels us into every page. When we are finished we hope with all of our hearts and head that Ms. Winspear is maniacally penning the next novel in the series!
Elegy for Eddie: A Maisie Dobbs Novel (P.S.) is available for purchase at your local bookstore or Amazon.com
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Review by Broad “A” – Ava
We received a copy of this title for our book review. All opinions are our own.