Elegy for Eddie (Maisie Dobbs #9) by Jacqueline Winspear, 352 pages. Available in hardcover, ebook, Kindle and Nook from HarperCollins.
Early April 1933. To the costermongers of Covent Garden—sellers of fruit and vegetables on the streets of London—Eddie Pettit was a gentle soul with a near-magical gift for working with horses. When Eddie is killed in a violent accident, the grieving costers are deeply skeptical about the cause of his death. Who would want to kill Eddie—and why?
Maisie Dobbs' father, Frankie, had been a costermonger, so she had known the men since childhood. She remembers Eddie fondly and is determined to offer her help. But it soon becomes clear that powerful political and financial forces are equally determined to prevent her from learning the truth behind Eddie's death. Plunging into the investigation, Maisie begins her search for answers on the working-class streets of Lambeth where Eddie had lived and where she had grown up. The inquiry quickly leads her to a callous press baron; a has-been politician named Winston Churchill, lingering in the hinterlands of power; and, most surprisingly, to Douglas Partridge, the husband of her dearest friend, Priscilla. As Maisie uncovers lies and manipulation on a national scale, she must decide whether to risk it all to see justice done.
While I enjoyed the last couple Maisie books for their dependable comfort, I was resigned that our calm, cool, and collected heroine was never going to show signs of cracking. I am happy to report that this book delivers for all the fans (like me) who were waiting for Maisie to soften a bit. She remains true to form - smart, practical, composed - but we are exposed to her thoughts of self doubt as she confronts some of her controlling tendencies. Also, I thought setting the mystery in Maisie's childhood home was a fitting contrast and backdrop to her inner struggles. Elegy for Eddie has reignited my anticipation for more, author Winspear reveals Maisie has more going on than just reliability. Not only does the character continue to grow but the historical atmosphere gains much from World War II looming on the horizon.
And what a difference a year makes...I think Maisie will enjoy a surge in popularity with the Downton Abbey craze - since she lives in post WW 1 London and was raised as a housemaid. I am planning to reread Maisie no. 1 just to remind myself of her humble beginnings.
Visit the author here: http://www.jacquelinewinspear.com
Thank you to HarperCollins for the review copy.