Saturday, February 22, 2014

REVIEW: An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear

An Incomplete Revenge (Maisie Dobbs, #5)An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Original Publication Year: 2008
Genre(s): Mystery, Historical
Series: Maisie Dobbs #5
Awards: None
Format: Audio on CD
Narrated By: Orlagh Cassidy

Recommended Subtitle: The Drunken Lies of the Aristocracy

I’ve liked none of the subsequent books as much as I loved the first book of this series but I still have a pretty big soft spot for Maisie Dobbs. My affection for the books is, in itself, a little mysterious because Maisie is a bit of a Mary Sue which is usually one of my pet peeves. She’s an extremely clever private investigator making an independent living in London in the 1920’s and 1930’s. She’s very solemn and can be a bit of a jerk but that doesn’t stop everybody she meets from thinking she’s the most special. But the way she goes about her investigating is pretty fascinating and the mystery in An Incomplete Revenge is one of the strongest of the series thus far. Also, a couple of significant occurrences in this book promise to shake up the series.

Maisie is drawn to Kent during the hop-picking season to act on behalf of her benefactor’s son. The family’s company wants to buy a brick works in the area but is nervous about the amount of petty crime and fires that seem to plague the community. Maisie quickly discerns that ever since a Zeppelin raid hit the town during the war, things have not been “right”. Tensions are particularly high at the time of her visit with the Londoners and Roma in town to help with the hop picking. I figured out most of the mystery pretty early on but there were still a few surprises in the solution.

What sets these mysteries apart from others is how well we know Maisie. The first book in the series was less a mystery and more a story about Maisie and her rise from costermonger’s daughter to independent educated woman. This is definitely a series you want to read in order. There are a number of through lines that enhance the books. As I mentioned, there are a couple of pretty big life altering events that occur in this installment and it feels a bit like Maisie is at a cross roads. It makes me anxious to see where the next books take her.

The narrator for the audio book was pretty decent. She had to voice a number of accents and a lot of characters and she managed pretty well. Her voice for Maisie is quite good and how I imagine her speaking.

Final Verdict: For me, this was one of the stronger books in the series with a good mystery and some significant developments in the overall story of the series.

Any other Maisie Dobbs fans out there?  What do you think of her character?


  1. Nice review! I really enjoyed the first Maisie Dobbs book, but bogged down in the second due more to life circumstances than what was going on in the book. (I needed something lighter at the time.) I reread the first book last year and have every intention of continuing the series.

    1. It's generally a good series but I did really love book one and have had a harder time having that same level of enthusiasm for the books that came after. Maisie's character just sort of seems to stagnate after that initial book which is why I was kind of excited about some of the developments in this one. Hopefully they'll shake things up!