Book Review: Elegy for Eddie by Jacqueline Winspear
March 27, 2012 14 Comments
This is the 9th instalment in the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear. I haven’t read the whole series, but I did read book 8: A Lesson in Secrets last year.
I found Elegy for Eddie a little less interesting to read than A Lesson in Secrets. However, in that book I found parts of the story a bit unlikely. That was not the case in this book. On the other hand, this book suffered from a weak ending to the mystery, I found.
Elegy for Eddie: What it is about
Maisie Dobbs is a private detective with two members of staff, Billy, who she helped out when he needed a new job and Sandra (same story). The story takes place in 1933, and Maisie is approached by some costermongers, old friends and colleagues of her father’s who sell fruit and vegetables on the streets of London.
They ask her to look into the death of Eddie Pettit, a man who was known for his gift to deal with horses, calming upset horses and dealing with small ailments. He was a gentle soul, but a bit “slow” and loved by everyone. His death, in a printing facility, seems accidental, but the costermongers are not convinced. As Maisie has known these men, as well as Eddie, all her life, she agrees to investigate the case.
Maisie fiancé James knows people in the highest circles and when they get invited to dinner parties and dances, Maisie uses her time well, talking to the owner of the printing facility and snooping in her host’s office. But Maisie also goes to talk to the very modest people of the country, including Eddie’s mother Maudie. Maisie and her assistants find more and more clues as to what has exactly happened, but there are also some people trying to stop them from gaining any further information.
Meanwhile, Maisie has private problems, too. She’s recently come into a lot of money but finds it hard to spend any on herself, while on the other hand, she uses her money to help out people in her vicinity. But not everyone is happy with her help. Furthermore, her fiancé James lives in a mansion with servants, and Maisie can’t envisage a future in which she is the lady of the manor. She is most comfortable in her own little apartment.
Elegy for Eddie: What I thought
This is a gentle mystery in the 1930s with some historical references. The mystery surrounding Eddie’s death was somewhat contrived and didn’t have a satisfactory conclusion for me. Too few, if any, of those involved with the mystery were brought to justice and much of Maisie’s findings could not be made public.
It was good fun to follow Maisie around London and the countryside, talking to her father’s old mates, to the poor people back home where she came from, as well as the upper classes that she got into contact with via her fiancé James.
I found Maisie too much of a busybody, interfering with everyone’s lives and I never connected with her in this book. Maisie’s private life, that is, her problems with James and her inability to handle the fortune she had recently acquired, could easily have been storylines in a completely different book. I think I might have preferred that.
Even so, the book was fun to read, especially because of the period and place it was set in.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I got this book: for review from Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
I read this in: English, the original language
Number of pages: 352
First published: 2012 (March 27th)