January 22, 2012

A Lesson in Secrets

A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear
Mystery (#8 in the Maisie Dobbs’ series)
2011 Harper Audio
Reader: Orlagh Cassidy
Finished 1/16/12
Rating: 2.5/5 (Fair)

Publisher’s Blurb:

In the summer of 1932, Maisie Dobbs’s career goes in an exciting new direction when she accepts an undercover assignment directed by Scotland Yard’s Special Branch and the Secret Service. Posing as a junior lecturer, she is sent to a private college in Cambridge to monitor any activities “not in the interests of His Majesty’s Government.”

When the college’s controversial pacifist founder and principal, Greville Liddicote, is murdered, Maisie is directed to stand back as Detective Chief Superintendent Robert MacFarlane and Detective Chief Inspector Stratton spearhead the investigation. She soon discovers, however, that the circumstances of Liddicote’s death appear inextricably linked to the suspicious comings and goings of faculty and students under her surveillance.

To unravel this web, Maisie must overcome a reluctant Secret Service, discover shameful hidden truths about Britain’s conduct during the war, and face off against the rising powers of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei—the Nazi Party—in Britain.

A pivotal chapter in the life of Maisie Dobbs, A Lesson in Secrets marks the beginning of her intelligence work for the Crown. As the storm clouds of World War II gather on the horizon, Maisie will confront new challenges and new enemies—and will engage new readers and loyal fans of this bestselling mystery series.

As the final chapter of this most recent installment in the Maisie Dobbs’s series drew to a close, I found myself wondering why I’ve continued reading—or rather, listening to—these books. The actual mystery didn’t hold my interest nearly as well as others have in the past and I wanted to hear more about Maisie’s personal life and her relationships with some of the “regulars” in this series. Maybe I just like listening to Orlagh Cassidy read! But now as World War II draws closer, I’m hopeful that Winspear’s next book will appeal to me as her earlier works did. Fans of this series will be happy to learn that Winspear has a new book due out on March 27th.

Go here to learn more.

Until then, I plan to start in on Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Gamache series. I've read the first in the series (Still Life), but that was over five years ago. I'll give it a reread and then I'll have five six more to look forward to.

If you would like my ARC of A Lesson in Secrets, please leave me a comment along with your email address. I'll draw the winning name on January 31st.


  1. Oh no!!! I rated this one a 4/5 (very good). My ratings, in general, are very similar between this series and Penny's series, but if I had to choose between the two, I'd go for Winspear. It seems that you may end up leaning towards Penny. :)

  2. P.S. There are currently 7 in the Penny series.

  3. I haven't tried this series, but my mom loves it. Sorry this one fell flat for you.

  4. Oh no! I haven't read #1 yet..plan to do so this year but now I'm worried that it will be a series that I will abandon down the road...

  5. I haven't read anything by this author, but she does seem popular. I would probably start with her earlier books. Sorry this one was disappointing.

  6. I really enjoyed this book, but I don't read a lot of books like it so maybe it is just because for me it is different?

  7. Joy - I know! I know! I don't know what the problem was. I just didn't care a whole heck of a lot for the mystery, but I stuck with it because I wanted to see what was going to happen in Maisie's personal life. Hmmm. I wonder if I'll enjoy LP's mysteries better. Thanks for the clarification on her back-list numbers! :)

    Kathy - Me, too.

    Staci - Oh, there are so many readers who love this entire series. Do give it a try and don't let my opinion influence you...too much. ;)

    Diane - Yes, you'd definitely want to start at the beginning. Quite a bit has been revealed over the course of this series.

    Kelly - Maybe so. I also wonder if I'd enjoy these books better if I read them rather than listened. I just like the reader so much and it's a nice way to squeeze another book into my day.

  8. Elisabeth4:36 AM

    I am looking forward to reading this series too! I recently bought the first book at a library book sale and it is patiently waiting for me.

    Thanks for the giveaway!


  9. Elisabeth - Looks like you're the only interested party, so you've won the ARC! I'll email you to get your mailing address.


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