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An Incomplete Revenge (Maisie Dobbs #5)

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  8,456 ratings  ·  764 reviews
Maisie Dobbs travels to Kent to investigate, among other things, a series of fires, a family of Dutch bakers who were killed during WWI in a zeppelin attack and the theft of some silver. Hop-picking has brought everyone to the area, from Londoners to Gypsies. Orlagh Cassidy, who also read Messenger of Truth, not only captures a range of London and Kentish accents, but she ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 5th 2008 by Hodder Murray (first published 2008)
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The Name of the Rose by Umberto EcoThe Alienist by Caleb CarrThe Historian by Elizabeth KostovaThe Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafónMistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
Best Historical Mystery
261st out of 1,018 books — 2,729 voters
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann ShafferMaisie Dobbs by Jacqueline WinspearThe Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan BradleyThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettOutlander by Diana Gabaldon
Best Books to Make into a PBS Series
38th out of 164 books — 241 voters

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Community Reviews

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Celia Powell
Maisie leaves London and heads to Kent in the middle of hopping season to undertake some investigations into a brickworks and the surrounding village.

While I enjoy the Maisie Dobbs series (if you're completely unfamiliar, think post-WW1 solo female detective, a former nurse with painful history), there are several elements to the series that don't click with me - Maisie's psychic abilities are up there (I like fantasy, I just don't like psychics in historical fiction), as is her overly formal t
My favorite Maisie Dobbs novel yet.

I have a notion that Jacqueline Winspear creates her plots the same way Maisie Dobbs solves her mysteries - by sketching out a map containing each clue onto a large canvas until she can see how all the pieces fit together. What I find wonderful about a Winspear mystery is that her canvas doesn't just include who did it, with what, where and when. I suspect it is painted in colors to reflect the season and the clothes Maisie wears, and I'd guess that the overar
An Incomplete Revenge is the fifth book in the Maisie Dobbs series by British-born American author, Jacqueline Winspear. James Compton, son of Maisie’s long-time patron, Lady Compton, is in the process of purchasing a large estate at Heronsdene, Kent for the family company, but some incidents of petty crime, vandalism and small fires in the area are cause for concern, so Maisie is engaged to conduct enquiries. It is early autumn of 1931, and as these cases all seem to occur during the hop harves ...more
By far my favorite Maisie Dobbs installment since the very first book.

I was beginning to wonder how much longer I could stomach Maisie with her psychic abilities, her coldness and her all around off-putting-ness. It's very rare that I will continue with a series in which the main character annoys me so very much, but in the case of this series, I'm willing to put up with her because I do like the style of Winspear's writing, the time period, the slow plotting, and the issues that the mysteries b
Mar 17, 2009 Betty rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: cozy mystery series readers
Recommended to Betty by: review book
I was very taken with this book I loved the many textures and the fullness of characters, the setting of the late 1930s interspersed with a background story from WWI. I had never read a Maisie Dobbs story before but am fast becoming a new fan! Quite aside from the many mysterious happenings, I enjoyed learning of hop-picking, and the rich fullness of gypsies and gypsy lore.

Jacqueline Winspear has a very fluid voice in telling the story, understands the nuances in people, fear, hope, revenge, for
Rachel Morrill
I was surprised to see that I only got this book 8 days ago, and I already finished it this afternoon. I really enjoyed it! I believe this is the 4th or 5th book about the same main character, and I read the one previous to this one just a couple weeks ago. I don't know if I enjoyed this one more on its own, or if it's the fact that I care more about the main character by now. Either way, I am looking forward to reading more Maisie Dobbs books!

One thing both the books I've read by Jacqueline Win
These aren't bad... after all, I keep reading them! But there are several things about them that I find annoying.

I am uncomfortable with the mixture of "sixth sense" and pretentious academic psychology that Maisie supposedly combines to solve her cases. The review at the end, when she returns to the sites she visited during the case, seems to me a contrived device that is essentially pointless. Perhaps I also prefer my mysteries less cerebral.

In this particular book, a specific annoyed me. App
This is the 5th of the Maise Dobbs books and I think it may be the best of the series since the first one. Winspear manages to weave multiple themes, but with so much grace that they never feel forced or crowded. I was particularly impressed with the material about gypsies and the subplot about the effect of war on our humanity. The narrator, Orlagh Cassidy, does a wonderful job. In an interview on one of these audiobooks, Winspear says that she was a nonfiction writer prior to doing the first M ...more
Winspear's a standing favorite of mine, and her latest doesn't disappoint. She captures the emotional resonance of the interwar period so perfectly, and Maisie is one of the most fully realized characters in mystery today. There's a thread of sensitivity and grace threaded through this series that makes it one to return to time and again - more than a mystery, it's an exploration into the mental challenges of grief, loss, and finding your way again in "the afterwards."
I usually prefer my mysteries set in the here and now, but Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series, set in post WWI England is an exception. It presents the devastation of war in vivid terms constantly reminding me why I am a pacifist, at the same time giving hope as Maisie keeps growing beyond her terrible war traumas. This is the fifth book in the series, but it gives enough background to understand Maisie so it can be read on its own. Maisie is called to investigate a series of fires in the ...more
Rick Fisher
4.5 stars

This is the most comfortable series I have ever read. And, "An Incomplete Revenge", so far, tops my list, in this well written collection.
Jacqueline Winspear has created such a wonderful atmosphere within her stories. Each one invites you in and asks you to sit before a cozy fire, with a warm beverage of your choice, while the world revolves slowly outside.
With each new entry into the life of Maisie Dobbs, I fall further and further in love with her and the people she surrounds herse
I think this is my least favorite in this series, not so much for the writing but for the feeling of dissatisfaction with the ending. As in all the Maisie Dobbs stories, there are a couple of plots going on. In this case, they all converge during hop-picking season in Kent, a time when the poor of London headed for the hop gardens in the country to earn some extra money and get a breath of fresh air. I found the information about this tradition quite interesting and read more about it online. Th ...more
In the series of murder-mystery books featuring sleuth Maisie Dobbs, her personal life progresses from one book to the next, so reading in order is a good idea. This, the fourth book, is the best so far. Winspear focuses on the between-World Wars era in England, the plight of the huge number of bereaved, many multiply-bereaved, and the inadequacy of any government response even before the era of financial collapse. Maisie is a quasi-widow: her fiance came back severely injured, unable to communi ...more
Jul 29, 2008 Michelle rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: female sleuths, mystery,
This is definitely my favorite so far of the series. Especially considering I found the last one to be most depressing. Hope seems to be returning to Maisie's world, despite her suffering one more loss in this book. And the portent of WWII looms in the not so distant future.

Winspear's books are very much a recommended read, and as I have now caught up with the books so far published, I shall sit here and sulk until another comes out...

For those who know a little as I do about the Depression era
3.5 stars, really, because these books are the ultimate "comfort read" for me.

Many of us find comfort in the familiar: meeting a character again and again, and hopefully, if the author gets it right, there is character development along with new plot lines. Winspear does it right.

At the same time, there is always a minor flaw in these novels, in that Winspear always seems to withhold a vital piece of information that helps the reader resolve the mystery. An ideal mystery should offer all the s
Martha Davis
I know I've said this about the other Maisie Dobbs books but this really is my favorite so far. The mystery was very complex and interesting. We got to know more about Maisie family history. Maisie was able to release some of the pain of her past and embrace her future. And Pris was back.

I always knew there was something in Maisie's past that gave her her gift and sure enough she does. Her gypsy grandmother must have passed on more than just Maisie's jet black hair. It was nice to see Maisie get
Maisie Dobbs is hired to reassure a friend about a land deal, then she investigates a village, uncovers old secrets, and puts a piece of her past to rest.

I enjoyed this one more than the previous book, largely because Maisie's sense of empathy seems to have returned and she's finally branching out personally instead of just professionally. We learn something about Maisie that seems a little tired and stereotypical, but at least she finally shows some signs of a long-awaited healing.

The mystery p
I haven't read the first four books in the series; I thought Winspear did a good job of explaining past events and introducing returning characters, although it might be a bit tiresome for someone who was already familiar with the faces and events. There are a lot of threads running throughout the story - petty crimes, small fires, hop-picking, xenophobia, consequences of war, economic downturn, class differences - and, like Maisie, Winspear ties up all of the characters' arcs by the end (while ...more
Lovers of Maisy Dobbs will find all the elements here that make the series so endearing: characters that breathe and feel like old friends, fascinating historical detail about life in England between the great wars, and that tantalizing aura of the preternatural that is somehow never too much to be believed.

In An Incomplete Revenge, as in other books of the series, there are themes as profound and thought provoking as any in literature (one reason I categorize these books as “literature” rather
This has been my favorite in the "Maisie Dobbs" series by far, but I can't see my enjoying it so much without having had the foundation lain by the previous four. Jacqueline Winspear demonstrates a bold integrity as a writer in allowing her characters room to develop and to progress. This is essential in a series whose main character is "a wounded healer." Just as Maisie goes about healing others, she herself is allowed the opportunities to heal as well, and not necessarily via the most comforta ...more
Although Winspear’s fifth mystery takes place in 1931, events in the story hark back to World War I, like her other books. James Compton, the son of the family Maisie served as a maid, wants to buy land in the village of Heronsdene. He asks Maisie to investigate the vandalism and arson in the village, and especially at the main house and the brickworks which James wishes to run at a profit. It is August, when many laborers from London go to Kent to pick hops; Billy, Maisie’s assistant, takes two ...more
Maisie Dobbs continues to please the palate of my reading with her fifth book in the series of post World War 1 historical mysteries. The author artfully weaves the plot which involves the interaction among locals, migrant Londoners and gypsies as they pick hops in the fields. Billy, who is usually Maisie's assistant is in the fields with his family. As such he is able to give inside information to Maisie. The prejudice among the different factions is quite apparent. The ongoing history of bully ...more
I "read" this book on audio - narration was good and story was interesting, but I think I have read one too many Maisie Dobbs books in just a few months. Don't get me wrong, this was not bad, just more of the same. Although more of the same is not so bad when it is a gentle novel like this one, where much is implied rather than spelled out and history is woven in so adeptly.

One thing I especially like about this author's writing is how she inserts references to everyday items into her stories...
Another great Maisie Dobbs book. Great mystery stories and plots, with a compelling detective. But there's also a depth, a deep compassion, an ache and a longing. Nicely done.
Monica Elton
I listened to this one on cd since the book was not available at the library. I usually don't like to listens to books on tape because the narrators voice is usually different from the voice I imagine for the characters. I must say that the narrator for this edition was wonderful and I truly enjoyed listening to her. I enjoyed this book. I like how Ms. Winspear uses the third person so you know what all the characters are thinking. She does an excellent job of painting out a scene for you withou ...more
I'm fascinated with the history of England during the interwar period of 1918-1939 especially regarding th effects of the first World War on the lives of individual citizens. In this fifth in the Maisie Dobbs series, the legacy of the Great War reaches deep into the English countryside and provides the backdrop for an investigation of suspicious fires in a rural village in Kent durng the hops harvest season. And there are Gypsies, lots of Gypsies, plus Maisie makes an important discovery about h ...more

Maisie is on a case for James Compston (her mentor's son) who is about to purchase a large estate & brickworks....

While investigating the estate & brickworks during Hops picking season; a fire breaks out in the pub Maisie's staying in and thanks to her quick thinking the pub is saved before any major damage is done.... The fire is obviously arson (Maisie sees someone running from the fire) but the publican adamantly insists he accidentally set the fire and insists that Maisie forget that
Jun 17, 2014 Betty rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Betty by: Self


Jacqueline Winspear

Henry Holt
February 2008

Maisie Dobbs has a steady clientele of people who need her special talents -- she is an investigative psychologist and empathic. Maisie was given a boost in life when she was a house maid for Lord and Lady Compton. They recognized the potential and intelligence in this young woman and made arrangements for her to go to get an education. After completing school, Maisie joined the war efforts as
Ryan G
So before I sat my happy butt down to do this review, I reread the post I did for the previous book in the series, Messenger of Truth. Much like that review, I really have nothing new to say. I'm still loving the series, I still love Maisie Dobbs, and I'm still loving the journey she is taking.

I am wishing I had read the entire series in order, instead of reading some of the later books before these middle few. I think I would have understood Maisie and some of the, well I don't want to say moo
Mar 12, 2014 Lianne added it
This is #5 in the Maisie Dobbs series. It's now 1931 and much of this plot unfolds in the Kentish countryside during hop picking season. Maisie's assistant Billy and his family are picking hops for cash, something they do every year. Maisie has been asked by James, the son of her benefactor, to investigate why there have been so many burglaries and fires in the picturesque village since the war . James plans to buy the adjacent brickworks and needs to know what force or person may be source of t ...more
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Jacqueline Winspear was born and raised in the county of Kent, England. Following higher education at the University of London’s Institute of Education, Jacqueline worked in academic publishing, in higher education and in marketing communications in the UK.

She emigrated to the United States in 1990, and while working in business and as a personal / professional coach, Jacqueline embarked upon a li
More about Jacqueline Winspear...

Other Books in the Series

Maisie Dobbs (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs, #1)
  • Birds of a Feather (Maisie Dobbs #2)
  • Pardonable Lies (Maisie Dobbs, #3)
  • Messenger of Truth (Maisie Dobbs, #4)
  • Among the Mad (Maisie Dobbs, #6)
  • The Mapping of Love and Death (Maisie Dobbs #7)
  • A Lesson in Secrets (Maisie Dobbs #8)
  • Elegy for Eddie (Maisie Dobbs #9)
  • Leaving Everything Most Loved (Maisie Dobbs #10)
  • A Dangerous Place (Maisie Dobbs, #11)
Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs, #1) Pardonable Lies (Maisie Dobbs, #3) Birds of a Feather (Maisie Dobbs #2) The Mapping of Love and Death (Maisie Dobbs #7) Messenger of Truth (Maisie Dobbs, #4)

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“The heart does not know chronos time, Maisie.” 3 likes
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