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Pardonable Lies (Maisie Dobbs #3)

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  15,901 Ratings  ·  1,165 Reviews
London 1930, psychologist investigator Maisie Dobbs must prove Sir Cedric's aviator son Ralph Lawton died when shot down in 1917. In former battlefields of France, she re-unites with Priscilla Evernden, one of whose three brothers lost in the War is somehow connected. The case tests Maisie's spiritual strength and her regard for mentor Maurice Blanche.
Paperback, 328 pages
Published August 10th 2006 by John Murray (first published January 1st 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kathy Davie
Jan 05, 2013 Kathy Davie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, history
Third in the Maisie Dobbs historical mystery series revolving around Maisie, a detective using meditation and psychology to solve her cases. This story takes place over the summer of 1930 in England and France.

My Take
Another pip from Winspear. It's hard to believe that Winspear is a contemporary author writing today as she really brings this period to life. She really knows how to dig in and write so that I felt as though I was there in 1930 England. The evolution of the telephone. The manners,
Margaret H.
I just can't get behind these books. I keep reading them because I am a sucker for mysteries set in England between the two wars, and because Maisie is definitely a lovable character. I also enjoy them because Winspear has the good sense to describe in detail all the beautiful period clothing. The mysteries themselves, however, are thoroughly unsatisfying. I don't like Maisie's empathy method, where merely by mimicking people's posture, she suddenly knows their innermost thoughts. I don't like t ...more
#3 in the Maisie Dobbs mystery series, and this outing finds Maisie returning to Post-WWI France in a 2-fold mission to determine for a client that his son is, in fact, truely dead, and to help her friend to find out more about her brother's wartime activities.

While I liked this offering, I felt it was the weakest in the series so far. Maisie is beginning to grate. She's very unlikable IMO and has these strange new-agey powers that just don't mesh with the 1930's background. That being said, I s
Lynn Pribus
Dec 24, 2011 Lynn Pribus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third in the series and they get better as they go. While I found the first too heavy on backstory,this one moves along At the end of the audio-book, there was a ten minute interview with the author who said she had always done non-fiction.

She was stuck in a traffic jam in London when Maisie walked up out of the underground and appeared to Winspear almost fully realized. There were scenes that came to her while she was writing the first book, that she knew belong in the second or th
Feb 27, 2012 Marti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a teacher, it’s interesting and delightful to see a writer’s craft develop. I believe I am witnessing that development of art and skill in Jacqueline Winspear. With each book in the Maisie Dobbs series, she is just better. The plots have seemed to have more “pizzazz” and the characters just get rounder and rounder. I really liked that this book was in three sections, with the first section set in England, the second in France, and the last back in England. As in the previous books, the linger ...more
Aug 08, 2012 Barbara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Barbara by: Sue Drees
I have long intended to read this series, because it was recommended by a respected GR Friend.I was going to start with #1; but this book jumped out at me from the shelf in the library. How could I deny it a chance? (I hope that I don't regret starting at #3!)


As I had feared, I think I should not have started with Book 3 of this series. I cannot say much about this novel because it did not move me. As most of my friends know, I do enjoy mysteries, but
I am already a huge fan of the Maise Dobbs' series, but this 3rd book was absolutely perfect. The narrator was excellent and pleasing to listen to throughout.

This book has so many mysteries with links to each other that hte reader is "holding on for dear life" until the conclusion. I wasn't able to guess what would happen next - so had to keep listening!

I love the depth of Maisie's character. She is never silly or neglectful with her work or her personal life. Her past experiences of loss make
May 26, 2010 Shelly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shelly by: Garzon's list
While the writing was par for Winspear I heartily disliked the content of the story-line. Just fed up hearing about it in EVERY venue of Life! Live your life any way you want, it's called Free Agency and we ALL have it. Even me! That's why I'm allowed to say I don't agree! And as long as you are not standing up and telling me I have to say it's okay for you to make those choices I won't stand up and tell you those choices are wrong and will only bring you and yours unhappiness. I am DONE validat ...more
Dec 11, 2011 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
I've now read seven of Winspear's Maisie Dobbs novels and, although I enjoyed all of them, this was one of the most satisfying.

Set in post WW1 Britain, Maisie was a battlefront nurse, injured during the war. The series takes us through her maturation and professional development as a psychologist and investigator. The strength of the series is the author's gift for recreating time and place. It doesn't take much imagination to stroll through post-war London and feel the pain of the families and
This is the third in the Maisie Dobbs series, which I am enjoying. They are a light and easy read, which is sometimes just what my mind needs!! I'm not overly interested in the Eastern mystical elements of Maisie Dobbs novels, but I enjoy reading about the inter-World-War period and it's always nice to read a book with a strong female main character - although Maisie is not as strong in this one, since she has to deal with some demons from the past which leave her rather vulnerable.
Joy H.
May 11, 2011 Joy H. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Added 5/11/11
This was a good cozy mystery. There were parts that dragged a bit, but, all in all, the story was a good one. I find that some of author Winspear's sentences are too wordy. For example: "Tavistock opened the gate into a no-man's-land dividing two houses, and then to the back where, between the two gardens, a Cross of Sacrifice rose toward the dark clouds, ever watchful over a small walled cemetery." Winspear also gives a good deal of attention to the clothes which the characters are
Maisie Dobbs is hired to help a man honor his late wife’s final wish, even though her new client seems more interested in fulfilling an obligation than in finding out what really happened to the son he lost in the war. The case takes Maisie back through her own past when she revisits her early spiritualist investigations, her old school friends, and the days she spent as a nurse in WWI era France.

It always takes me some time to settle in to the style of a new Maisie book. They have a very differ
Nancy (essayist)
Probably 3.5 stars. I'm of two minds about this series. I love the time period, the historical detail, the setting, the mysteries, and the idea of a self-possessed, intelligent woman finding a way for herself. But there's always something depressing about these books, too. Certainly there's an elegiac tone, but it's almost as if Winspear has decided no one can ever be happy again in the wake of the war. I'm sure that's true for some, but all the joy just seems sucked out of this world. Just once ...more
Yet another amazing read in this series!! And there was not just one person following and/or attempting to stop Maisie--permanently! I appreciate perhaps the most about Winspear's writing the fact that Maisie herself sometimes decides to evade the "whole truth" when all parties will be happier and better satisfied with their lives not knowing everything... That requires such courage. I don't know if I could do that. It would be a tough decision, and although Maisie agonizes, she is quite satisfi ...more
Nov 04, 2010 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
I really like this mystery series. Love the setting and sense of place. Characters are well rounded and I like the way the author tells a story. This time we get to see Maisie grow as she confronts some ghosts from the past while on a visit to France. I had part of the mystery figured out but that didn't stop me from enjoying the story.

That being said, I didn't quite understand the psychic resolution. Did that come out of the blue or did I miss something at the beginning of the story? I went bac
Jul 13, 2010 Kelsey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maisie Dobbs is such a likable character. She's strong, discerning, compassionate and yet haunted by her experiences of WWI. I thought I was reading book 2 in the series but this is #3. Happily they can be read out of order without feeling like I missed something. Jacqueline's writing style makes me want more. On on this detective kick. I've recently watched a batch of Miss Marple movies too. Maybe it's my car getting stolen that makes me crave the detective inside me to develop. Or that escapin ...more
Mar 30, 2014 Marianne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pardonable Lies is the third book in the Maisie Dobbs series by British-born American author, Jacqueline Winspear. Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator, uses her unique skills to tease from a thirteen-year-old girl the circumstances of her “uncle’s” death. Avril Jarvis is the prime suspect, but Maisie doubts her guilt, and sends Billy Beale to Avril’s hometown of Taunton to do some investigating. Meanwhile, Lord Julian Compton asks aisie to take on a case for a friend, Sir Cecil Lawton, Q ...more
Mar 02, 2014 Damaskcat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maisie Dobbs – psychologist and investigator – is asked to take on a case for a friend of Lord Julian Compton. Ralph Lawton was killed when his plane crashed in France during World War I but his mother has been told by mediums that her son is still alive. His father makes a promise to his wife on her death bed that he will try and find out whether Ralph is still alive.

Maisie is reluctant to take on the case because it will involve returning to France where she herself served as a nurse during th
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed are mine.

“My child, when a mountain appears on the journey, we try to go to the left, then to the right; we try to find the easy way to navigate our way back to the easier path.” He paused. “But the mountain is there to be crossed. It is on that pilgrimage, as we climb higher, that we are forced to shed the layers upon layers we have carried for so lon
The Lit Bitch
Jan 29, 2016 The Lit Bitch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have had a love hate relationship with the Maisie Dobbs books over the years. I read the first one and just wasn’t overly impressed but I pressed on and read the second and again felt like I wasn’t connecting with the series in the way that I had hoped.

But I keep pushing myself to read them because not only do I love the covers but I love the time period! I love books set either during the Great War or in the years immediately following in England.

This should be a series that I fell in love wi
Laura Ruetz
Feb 27, 2016 Laura Ruetz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I continue to be engrossed in the Maise Dobbs books by Jacqueline Winspear. Maise is a strong, capable female character, a private detective and psychologist in post war England. Her character is inspiring and very easy to connect to. Maise is always focused not only on the case but the people behind it. This is one of her biggest flaws, as it often puts her in a vulnerable position, and in this book, that position becomes precarious as she is forced to come face to face with her own memories of ...more
Gail Goetschius
Aug 22, 2014 Gail Goetschius rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This mystery series too is pure pleasure. Pardonable Lies is a particularly complex and emotional installment. Maisie Dobbs is hired to prove that Ralph Lawton, presumed dead during the war truly did die. His mother always believed he lived and it was her dying wish to have him found. Her investigation leads her to France where she must confront the painful ghosts of her own past as an army nurse. Additionally her old friend Priscilla asks her to investigate where exactly her brother, Peter, die ...more
Shirley Schwartz
Jul 20, 2014 Shirley Schwartz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third book in the Maisie Dobbs series. I really enjoyed it. In the book Maisie is hired by a leading London barrister to prove that his son was really killed in the war. The time is summer and early fall 1930, and I love the way Ms. Winspear brings this era to life in this series. Maisie puts herself in grave danger as she works this case and it forces her to face her past when she heads over to Belgium and France as she pursues her information. She has to work her way through a numb ...more
E.J. Stevens
Feb 10, 2010 E.J. Stevens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Maisie Dobbs, female sleuth and former battlefield nurse, tackles three major cases in Pardonable Lies. Maisie is brought in by inspector Stratton of Scotland Yard to interview a young girl suspected of murder. Although evidence puts her at the scene of the crime Maisie believes in the girl's innocence. Sensitive to the loss of her own mother at a young age Maisie strives to find the truth before young Avril Jarvis is separated from her mother permanently with a life prison sentence. Upon arrivi ...more
Mar 11, 2011 Pam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The emotional and physical fallout from World War One had hardly the concrete closure it can hold, today.
The absence of technological identification, digital records or micro chips made it a bit open ended in the days after the conflict ended. Because of the confusion, so many families of all backgrounds, were left wondering if their loved ones could still be alive and well after the dust cleared.

Cecil Lawson’s wife went to her death-bed, begging of her h
Ryan G
Jun 12, 2013 Ryan G rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was nice to go back and actually experience for myself some of the events and relationships that are mentioned further on in the series. I enjoyed getting to see her relationship with the doctor develop and then fall apart, though I could have handled a little bit less angst about it. And now that I'm thinking along those lines, it dawns on me that when it comes to men, either in this book or further along in the series, Maisie Dobbs does not seem to have it all figured out. A lot of her self ...more
I enjoyed this 3rd installment of the Maisie Dobbs series. I feel like I'm finally learning a little more about Maisie, though it really is almost like pulling teeth. I really hope in future books we can see more of her personality outside her serious work persona. These books are special because they really look at the gritty aftermath of the war and explore all the questions that survivors are facing through the cases Maisie has to solve. This one also delved a little into the "spy" aspect of ...more
Martha Davis
Feb 28, 2011 Martha Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another Maisie Dobbs hit as far as I’m concerned. I was worried the mystery portion of the story was a little far fetched but Winspear made it work. Not only did the mystery work but this chapter saw Maisie start to really heal and grow. And Pris was back. Yippeee.

Maisie travels to France to find out what happened to not only Ralph Lawton but also her good friend Priscilla’s brother Peter. While in France Maisie finally has to deal with the aftermath of her experiences in the war. It was a relie
Mar 12, 2012 Jill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I could, I'd give this a 4 3/4. It was a solid 5 right up until the final "mystery" was solved. It wasn't terrible, it made sense in the context of the story, but it was superfluous. Yes, the mystery genre has certain conventions and putting the detective/protagonist in danger is one of them, but the other storylines are so rich in history, character development and insight that she would have been forgiven for flouting that convention (at least by me).

Back to that solid five. The weaving tog
Laura de Leon
Apr 17, 2009 Laura de Leon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
As I was reading, I was thinking this might be my first 5 star rating in a while. The characters were intriguing, the plot drew me in, the details on life in the 1930s were fascinating. The writing was wonderful (and I normally don't notice the writing). The plot lines wrapped up one by one. Just one left dangling...

Then the book almost dropped to 3 stars, I was so angry about how that story line resolved. OK, I suspect if I went back to the beginning, the details needed to make the conclusion r
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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 12 books)
  • Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs, #1)
  • Birds of a Feather (Maisie Dobbs, #2)
  • Messenger of Truth (Maisie Dobbs, #4)
  • An Incomplete Revenge (Maisie Dobbs, #5)
  • 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)

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“My child, when a mountain appears on the journey, we try to go to the left, then to the right. We try to find the easy way to navigate our way back to the easier path.…. But the mountain is there to be crossed. It is on that pilgrimage, as we climb higher, that we are forced to shed the layers upon layers we have carried for so long. Then we find that our load is lighter, and we have come to know something of ourselves in the perilous climb…..Do not seek to avoid the mountain, my child. For it has been placed there at a perfect time. It will only become larger if you seek to delay or draw back from the ascent. ” 6 likes
“I believe it is to our detriment that age gives us a certain mistrust of those younger than ourselves, and we fail to see the strength within them to assume the burden of truth.” 1 likes
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