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A Lesson in Secrets (Maisie Dobbs #8)

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  12,089 Ratings  ·  1,217 Reviews
From New York Times bestselling author Jacqueline Winspear, now available in paperback— the latest episode in the  New York Times  bestselling series, Maisie Dobbs’ first assignment for the British Secret Service takes her undercover to Cambridge as a professor, and leads to the investigation of a web of activities being conducted by the emerging Nazi party.

Private investi
Paperback, 352 pages
Published March 6th 2012 by Harper Perennial (first published 2011)
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Nov 23, 2016 Phrynne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Number eight in the Maisie Dobbs series.
I think I liked this one the best in the series so far. I really enjoy all the historical facts about England in the period between the two World Wars and I love following Maisie to places in London and its surrounds which I know quite well.
The mystery was handled well and I did not guess the culprit until quite late in the piece. Maisie herself is in a good place - her assistance being sought by a certain Government agency shows she is well regarded which
Oct 12, 2011 Hannah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, 2011-reads
Rating Clarification: 2.5 Stars

Disappointing installment in the Maisie Dobbs series. Certainly, this one had the potential to be a real turning point in the series, as Maisie (and Great Britain in general) move further away from the Great War and now feel the first ominous rumblings of Hitler's rise to power.

I had begun to enjoy these books again after the last two in the series (Among the Mad and The Mapping of Love and Death), both of which were extremely entertaining reads and developed Maisi
Judith Starkston
Jacqueline Winspear fans won’t need any prodding to read her latest Maisie Dobbs mystery, A Lesson in Secrets. The rest of you should be ashamed of yourselves. This is her eighth book in the series, and by now you should have been gobbling up these first-rate novels set in the years following World War I.

Maisie’s character makes for uncommonly good reading. Winspear avoids all the simplistic, predictable versions of independent female sleuth that have proliferated over the years. She has descr
Apr 21, 2011 Deb rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-books-read
I love the Maisie Dobbs series and I looked forward to this newest installment. Maisie is recruited by the British intelligence to go undercover as a philosophy lecturer at a "peace" college at Cambridge. It's 1932 and there is a growing fascination with Hitler's rhetoric. Maisie's brief is to find out whether any of the "peace" activities are damaging to the Crown. On the home front, Billy's wife is expecting a fourth child, James Compton seems to be less than truthful, and Sandra, a former Com ...more
Aug 14, 2012 Joe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
A Lesson in Secrets is the eighth book in a series but the first for me; so reading it already felt like uncovering a bit of a secret. The protagonist, Maisie Dobbs a highly insightful, but cagey detective who rarely let's her friends or her audience know exactly what's on her mind. She's a likable character who with a rich past; though it often felt like much of that past was re-told from the earlier seven novels.

But the secrets go deeper than the main character. This is a mystery story with m
Dec 12, 2014 Marianne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Lesson In Secrets is the eighth book in the Maisie Dobbs series by British-born American author, Jacqueline Winspear. After being (somewhat ineptly) followed for some ten days, psychologist and investigator, Maisie Dobbs finds herself recruited into the Secret Intelligence Service by Brian Huntley (as was hinted by her late mentor during his last days), to work a job in conjunction with Robbie MacFarlane of Scotland Yard Special Branch. Having signed the Official Secrets Act, she is to pose as ...more
Though Maisie's success in love and work and her new personal wealth are well-deserved, I fear that she may become less interesting as a main character. Her appeal as a heroine was in her struggle to overcome poverty and war to become an independent working woman between the wars in 20th century London. Our talented heroine's hard work has reaped huge rewards. Still, her elevated station in life means there's a loss of tension in the plots and subplots. There is also increased alignment between ...more
Jan 16, 2011 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers of historical fiction, mysteries
This is the 8th in the Maisie Dobbs series and she has reached late 1932. With economic times still hard in England and Europe as a whole, Hitler and the Nazi party on the rise in Germany and the Secret Service recruiting her to look for suspicious behavior at a peace college, Maisie has more than enough to keep herself busy before the murder of the college principal.

In this installment, there are developments in every part of her life. Her private inquiry business continues to thrive, she is no
I think with each book I fall more and more into this series. I love how each books brings so much character development and none of the characters are just living static lives. I read these books for the interesting mysteries, but also to see what is in store for each recurring character. The writing is sophisticated and beautiful and the story lines are also full of emotion and intrigue with interesting outcomes. I am happy that Maisie is finding some happiness and progress in her life, though ...more
Feb 15, 2011 Kathryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This is the first Maisie Dobbs novel I have read and I'm sorry that I haven't read the others after reading this one! I intend to correct that right away.

Maisie is recruited by the British Secret Service in 1932. They ask Maisie to keep tabs on Greville Liddicote. Liddicote is the author of a pacifist children's book that the government went to great pains to suppress during WWI and he has founded a college in Cambridge devoted to maintaining peace in Europe. Maisie keeps tabs on Liddicote by be
This is the eighth in the Maisie Dobbs series of novels but the first I've read. Maisie Dobbs is one of those slightly unbelievable characters who populate these sorts of mystery novels—born into a working-class English family in the late nineteenth century, she goes into service but is Discovered as a bright young thing, goes to Cambridge, serves as a nurse during the Great War, and eventually becomes a private investigator and the heir to a comfortable fortune. Did I mention that even in 1932 ...more
Jan 16, 2011 edh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am very excited to finally see WWII on the horizon in this series. I describe it as a "slow burn" to prospective readers because I need them to understand that Maisie isn't about action and adventure as much as she is about peeling away the layers of the people who lived through WWI.

Here, we see Maisie starting to separate from her own practice and begin to take orders from the Secret Service. She is nosing around a small college dedicated to the practice of peace but which may harbor traitor
MaryJo Dawson
Sep 01, 2014 MaryJo Dawson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here is another enjoyable read in the Maisie Dobbs series, with the quality of the story and the consistency in the characterizations - except...

This book lost a star in my rating only because Winspear has Maisie go farther in her relationship with James Compton than I think the lady she developed, in her time period, would have gone. That was the only disappointment.
Melissa Lenhardt
I’m not sure how or when I first discovered the Maise Dobbs series. I think I happened upon the first book, Maisie Dobbs, at the library. Intrigued by the setting – England between the wars – I picked it up and immediately liked the character. It was an interesting mystery novel in that a large portion of it was a flashback to the character’s past. I can’t even remember her first case, truth be told. It was Maisie and her personal story that kept me interested. Since then, I have waited anxiousl ...more
Mal Warwick
Mar 09, 2017 Mal Warwick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
December 1932. Adolf Hitler is agitating to become Chancellor of Germany as his following grows. Many Britons, too, especially the aristocracy, are finding a lot to like in Herr Hitler and his Nazi Party. In increasing numbers, they are campaigning to resist any effort by the United Kingdom to go to war with Nazi Germany—a war that many wiser heads are already predicting. The Nazis and the Fascists are joined by many pacifists. But Maisie Dobbs is not among them. She abhors the anti-Semitism of ...more
Pamela Mclaren
Its 1932 and intrepid former WWI nurse, not private inquiry agent, Maisie Hobbs is on an undercover assignment at the direction of Scotland Yard's Special Service. She's a junior lecturer at a private college led by an academic known for a children's book about ending all war. The governments concerned that the college may be the setting for activities "not in the interests of his majesty's government." The case become more complicated when the principal is murdered.

On the home front, Maisie is
Neal Sanders
Jun 10, 2011 Neal Sanders rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Keeping a mystery series readable after eight books is a challenge for any writer. When I read ‘Maisie Dobbs’ in 2003, I was captivated by the character, the setting and the plot. But, what does a writer do once the main character’s back story is fully fleshed out?
There are multiple paths, most of them not pretty. Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series has taken on such a huge cast of secondary characters that the plot lines are little more than a distraction from the comings and goings of Ame
Mar 19, 2011 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, mystery-light
A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear is another of the delightful"Maisie Dobbs" series. Maisie is a nurse from London, who served and was wounded during the war and now runs a private investigation company. She is highly successful and extremely well respected in a time in the late 1920’s and 1930’s when this would have been extremely unusual. Maisie is asked to join both the Special Service and Scotland Yard in the investigation of destructive and unusual events that seem to be advancing ...more
Aug 28, 2011 Glenajo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Set in the years following WWI in England, the Masie Dobbs series employs a pervading sense of gloom felt as the people deal with the deaths of so many, disabled veterans, high unemployment, and the truly poor lower class. This series allows a ‘richer’ society to glimpse the difficulty of the time, and the amazing changes as one of the poor, Masie, begins to climb the ladder to a better life, albeit with the help of those above her and her brilliant mind. While some may argue that this was unusu ...more
May 25, 2011 Kat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In today's NYT there was an Op-Ed piece titled something like "Why England Works". We threw out the paper so I cannot check who wrote it and what the exact title was. But the point of the column was that the British democracy/system of government actually works much better than the American one. They are in some ways much more adversarial with the "in-your-face" Question Time in Parliament, but at the same time much less ideologically divided than the US. Partly, because their elites all went to ...more
Elizabeth  (Thoughts From an Evil Overlord)
This may be my favorite Maisie Dobbs. It has an interesting mystery as always, but it's more Maisie as woman coming in to her full stride of life that grabbed me. She now has an established inquiry agency with Billy Beale as her assistant. She is so well-regarded that Scotland Yard and the Secret Service have called her in for some under cover work. She is teaching philosophy at a new college in Cambridge, watching for signs of anti-government leanings of students or staff. On her second day the ...more
Maisie Dobbs is truly amazing. In the past she has been a nurse on the warfront, a therapist (with great intuitive skills), a private investigator, and has done some work in forensic pathology. Now she is a college professor, lecturing on Philosophy at a private university in Cambridge, although actually working undercover to find out about activities that may be developing that are contrary to the country's best interest. Those of us who have come to love Maisie in this series are not even surp ...more
My friend won this book from Goodreads, then passed it on to me. I have never read Jacqueline Winspear and her Maisie Dobbs series, but am always willing to read a mystery.

Although A Lesson in Secrets is book 8 in the Maisie Dobbs series, it was an enjoyable read when read alone. The book is set in England after the first World War and before the second, this was a very interesting time regarding secrets, spies, the enormous loss of life suffered during WW1 and the flu afterwards, the average p
Jan 25, 2011 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another good read in the Maisie Dobbs series, one of my favorite series. Winspear has really done her homework on this one, as she always does. Maisie finds herself independently wealthy, yet still working as she is asked by the British Secret Service to "spy" on the students & staff at an exclusive college to discover any anti-British activities. When the college president is murdered, Maisie becomes involved in more than just the actions of some future Nazis, but also the murder. I ...more
Mar 07, 2012 Susan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2012
The only good thing about this story is that I finally finished it. I didn't like the storyline, I didn't like the characters, I didn't like the excessive filler in this story and I didn't like the fact that the previous entry was SO good and this one was really bad. What happened? It seemed there wasn't much to this story, hence the inconsequential filler, which is fine and good but not to this extent.

I'm finding this author is really a hit or miss with me and it makes me afraid to pick up the
Nov 27, 2014 Betty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am enjoying Maisie as I read the books. There are plenty of secrets that Maisie must keep. Maisie is working with the Secret Service and is teaching at The College Of St Francis, school established to bring about PEACE. There are worries that the Nazi party is there. While Maisie is present the Dean is MURDER.
Billie is working to Sandra find out why her husband died. James Compton is in Canada. All the characters continue to grow.
Jan Rice
Jul 24, 2011 Jan Rice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maisie and her cast of character friends in 1932 England.... We see London and Cambridge society through her eyes, and also her view of the impact of rising Nazism on some of the English privileged class. A good book, like the earlier ones in the series.
Also not my favorite of this series. Becoming predictable? Have had enough "insight" into the ways in which WW1 affected people for years and years - and, how close on its heels came the horrors of WW2?
Valeria Spencer
Apr 03, 2017 Valeria Spencer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this series gets better with each book. The author keeps things changing, so the characters change and grow as well. An interesting premise: Maisie Dobbs is an investigator and psychologist both. In this setting, she is working for the government in an undercover, classified role. This makes for an interesting peek into the undercover world of spies.
Joanna Warrens
Apr 20, 2017 Joanna Warrens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: april-2017
I had forgotten how much I enjoy this series.
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Play Book Tag: A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear - 4 stars 2 10 Jan 03, 2017 11:15AM  
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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 13 books)
  • Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs, #1)
  • Birds of a Feather (Maisie Dobbs, #2)
  • Pardonable Lies (Maisie Dobbs, #3)
  • 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)
  • Elegy for Eddie (Maisie Dobbs, #9)
  • Leaving Everything Most Loved (Maisie Dobbs, #10)
  • A Dangerous Place (Maisie Dobbs, #11)

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