About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear

(40. – 970.) Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear – Maisie Dobbs is restless. While a modest woman she knows she has a  accomplished a great deal in her 33 years. She is no longer pre-occupied by the traumas of WW I. Maisie feels her life has been confined and limited. Her experience of the world has been England and the time she spent in France during the war. She dreams of traveling the world, especially India where her mentor Maurice Blanche had journeyed.

As she contemplates a trip that will really be a quest to gain wisdom from residents of distant lands she also considers her relationship with James Crompton. He wants to marry her and go to Canada. She is unsure about both marriage and Canada. She is uncertain their love is enough to sustain marriage.

As she contemplates her options Maisie has a pair of investigations.

Her primary investigation is to aid Scotland Yard in solving the murder of Usha Pramal, an Indian woman, who was shot between the eyes. As a beautiful woman dressing in brilliantly hued saris Usha draws constant attention. Her personality is outgoing and she goes through life with a smile upon her face.

At the same time businessman, Jesmond Martin, has retained her to find his son, Robert, who, at 14, has run away from school and not been in touch with his family. Thinking it would give him confidence she assigned the investigation to her assistant, Billy Beale. Instead, it proved too much for him and his health has regressed.

Usha has a unique gift in that the touch of her hands can draw pain out of a suffering woman. Her presence and soothing touch reminded me Maisie has an enduring skill. Maisie has learned from copying the posture and movements of people what they are feeling.

Maisie believes the effect of Usha’s touch was enhanced by her willingness to touch those suffering. Maisie recalls the plaintive comments of a wounded veteran that no one wants to touch the disfigured and the maimed.

In addition to her touch Usha had knowledge of Indian spices and herbs used to help alleviate pain.

There is no obvious motive or suspect. Scotland Yard conducted but a perfunctory investigation forcing Maisie, months later, to start the investigation anew.

Maisie reflects on pain and prejudice:

       “… I believe there is some pain, something untoward in certain
       people – certain communities  even – perhaps it’s anger, a 
       sense of dispossession or disenfranchisement, and they have to
       destroy that which brings joy, and love.”

Jealousy is among the most insidious of the human vices. Were it not for all the real life examples – present and past - I would doubt the power of jealousy.

Visible expressions of vicious prejudice towards the outsider provide obvious suspects. Where the prejudice is concealed only a probing and perceptive investigator can detect or deduce such bitterness.

Maisie finds no one in Usha’s life with clear anger towards her or Indian people.

Aiding Maisie is her assistant, Sandra, who is displaying ever more confidence through working with Maisie and studying at university at night.

Considering the subject matter I was not expecting a continuation of the series tradition of the plot being connected to WW I. Winspear does come up with a sad and credible link to the war.

While reading Leaving Everything Most Loved I was reminded of the Joanne Kilbourn series by Gail Bowen. I am as caught up in the continuing personal stories of Maisie and the other continuing characters as the mystery being unfolded.

Who could not long for James and Maisie to marry? They respect as well as love each other. Yet Maisie remains hesitant. I am anxious to find out whether she can resolve her restlessness. I will be sad if they do not marry.

Winspear does not emphasize the racist attitudes of many English citizens. She does make clear that they considered themselves superior to the peoples of the Indian subcontinent.

Maisie continues to develop as a character. It is a superb series.

Winspear, Jacqueline – (2008) - Maisie Dobbs(Best fiction of 2008) (2008) - Birds of a Feather; (2009) - Pardonable Lies; (2011) - Messenger of Truth; (2012) - An Incomplete Revenge; (2012) - Among the Mad; (2013) - The Mapping of Love and Death; (2016) - A Lesson in Secrets; (2016) - Elegy for Eddie; Hardcover or paperback by choice 


  1. I think this series is excellent, too, Bill, and one of the reasons is the evolution of Maisie's character. It's one of those aspects that really make the series realistic. I hope Maisie and James marry, too, but at the same time, it is a big decision; I think it's natural that she's wavering.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I think it is time in fiction, as it would be in real life, for Maisie and James to make a final decision. Prolonging the decision would seem artificial. I had hoped they would marry and have children. With Maisie having reached 36 the question of children is about to become urgent.

  2. I have only read three mysteries in this series and I can see I should try more of them.

    1. TracyK: Thanks for the comment. The series can be addictive.