The Baltimore Sun


By John Lescroart; read by David Colacci

An Incomplete Revenge

By Jacqueline Winspear; read by Orlagh Cassidy

Macmillan Audio / unabridged -- 8 CDs, 9 1/4 hours / $39.95

It's not giving anything away to mention that in Jacqueline Winspear's elegantly plotted Maisie Dobbs series no one is murdered during the course of the novel. This series is set in the wake of World War I, and The Great War brought on enough deaths and turmoil; finding out what happened and why brings enough challenge to psychologist and private investigator Maisie Dobbs.

In her fifth installment, Winspear perfectly illustrates prejudice, village secrets and the lingering effects of guilt. Winspear keeps the pace leisurely, but never boring or static, as she shows the changes in women's roles, the breaking down of the class system and an increasing reliance on modern conveniences.

Set in 1931, An Incomplete Revenge achieves what good historical fiction should -- illuminating another era while showing how little human nature changes.

In An Incomplete Revenge, Dobbs is asked to look into the seemingly idyllic village of Heronsdene in Kent where a client is interested in buying land. But the hamlet seems cursed -- during the war almost every family lost one or two sons and a zeppelin raid killed an entire family in Heronsdene's center, and now mysterious fires happen regularly. But the villagers refuse to even acknowledge anything is wrong. But just about everyone Maisie encounters is quite vocal about their hatred and distrust of a band of Gypsies who are camped on the edge of town during hop-picking season.

Orlagh Cassidy's various accents help American audiences differentiate among the Kent residents, Londoners and the Gypsy clan. Cassidy aids in Winspear's depiction of an independent, intelligent woman.

Oline H. Cogdill writes for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

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