Thursday, March 27, 2008

Maisie Dobbs, Jacqueline Winspear, and the Festival of the Book

The 2008 Virginia Festival of the Book kicked off yesterday and if you didn't make any sessions then, you might want to go to their website and check out the current and upcoming sessions. Changes have occurred, so if you haven't checked the site for a while, it's worth doing again.

Naturally I would like everyone to come to the "Crime Wave: Murder, Murder Everywhere" session (8 pm tomorrow, March 28, at the Albemarle County Office Building) to hear and see my new favorite, Jacqueline Winspear, author of the "Maisie Dobbs" series of mystery novels. I'm telling you, you will love these books if you don't already. (If you do already love them, you have no excuse for not showing up and if you don't I will track you down and... wait, I'm not going to do that.)

Winspear's most recent book, An Incomplete Revenge, continues to follow Maisie's development as a "psychologist-investigator," as she calls herself. This job title is a clue to how different these novels are from most mysteries. Set in post-WWI England, the time period is critically important to these books. England was still reeling from the effects of the Great War years after its conclusion. The psychological scars ran deep and were motivating factors for all kind of behavior, and of course because these are mysteries, for criminal behavior. Because Maisie is part psychologist and interested in motivation, the reader sees more deeply into the minds of the criminals and understands them as human beings in a way rarely found in other mysteries.

I've blogged about Winspear and the Bookfest because I was invited to, and I have been very grateful for the opportunity, not least because I have discovered a wonderful mystery writer whose future career I look forward to following. One of the most wonderful aspects of the Bookfest is exposure to new-to-you authors. Certainly seeing your old favorites is very enjoyable, but I urge you to take a chance on sessions that interest you topically. You'll discover some fresh faces and voices who contribute to your lifetime of reading.

See you at the Bookfest!

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