Winspear, Jacqueline - 'Elegy for Eddie'
Eddie Pettit has an affinity for horses that no-one else understands. He can soothe them and seems to talk to them and even the wildest animal calms under his influence. So, although he seems to be of limited intelligence, a gentle man with few abilities, his talent is in great demand in 1930s London where horses are still used for many tasks.
When he is killed, his friends, the costermongers of the markets of London, ask Maisie Dobbs, a private detective, to investigate. Although, she moved to the country with her father as a child, Maisie remembers Eddie, his mother and the costermongers with great affection and willingly takes on the job.
Maisie's enquiries range from the newspaper factory where he was killed, to his friends and family and on to the powerful people that Eddie worked for. As she discovers links to a reporter's apparent suicide in the Thames, Maisie finds that Eddie was mixed up in a dangerous game.
This period between wars is one where politicians and influential business men are trying to encourage the country and the government to recognise the continuing threat from the old enemy, Germany, and to prepare for another potential conflict. Maisie finds herself dealing with people who see individuals as sacrifices for the greater good. She is also struggling with her personal life, finding the affections and expectations on her as a girlfriend of a rich and powerful man, hedging her with constraints that she fights against. Maisie realises that she has to solve the problem of her own life as well as the mystery of Eddie's death.
I love reading historical books where I feel that the author has taught me something about the period I didn't know. Jacqueline Winspear never fails in that. Her research is apparent but never heavy-handed.
ELEGY FOR EDDIE is a joy to read.
Susan White, England