The “Eddie” in the title is Eddie Pettit, born to an unmarried teenage mother in 1887 while she was mucking out a stable – a job that just barely keeps her out of the workhouse. All his life, Eddie had a special gift for working with horses. And now in 1933, Eddie dies in a freak accident at a printing plant. But Eddie’s friends, the fruit sellers in Covent Garden, don’t believe his death was an accident and come to Maisie Dobbs, daughter of their friend and former costermonger Frankie Dobbs, to investigate his death.
Maisie takes on the job, only too glad to be of help to her father’s pals, whom she’s known since she was a little girl. And when her assistant, Billy Beale, winds up in the hospital after a beating sustained while asking questions about the case, she’s pretty certain that her clients’ suspicions about Eddie’s death are on target.
Elegy for Eddie is a pivotal book in this award-winning series, a turning point for its protagonist. Maisie is still becoming accustomed to newfound wealth – which came to her when her mentor and friend Maurice died and left her most of his considerable estate. Maisie is always willing to use her money to help others, but in Elegy for Eddie, she’s confronted with the accusation, from a very credible source, that she may be using gifts to control other people’s lives. Maisie also realizes that she must decide what her relationship is to be with her lover, James, who wants a traditional marriage, meaning Maisie gives up her work.
The Maisie Dobbs books are wonderful … it’s one series I collect in hardcover. I just want to own them. Elegy for Eddie is number nine, and it’s just about time for me to go back to #1 and read some of the early ones again. It’s that kind of series.