Maisie Dobbs did something few women in the early 20th century were ever able to do. She rose from tradesman's daughter to Cambridge student to self-employed businesswoman. Thanks to pluck, determination, and smarts mixed with a bit of luck and years of hard work, Maisie is ready to rent an office in London and set up her practice as a professional investigator.
For her first solo case, Maisie agrees to help a man who is sure his wife has been unfaithful to him. Despite all her careful planning, Maisie is unprepared for the long-reaching effects this case will have on her own life, dredging up memories of her field nursing days in war-torn France and her own set of might-have-beens.
In Maisie Dobbs, Jacqueline Winspear introduces readers to one of the most endearing heroines to star in a cozy mystery series and sets the stage for more adventures to come. The mystery itself is less important in this first novel than is getting to know Maisie: how she came to be an investigator, the people who helped her along the way, her personality, and her own life experiences.
In 1929, the Great War is long over but not everyone has found peace: soldiers, medics, and other military personnel had few resources for dealing with shell-shock, disfigurement, and the loss of loved ones. Maisie and her acquaintances are not immune, and the shadow of the war permeates the novel. But Maisie is a practical young lady, and although she hasn't faced all of her demons, she is forward looking and resourceful and tries to stay positive.
Winspear has created a set of characters that will find a place in your heart, and you'll be reaching for the second Maisie Dobbs novel almost immediately. Maisie Dobbs will appeal to readers who like cozy mysteries, great characters, England between the wars, and strong female protagonists.
I listened to the unabridged audiobook (BBC America; 10 hr) read by Rita Barrington who did a great job keeping my attention and bringing the proper British flair to the novel. Barrington's pacing and subtle characterizations add to the enjoyment of the novel. A recommended audio.
Give it to me quickly: Travel to 1920s London to meet Maisie Dobbs, a resourceful, spunky, no-nonsense private investigator who solves her first professional case and comes to terms with her wartime experiences; moving yet fun and completely engaging.
Maisie Dobbs won multiple awards, including the Agatha Award for Best First Novel in 2003. For more on Jacqueline Winspear, visit her website.
Published by Soho Press, 2003 / Penguin, 2004
Source: Bought (see review policy)
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