Title: Maisie Dobbs
Author: Jacqueline Winspear
Release Date: July 1, 2003
Publisher: Penguin Books
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4 out of 5
Maisie Dobbs is a gifted woman with a keen intellect, and she decides to go into work for herself as a private investigator, even though that type of thing was rarely done by single women in the 1920s and 30s. Her first case seems like simple infidelity, but as she pursues it, she realizes the truth is actually much more complicated and Maisie is forced to recall her days as a nurse during the Great War.
Maisie Dobbs is a series I’ve been wanting to read for a long time, so I found the perfect excuse when I signed up for Book Club Girl’s Maisie Dobbs readalong. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to fully keep up with the schedule (one book every two weeks or so), but I enjoyed the first one enough to say that I definitely want to at least try!
While Maisie Dobbs does have mystery elements and an arc running through the book, it’s definitely much more of a historical fiction novel. While the book does start out with Maisie setting up her private investigator business and getting her first clients, it flashes back to show how a common girl from the working classes could achieve such success. It continues through Maisie’s years as a nurse during World War I, and Winspear does an amazing job conveying the horror and chaos of the war, as well as its aftermath. The reader can clearly see how the war destroyed almost an entire generation of young men in England.
Maisie herself is resourceful and smart, and she makes a wonderful protagonist for this series. She is compassionate and genuinely cares about the people she tries to help. Being from the working class herself, she treats everyone with respect and tries to do right by the people around her. Maisie is very appealing, and I look forward to getting to know her better in future novels.
Maisie Dobbs is a wonderful start to what I’m sure will be a very engaging and entertaining series. I’m looking forward to starting on the next one, Birds of a Feather. I enjoyed the historical fiction elements of the book, and while I do hope the mystery arcs play a more central role in future novels, I’ll be happy to read them either way.