Thursday, February 22, 2007

Maisie Dobbs

Jacqueline Winspear's unassuming heroine Maisie Dobbs stars as the detective/psychologist of these mysteries. I've read the first two: Maisie Dobbs, and Birds of a Feather, and have started the third, Pardonable Lies (with the fourth waiting in my current stack of unread library books) .

I'm only an intermittent mystery reader. I rarely think to pick one up but every now and then someone will recommend one, which I almost always really enjoy reading, and then I think to myself, "Why don't I read mysteries more often?" So I'm glad Sarah recommended these (thanks, S!)

So far I've really enjoyed getting to know Maisie. She's a former "tweenie" or in between maid -bottom rung as far as the household staff went in grand old English homes- whose progressive employer noticed her intelligence and took Maisie under her wing. Her employer sent her to college but when the Great War broke out Maisie went to France as a nurse, an experience that scarred her physically and emotionally but makes her uniquely qualified for her work. Maisie is an investigator but also a psychologist who specialize in bringing healing to broken relationships and refuses to see a case closed without some sort of emotional resolution for her clients and others involved.

The Great War is the dominant theme of these books. Winspear had a grandfather who was wounded in WWI and she's obviously fascinated by the effects that the "War to End All Wars" had on society and individuals. Along with the issues of place and belonging that Maisie struggles with in the changing postwar class system this makes for interesting reading. The historical aspect is as enjoyable as the mysteries, if not more.


Sarah said...

There's a fourth one now? Thanks, J!

jess said...

Yup, the 3rd was so dark though, that I needed a break, so I haven't started it yet. I'm reading light dragon fiction instead, review to be posted when I'm awake enough to finish it. :)