Book Review: Maisie Dobbs

Maisie Dobbs by Jaqueline Winspear. Reviewed by Louise Hilton.

If you’re in the mood for a great historical mystery, look no further than Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear, the first in a series featuring the titular heroine, a spirited private investigator in post-WWI London. The novel follows Maisie on her very first investigation, a seemingly cut-and-dry infidelity case, that leads her to untangle a sinister web of lies and obliges her to face her past.

Armed with fierce intelligence and tenacity, Maisie works her way up from a position as a maid in a wealthy household as a teenager to a Cambridge University student. During her time at university, war erupts on the European continent, and Maisie, determined to do her part for the war effort, joins the Voluntary Aid Detachment as a nurse and is sent to the front lines in war-torn France. Her present-day investigation involves a mysterious rest home for soldiers affected with post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological and physical wounds. Winspear expertly interweaves Maisie’s back-story and her current investigation to make for a great suspenseful read.

While Maisie Dobbs and subsequent books in the series serve as a window on a specific time in History, Winspear also raises issues that affect us today such as living in a time of economic hardship and the problems veterans face upon returning to civilian society.

I recommend this series not only for people who like historical mysteries but for those looking for a compelling story, mystery lovers or not.  The Library owns all of the Maisie Dobbs novels, so check out Birds of a Feather and Pardonable Lies, the second and third in the series.  The latest installment, Elegy for Eddie, will be released this spring, so be sure to check your local library for it!

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