Maisie Dobbs by Jaqueline Winspear

A Bookish Observation

Maisie Dobbs Mysteries #Book 1

Purchased from Amazon.com; Format eBook for Kindle

ISBN 1569473307; Published July 1 2003; Publisher Soho Press

The book, Maisie Dobbs, was suggested by a book blogger, Alyce of “At Home With Books” and her suggestion proved to be an excellent recommendation.

The author, Jacqueline Winspear was born in the UK and lives in the US. Maisie Dobbs is Jacqueline’s first novel and her book won several awards and gained many positive reviews.  It is the first of a series. Nine books have been written so far.

The story is set in the UK just before, during and after the First World War and follows the journey of a young woman plucked from her lowly beginnings by her wealthy employer and mentored by an elderly philosopher detective type character named Maurice Blanche. Maisie has proved to have a high degree of intelligence and diligence. Very early in the story we are introduced to Maisie and soon we can see she is going to be an interesting character and we can also see the author’s writing style is clear, enjoyable and leads us forward in such a way that we want to know more.

The backdrop of the story gives us an insight into how life was for British society in the early 20th century and how World War One was a catalist for a new social order, a social leveller. The war, as wars do, disrupted society to such a point whereby people from the lower classes were able to break through social barriers. Prior to the war, the Women’s Suffrage Movement had fought hard for female civil rights and gained a degree of freedom for the coming generations. During and after the war people of influence commenced opening doors for women that had been previously closed. Maisie’s character demonstrated pluck and an intelligence attracting the attention of a benefactor who helped her become an independant woman with her own Detective Agency.

Written in the third person, the narrative is sprinkled throughout with quotes of wisdom similar to Wilkie Collin’s Moonstone and Daniel de Foe’s Robinson Crusoe.  Here is an example of a quote that particularly drew my attention:

only when we have a respect for time will we have learned something of the art of living“.

I found myself highlighting several phrases as I moved forward in the story.

A smile remained with me for the whole book because I really like the character, a caring, honourable intelligent woman who loved learning and books. The back-story appealed very much to me because it seemed to be very well researched and real. For me, learning something while I’m being entertained by good story telling is the very best of reading experiences.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good well written cozy mystery set in the UK. Maisie’s story is written in a contemporary style resulting in language that is easily understood and involves a plot that moves the story along at a comfortable pace.

So all you lovers of comfortable interesting mysteries with good characters.  Try this one.  I think you will enjoy it.