“Maisie Dobbs” by Jacqueline Winspear

Title: Maisie Dobbs
Series: Maisie Dobbs, #1
Author: Jacqueline Winspear
ISBN: 9780142004333
Pages: 320
Release date: May 25, 2004
Publisher: Penguin
Genre: Fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: TLC Book Tours
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Maisie Dobbs is setting up a new business in 1929 London, and she’s got her work cut out for her. She’s putting her years of private investigative training to work and opening up shop as P.I.

Maisie offers her clients a different service than they may expect—indeed, than they think they want. She relies upon intuition, meditation, psychology, and a good dose of common sense. When Christopher Davenham contacts her about a new case, Maisie cuts to the heart of his unease after a single conversation: “He talks about pride when it’s his heart that’s aching.”

She agrees to investigate where Dunham’s wife, Celia, has been going during the day, and when she does, she uncovers a series of wounds—both Celia’s and her own.

Maisie is an ideal investigator: “She had spent much of her life out of bounds, living and speaking where, according to some, she had no business.”

Maisie began working as a servant from a young age, but her intellect and ambition make her stand out from the rest of the household—not always in a good way. As Enid, another servant, tells her:

“[W]hat you’ve got to remember, Dobbsie, is that there’s them upstairs, and there’s us downstairs. There’s no middle, never was. So the likes of you and me can’t just move up a bit, if that’s what you think. We’ve got to jump, Dobbsie, and bloody ‘igh to boot!”

Jump Maisie does. Her employer recognizes Maisie’s intelligence and aptitude to work hard, and introduces her to her mentor, a private investigator.

I expected this to be a somewhat unusual detective novel. But even with that in mind, I was surprised about several of the book’s turns.

I learned a lot about class differences in pre- and post-WWI England; in a way, it reminded me of Downton Abbey. I was also surprised by Maisie’s wisdom and her ability to distance herself from a problem in order to solve it. There were several passages that I underlined to savor later:

– “[O]nly when we have respect for time will we ever have learned something of the art of living.”

– There was something healing in this ritual of making a comfortable place for the dead.

– “Allow the past to have a voice. Then it will be stilled.”

Yet I was also intrigued by how many layers there are to Maisie. She’s a complex character, and I found myself wanting to read more about her. Luckily, there are several more books in this series!

Interested? Read it for yourself! Buy Maisie Dobbs from an independent bookstore or Amazon (Kindle edition).

I receive a very, very small commission when you purchase the book through the above links. Thank you for helping to support my site–and my book addiction!

Don’t just take my word for it. Check out what other reviewers on the tour have been saying!

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