Thursday, November 17, 2011

Review: Maisie Dobbs

This is a rags-to-riches and detective story wrapped into one. Maisie Dobbs is a plucky but poor young woman. When she enters servitude her employers become her benefactors, leading her to a career as a detective. Wen Maisie sets up her own agency an infidelity case leads her to something far more curious- a commune for former soldiers where residents seem to die under mysterious circumstances.

The specter of the First World War looms large in this book. Though set in 1929 memories and experiences of war infuse everyone and everything. Maisie is shaped by her experiences as a battlefield nurse, and we learn that wartime experiences have shaped her personal life as much as her professional life. Ten years after Versailles the wounds of war, both physical and emotional, have far from healed. As Maisie investigates the soldiers' commune, the war is at the center of the experience.

This is a well-done historical mystery, both engaging and well-written.

Jacqueline Winspear, Maisie Dobbs (Penguin, 2004) ISBN: 0142004332

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