Author: Jacqueline Winspear
Published: July 1, 2003
Hardcover: 294 pages
Source: borrowed from the library
My Rating: 4 stars
Synopsis (from GoodReads): Lady Rowan Compton first met Maisie when, at thirteen, she went into service as a maid at her ladyship’s Belgravia mansion. A suffragette, Lady Rowan took the remarkably smart youngster under her wing and became her patron. She encouraged Maisie to study at Cambridge, and was aided in this by Maurice Blanche, a friend often retained as an investigator by the elite of Europe when discretion and results were required. It was he who first recognized Maisie’s intuitive gifts. The outbreak of war changed everything. Maisie left for France to train as a nurse, then served at the front, where she fell in love with a handsome young doctor. After the Armistice, in the spring of 1929, Maisie hangs out her shingle:M. Dobbs, Trade and Personal Investigations. Her very first case involves suspected infidelity but turns up something else, a tombstone with only a first name—Vincent. And then she finds another. The deceased had lived on a cooperative farm called The Retreat, a well-regarded convalescent refuge for those grievously wounded in the war, ex-soldiers too shattered to resume normal life. When Lady Rowan’s son makes plans to join the reclusive community, Maisie hurriedly investigates and finds a disturbing mystery at its core whose resolution gives her the courage to confront the ghost that has haunted her for ten years.
My Thoughts: When I first heard about Masie Dobbs, I was wondering around my local Borders (RIP), and saw this amazing art deco cover from a few feet away. I made a beeline towards the book to see what it was about. After reading the description and realizing that this was part of a series, I knew that it was something that I wanted to read. Now, over a year later, I'm finally getting around to it! And let me say, after finishing this book, I can't wait to continue with the rest of the series.
This is a mystery book, but not a scary, murder mystery/oh my goodness I'm too scared to fall asleep now (which is what normally happens to me when I read a mystery book). Maisie is a true detective, trying to learn why a woman goes to visit grave two days every week. It turns into an investigation that leads her to help many injured World War I vets. It's an easy read, but also very engaging. I didn't want to put it down once I started!
The book is divided into three parts: the present (which is 1929), 1910-1917, and the present (1929). You start into this investigation, then you are taken back into Maisie's past. I loved how Winspear did this. It wasn't awkward and it flowed with the rest of the story, which isn't always the case when an author does a flashback in the middle of a book. You are able to see Maisie become the woman that she is today and how she handled some of the horrific things that she has seen.
The characters were fantastic, the plot intriguing, the writing well done. To say that I cannot wait to continue with this series would be an understatement!