Birds of a Feather (Maisie Dobbs #2)
Author: Jacqueline Winspear
Published: January 1, 2004
Hardcover: 311 pages
Source: borrowed from the library
My Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis (from GoodReads): An eventful year has passed for Maisie Dobbs. Since starting a one-woman private investigation agency in 1929 London, she now has a professional office in Fitzroy Square and an assistant, the happy-go-lucky Billy Beale. She has proven herself as a psychologist and investigator, and has even won over Detective Inspector Stratton of Scotland Yard's Murder Squad - an admirable achievement for a woman who worked her way from servant to scholar to sleuth, and who also served as battlefield nurse in The Great War. It's now early Spring of 1930, Stratton is investigating a murder case in Coulsden, while Maisie has been summoned to Dulwich to find a runaway heiress. The woman is the daughter of Joseph Waite, a wealthy self-made man who has lavished her with privilege but kept her in a gilded cage. His domineering ways have driven her off before, and now she's bolted again. Waite's instructions are to find his daughter and bring her home. When Maisie looks into the disappearance she finds a chilling link to Stratton's murder case, and to the terrible legacy of The Great War.
My Thoughts: Continuing with the Maisie Dobbs series, I jumped into this novel with great anticipation. I really enjoyed the first book and was looking forward to reading the next book in the series. This time around, Maisie has a few more clients under her belt and is comfortable with how her business is proceeding. With her latest case, she is searching for a missing girl, but her search expands into finding a murderer who is killing a group of friends. The premise of the novel is intriguing, but the story does move a bit slowly. The historical details in the book are wonderful and it's clear that Winspear has done her research into this time period. The way she describes the fashion of the time is fantastic and I can envision what the women are wearing. However, that doesn't always help to move the book along, making it long at times.
I liked how Winspear allows World War I to still play a part in her novel, although we are ten years removed from the conflict. She conveys how deeply it affected people, even though it happened a decade before. I also liked how she centered this novel on the pain of war, in many different aspects. There is the physical pain that Maisie's assistant, Billy Beale, experiences from an old war wound. There is the pain that Maisie feels for losing her love to the war. And there is the pain that a parent feels at losing their child. It was nice to read how the pain of war can affect people in so many different ways. I cannot wait to continue with this series and see Maisie continue to grow as a character. If you are looking for a series to take up, I would recommend this one. While it is a mystery series, it's never too gory.