Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear – Book Review

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
Published by Penguin Books
Book 1 in the series

What do you get when you take one very bright housemaid in early 20th century England, educate her within an inch of her life, and give her some Sherlock Holmes-style training in solving crimes? Why Maisie Dobbs, of course!

Respectful and polite, Maisie is very much a product of her time. Winspear balances very well the line of having an independent heroine who is not overly modern. We begin the book with Maisie setting up shop with her own agency, but the majority of action in this first book in the series is actually comprised of backstory, ranging from the time she first began to work for Lady Rowan Compton, to her time at university, finally to her time as a nurse during World War I.

I must say, there was a bit too much backstory for me. I would have preferred to either start the series when Maisie was just 13 or 14 and gaining employment, or to have the backstory spread out over more books. Particularly because the backstory in which I was most interested – that of her apprenticeship with her mentor Maurice Blanche – was not covered in this book.

Still, Maisie was an engaging and charming character. I have every intention of continuing the series, I just hope that the next books have more action in Maisie’s present.

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Source: library.
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7 comments to Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear – Book Review

  • It’s been several years since I’ve read this book, but I remember really enjoying it. It does have an almost “liesurely” pace as the story unfolds. Great review!

  • I swear, I think all of you decide to gang up on us at once! The Maisie reviews are running rampant!

  • I have a friend who has been raving about this series for a few months. I really need to pick up the first one soon!

  • Started this a year ago and mostly enjoyed it — but once I stopped I couldn’t get back into it. Maybe because all the backstory-ness? I also found her still oddly modern even if the details were historically accurate (like the meditation/yoga thing). Still, the series is going strong so I may just give it another stab!

  • I enjoyed the backstory in this one, but I’m happy to report the second one, which I liked even more, is firmly rooted in the present and has a more compelling mystery. I’m looking forward to reading the third one soon too!

    • You mean you started the series, or just this book? I recently finished the second book, and I liked it a lot more, far less backstory, and I don’t remember a mention of the yoga thing in the second book (that was a bit odd).

  • I’m glad you want to stick with the series -the action does become more present in the second book, with less backstory. Thanks for being on the read-along!