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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