Maisie Dobbs

Reading Circle

Maisie Dobbs is a Jacqueline Winspear novel. The first in a series of now thirteen novels. This series is set in the inter-war years, but this first novel includes lengthy background that begins before the Great War and covers Maisie’s childhood. The story is a first person narrative, giving the reader an unfettered view of the titular character’s mind. Hers is a sober intellect that hints of a past. We begin with her first day on the job. It is 1929 and Maisie has opened shop as a psychologist / investigator in London’s fashionable west-end. Her first client is a well-to-do husband who suspects his wife of infidelity. It all sounds rather tawdry and droll, but before taking the case she extracts several promises to ensure that no matter the outcome some good will come of her efforts. As the investigation progresses we learn more about Maisie. She was a nurse during the war and the caretaker of her office building was a wounded soldier whom she helped by saving his leg. Theirs is a friendship that has sidekick written all over it. She quickly solves the question of the man’s wife, only to reveal a greater mystery. I dare not say much more, for fear of revealing too much and spoiling the story. I love stories from this period, in-between the two world wars. The characters have already endured horrible tragedies, but find themselves inexorably driven towards something much worse. In this first novel we don’t get there, but simply by reading the titles of subsequent stories in the series you know that is where we are all heading. I look forward to a lovely summer of beach reading.

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