Saturday, January 21, 2012

Maisie Dobbs - Book Review

I've been wanting to read a Maisie Dobbs mystery since my niece Anna recommended them over a year ago. I finally got a chance this week. It was a relatively short book and I expected to have it finished in a day or two. Life has been busy this week and frankly, I've used much of my available reading time to study The Book of Mormon (we're right in the middle of the Bishop's weekly challenge) and to read President Monson's biography with Utah Dad. I finally hid away last night while Utah Dad watched a movie with Amberly, and finished Maisie Dobbs.

Maisie Dobbs, by Jacqueline Winspear is a sharp, unconventional approach to the detective novel. I don't read them often and I won't pretend to be an expert. I especially enjoyed the intelligent and thoughtful way that Maisie Dobbs investigates. As a psychologist and investigator, Maisie is as concerned with the people she helps as she is with solving the case. Skilled at understanding and even manipulating the human mind, Maisie takes a sometimes subtle and careful way in getting to the truth.

Maisie Dobbs, opening her own detective agency a decade after the first World War, is hired by a man to find out if his wife is having an affair. This seemingly simple case will lead Maisie into a more dangerous investigation.

The novel did lag a bit during Maisie's back story. However, it was interesting to see where she came from and how she became a detective and what has shaped her own life. I understand that since this is the first novel in a series of Maisie Dobbs mysteries that there would probably be more of Maisie's story in this first novel. It definitely gets moving again, once Maisie gets back on the probing quest for the truth regarding The Retreat, a home for wounded veterans.

Maisie is also portrayed as squeaky, clean and sometimes dull. She loves everyone. Everyone loves her. While this is refreshing, the very ending is at a sharp contradiction with her character. It is, frankly, hard to believe that she would actually do that.

The case wasn't terribly mysterious and I had guessed at the truth early in the novel. It was fun to see how Maisie figured it out and employed her knowledge of human nature to save those in the harrowing situation.

Maisie Dobbs was an enjoyable read and I will definitely be picking up more books from the series in the future.

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