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Maisie Dobbs (Book 1) by Jacqueline Winspear
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Maisie Dobbs (Book 1) (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Jacqueline Winspear

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3,0121851,896 (3.85)472
Member:wstarmer
Title:Maisie Dobbs (Book 1)
Authors:Jacqueline Winspear
Info:Penguin Books (2004), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 294 pages
Collections:History & Historical Fiction, Your library
Rating:***
Tags:Fiction, Mystery, Historical Fiction

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Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (2003)

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Showing 1-5 of 186 (next | show all)
This is a book that I've kept meaning to read for a very long time, the question is why did I leave it so long! This is an excellent book and definitely sets the scene for the rest of the series. Maisie is an interesting character, especially for the time period in which it is set, and I really enjoyed finding out her back story. This book definitely brings the First World War into the forefront and its horrific ramifications. A very interesting story given this context. I definitely look forward to continuing with this story. ( )
1 vote Andrew-theQM | Aug 20, 2016 |
This is the first of Maisie Dobbs’s series of mystery novels set in 1930s Europe and for me it was a mixed bag.

First, this feels a lot like an introductory novel to the series with the mystery just an excuse. Maisie’s backstory takes up half of the novel and while interesting in its own right, I didn’t feel it added much to the mystery.
Second, the mystery is very lame. It starts our quite interesting in the first part of the novel, with WWI veterans involved. I got the feeling of a strong subject matter, an intense emotional involvement. But when the mystery starts again after Maisie’s backstory detour, it turns out to be a bit fussy and in the end not completely realistic (at least for me).
Third, although the obvious effort on the author’s part to connect the two threads, they don’t really work together for me. I could have read Maisie’s story on its own or the mystery on its own and never feel I needed the other part.

But in spite of these shortcomings, I enjoyed the story nonetheless and this is all the characters’ merit. All of them are nice and interesting… and many will appear in future novels, so this adds to my feeling of an introductory story. The author has a gift for creating vignettes, which are often amusing or moving. It’s a shame she doesn’t’ seem to have the same gift fro creating a novel arc… at least not in this first novel.

But overall, a pleasant reading.
( )
  JazzFeathers | Jul 27, 2016 |
This book seemed very slow to me. It is more like 2 1/2 stars. It wasn't until the last 50 pages or so that the story picked up. The writing seems very elementary. ( )
  borealis07 | Jul 11, 2016 |
The blurb on the back cover, comparing Maisie Dobbs to Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, gave me expectations that just weren't met. The charm of Precious Ramotswe was not to be found in Maisie Dobbs. Both the 1929 storyline and the very lengthy backstory of 1910 - 1917 told what Maisie was (smart, determined) and what she did (worked hard, felt hunches) but I didn't get much of a feel for who Maisie was as a person. At first the 1910 - 1917 flashback seemed unrelated to the 1929 mystery but they were nicely woven together at the end. ( )
  wandaly | Jun 30, 2016 |
I really enjoyed the characters in this story. They were well-thought out and well-developed. I also enjoyed the mystery aspect. The resolution was played out quite nicely. My main complaint about it is the choppiness of the story. The author shifts from one point to the other without transitioning it enough for my liking. She figured it out by the end of the novel and it did get better for me.
( )
  jguidry | May 31, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 186 (next | show all)
A strong protagonist and a lively sense of time and place carry readers along, and the details lead to further thought and understanding about the futility and horror of war, as well as a desire to hear more of Maisie. This is the beginning of a series, and a propitious one at that.
added by khuggard | editSchool Library Journal
 
For a clever and resourceful young woman who has just set herself up in business as a private investigator, Maisie seems a bit too sober and much too sad.
 
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Epigraph
Now, he will spend a few sick years in institutes,
And do what things the rules consider wise,
And take whatever pity may dole.
Tonight he noticed how the women's eyes
Passed from him to the strong men that were whole.
How cold and late it is! Why don't they come
And put him to bed? Why don't they come?

Final verse "Disabled" by Wilfred Owen. It was drafted at Craiglockhart, a hospital for shell-shocked officers, in October 1917. Owen was killed on November 4, 1918, just one week before the armistice.
Dedication
This book is dedicated to the memory of my paternal grandfather and my maternal grandmother.

JOHN "JACK" WINSPEAR sustained serious leg wounds during the Battle of the Somme in July 1916. Following convalescence, he returned to his work as a costermonger in southeast London.

CLARA FRANCES CLARK, nee Atterbury, was a munitions worker at the Woolwich Arsenal during the First World War. She was partially blinded in an explosion that killed several girls working in the same section alongside her. Clara later married and became the mother of ten children.
First words
Even if she hadn't been the last person to walk through the turnstile at Warren Street tube station, Jack Barker would have noticed the tall, slender woman in the navy blue, thigh-length jacket with a matching pleated skirt short enough to reveal a well-turned ankle.
Quotations
In seeking to fill your mind, I omitted to instruct you in the opposite exercise. This small book is for your daily writings, when the day is newborn and before you embark upon the richness of study and intellectual encounter. My instruction, Maisie, is to simply write a page each day. There is no set subject, save that which the waking mind has held close in sleep.
"Lord Compton has received word from the War Office that our horses are to be inspected for service this week.... I *cannot* let them go. I don't want to be unpatriotic, but they are my hunters." ... "Lady Compton. Our sympathies. The country needs one hundred and sixty-five thousand horses, but we need them to be fit, strong and able to be of service on the battlefield."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142004332, Paperback)

Hailed by NPR’s Fresh Air as part Testament of Youth, part Dorothy Sayers, and part Upstairs, Downstairs, this astonishing debut has already won fans from coast to coast and is poised to add Maisie Dobbs to the ranks of literature’s favorite sleuths.

Maisie Dobbs isn’t just any young housemaid. Through her own natural intelligence—and the patronage of her benevolent employers—she works her way into college at Cambridge. When World War I breaks out, Maisie goes to the front as a nurse. It is there that she learns that coincidences are meaningful and the truth elusive. After the War, Maisie sets up on her own as a private investigator. But her very first assignment, seemingly an ordinary infidelity case, soon reveals a much deeper, darker web of secrets, which will force Maisie to revisit the horrors of the Great War and the love she left behind.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:18 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Private detective Maisie Dobbs must investigate the reappearance of a dead man who turns up at a cooperative farm called the Retreat that caters to men who are recovering their health after World War I.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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