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Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs (edition 2014)

by Jacqueline Winspear (Author)

Series: Maisie Dobbs (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,1942522,170 (3.83)619
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.
Title:Maisie Dobbs
Authors:Jacqueline Winspear (Author)
Info:Soho Crime (2014), Edition: 10th Anniversary ed., 336 pages
Collections:Your library

Work Information

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

  1. 70
    A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd (Anonymous user)
  2. 20
    The Return of Captain John Emmett by Elizabeth Speller (cushlareads)
  3. 10
    A Killer in King's Cove by Iona Whishaw (vancouverdeb)
    vancouverdeb: Both books/ series feature a strong female sleuth.Both sleuths served in some capacity in WW11 Britain. Wonderful cozy mysteries with a twist.
  4. 10
    An Expert in Murder by Nicola Upson (lahochstetler)
    lahochstetler: Female detectives solve mysteries centering on the devastating consequences of WWI.
  5. 10
    The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie (cransell)
  6. 00
    Gone West by Carola Dunn (cransell)
  7. 00
    Dead Man Riding by Gillian Linscott (christiguc)

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» See also 619 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 253 (next | show all)
I came into this series by reading book sixteen, The Consequences of Fear, and wanted to know more about how Maisie Dobbs became who she is. My solution to that was to read this first book in the series and then decide if I wanted to read all of the others. After reading this really sad, heartbreaking book, I read all of the book blurbs on the remainder of the books in the series and I came to the conclusion that Maisie Dobbs had the darkest, saddest life of anyone I’ve ever read. So, I’m going to skip all of those earlier books and perhaps try number eighteen when it comes out. Maybe that one will be less dark and sad.

I think, for me, this book might have suffered from having the writing be too good. Yes, I know – how can that be? I suppose it really can’t, but what I mean is – the research is so thorough and the writing so well done that you feel as if you are right there in the middle of the battlefield, or that you can actually see that terribly disfigured soldier as he tries to deal with his return to a society who really doesn’t want to see him. It just makes you feel it all – and the ending – it is one of the saddest things I’ve read.

The narrator, Rita Barrington, did a nice enough job, but it didn’t come out as a smooth steady flow of words as you’d picture a conversation. It sounded more like she was reading – which, of course, she was, but I didn’t want to hear it that way. As far as a distinct voice for each character goes – they all sounded like iterations of the narrator's natural voice. If a character spoke without identifying themselves, I wouldn’t have been able to distinguish which character it was.

The mystery in this book has to do with deaths at a ‘farm’ where returning soldiers with terrible facial disfigurement go to live so they can avoid the stares among the public. However, the mystery doesn’t take up a large portion of the book. It is a good mystery, but still, the largest portion of the book is the set-up for the series. We are introduced to Maisie’s background, family, and friends as well as showing her war experiences.

This book broke my heart and made me very sad. I actually wish I had stopped reading well before the end – maybe just after the mystery was solved – because I honestly didn’t want to see the rest. Was it realistic? Probably. Was it something I wanted to read or know? Absolutely not.

So, I would never read this book a second time, but I am glad I now know Maisie’s background. If you don’t mind gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, grossly sad books, you’ll probably enjoy the read more than I did. Still, it is well written. ( )
  BarbaraRogers | Nov 12, 2021 |
Original. Endearing. Read the series :) ( )
  bardbooks | Nov 11, 2021 |
I wish I could give 4.5 stars because this was simply wonderful. Nice mixture of history, back story and mystery :-) ( )
  knittinkitties | Aug 23, 2021 |
This was a nice, solid three-star read, not as much murdering and detecting as I'd hoped, and the prose suffered in comparison with the Pat Barker I'd read recently; however, overall, it was a pleasant reading experience.

And then the ending. I really don't know what to think about the confrontation between Maisie and the baddie... she defeats him by... really? Oh, and I wasn't really a fan of the big emotional scene at the end of the book where Maisie's pain is so much greater, apparently because her name is the one on the cover, but I'd sort of been expecting something like that. ( )
  linepainter | Aug 15, 2021 |
Such a sad and somber tone to this book set as it is in the years after World War I. ( )
  Stephen.Lawton | Aug 7, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 253 (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.

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Winspear, Jacquelineprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barrington, RitaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cassidy, OrlaghNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davidson, AndrewCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
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.
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."
... the veil that was lifted in the early hours, of the all-seeing eye that was open before the day was awake. The hours before dawn were the sacred time, before the intellect rose from slumber. At this time one's inner voice could be heard. (p. 25)
... consider the nature of a mask. We all have our masks ... (p. 223)
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This Work is the first volume of Jacqueline Winspears' "Maisie Dobbs" Series (2003). Please distinguish it from Winspear's "Mysterious Profile" of the title character, which shares the Maisie Dobbs title but was written exclusively for the Mysterious Bookshop (#25 in a Series) and published in

limited, numbered or lettered editions.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

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.

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Average: (3.83)
0.5 1
1 21
1.5 6
2 60
2.5 30
3 292
3.5 116
4 635
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