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Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs Series #1)

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

A Rare Treat

I recommend this book to everyone. Classified as a mystery, it transends any one genre with its psychological and spiritual overtones, class struggle, and battlefield scenes woven nicely into the dire circumstances of WWI Europe. And, oh yes, there is a mystery to be so...
I recommend this book to everyone. Classified as a mystery, it transends any one genre with its psychological and spiritual overtones, class struggle, and battlefield scenes woven nicely into the dire circumstances of WWI Europe. And, oh yes, there is a mystery to be solved. Jackie Winspear has created a believable,admirable character in Maisie Dobbs. The reader pulls for her while racing through the well-crafted story. Maisie Dobbs should move right to the bestseller list along with The Secret Life of Bees and The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Winspear was nominated for an Edgar, and won an Agatha for Maisie Dobbs. I'm looking forward to her next book, Birds of A Feather.

posted by Anonymous on May 28, 2004

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Great Book Club selection

Being the first it was loaded with back ground info on the characters. I would highly recommended starting with this book. That said World War 1 is such a large part of this book and for me the best part of the book. I wonder if the author has made her Psychologist an...
Being the first it was loaded with back ground info on the characters. I would highly recommended starting with this book. That said World War 1 is such a large part of this book and for me the best part of the book. I wonder if the author has made her Psychologist and Investigator business interesting enough for Maisie books to keep me buying. She is the perfect daughter, friend and associate that you just go ho-hum she's visiting again. I recommended it for a book club because there is so much to talk about and it would be one of those book you like or don't like. Makes for a lively discussion but Maisie herself does not interest me enough to read another.

posted by zarea on March 10, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2004

    A Rare Treat

    I recommend this book to everyone. Classified as a mystery, it transends any one genre with its psychological and spiritual overtones, class struggle, and battlefield scenes woven nicely into the dire circumstances of WWI Europe. And, oh yes, there is a mystery to be solved. Jackie Winspear has created a believable,admirable character in Maisie Dobbs. The reader pulls for her while racing through the well-crafted story. Maisie Dobbs should move right to the bestseller list along with The Secret Life of Bees and The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Winspear was nominated for an Edgar, and won an Agatha for Maisie Dobbs. I'm looking forward to her next book, Birds of A Feather.

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2011

    Very Highly Recommended

    I first noticed Ms. Winspear when the last book in this series, so far, was atop the best sellers list. I bought the first in the series, read it, loved it and immediately purchased the entire remaining set. I couldn't recommend it more highly. I knew a lot about the conditions in Germany between the World Wars but very little, as it turns out, about the conditions in England. Ms. Winspear's meticulous research and historically accurate depiction of life in England during that period makes the books worth reading for that reason alone. That they are also outstanding mysteries with that compelling can't-put-down quality is an amazing bonus. There are few authors who I buy in hardcover, preferring to wait for the paperback but Ms. Winspear is now among that elite list for me, when she publishes, I want the book NOW. The vernacular takes some getting used to but it in no way detracts from the story or the history. Wonderful reading.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Like a dose of Masterpiece Theatre!

    I'm not one for mysteries and not one for serials. I purchased this one to send to my mom, but as I was looking for an easy read and this one was in reach I cracked it open to take a gander. Well, it was a pleasant surprise! It didn't take long before I found myself engrossed in the life of Maisie Dobbs.

    As this is the first in the Maisie Dobbs series, it was light on the mystery and heavy on the "set up" and history for the series (which could be why I liked it so much). It also felt like I was reading an episode of Masterpiece Theatre--which I absolutely love. Maisie seems like somone I would have as a friend and Winspear's writing gave me strong images of WWI post-WWI England. Finally, the last two pages had me sobbing like a baby. Kudos Winspear for such a lovely story! I look forward to book #2.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 12, 2010

    Maisie Dobbs, Boring Lady Detective

    I'd heard much about Maisie Dobbs so I decided to buy the first book in the series. Ick. Perhaps the subsequent novels in this series are more interesting because this book is lacking in plot, character, and dialogue. I can't find anything to hold my interest. Maisie, while having many superior qualities, is so boring and humor-free that she never comes alive to me as a person. She is just words on a page. None of the characters are interesting and I am sick of the oft-quoted advice of Maisie's detective tutor, Marice. His homilies and quips are annoying. The plot is lacking too. I have no interest in why the dead soldier is buried with just his first name on a tomb. That's not a very compelling plot. I have given up on the book because it's just so mind-numbingly boring. Life is too short to read bad books.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 10, 2009

    Great Book Club selection

    Being the first it was loaded with back ground info on the characters. I would highly recommended starting with this book. That said World War 1 is such a large part of this book and for me the best part of the book. I wonder if the author has made her Psychologist and Investigator business interesting enough for Maisie books to keep me buying. She is the perfect daughter, friend and associate that you just go ho-hum she's visiting again. I recommended it for a book club because there is so much to talk about and it would be one of those book you like or don't like. Makes for a lively discussion but Maisie herself does not interest me enough to read another.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 20, 2011

    Once You Meet Maisie...

    Once you meet Maisie, you won't be happy until you've read as much of her story as has yet been told. This first entry in Winspear's series (now up to #8, with #9 in the wings) is an excellent beginning to a totally delightful series. We meet Maisie as an early teenager who enters domestic service when her family falls on hard times just before the outbreak of WWI. By dent of her own hard work and some extraordinary good luck, she manages to achieve an education and resulting independence, while solving mysteries along the way. The series is filled with intresting, well-developed characters and a good backdrop of England between the World Wars. Maisie's approach to solving cases reflects the growing interest in "alienists" (pyschologists) and foreshadows today's use of behaviorial analysis in crime solving. Her detection is thoughtful in every sense of the word, and it is spiced up with some wonderful moments of droll humor.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2003

    Looking forward to more Maisie Dobbs

    Winspear has succeeded in making something new out of the mystery novel... the mystery behind the plot draws you in and keeps you turning the pages but this book also has soul. This originality comes through in its exploration of the ethics, almost the spirituality, that underlie the profession of private investigator. In a highly original combination, Winspear works Buddhism, philosophy, feminism, the history of WWI, and an ideal of personal growth into an enjoyable mystery story that not only drew me in but inspired me. Maisie Dobbs is written with a lot of heart. I'm looking forward to hearing more of her story.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 21, 2011

    Maisie Dobbs Series

    I repurchased this book because it is the first in the series. I had lent this book to a co-worker and never got it back. I really enjoy this series and I wanted a complete set. I plan on re-reading the series from beginning book to end in about 10 years. The book "Maisie Dobbs" was a find in a tiny little book store. Who knew I would be "hooked!" I am so glad I was able to buy this one again to add to my set!!!! She is a great character. The book has mystery, compassion and the hardships of war, that any of us can experience. I think if you start with the first one you will get hooked just as I did!!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2003

    Good Book!

    I recently read this book and enjoyed it very much. According to the book jacket, it is intended to be the first in a series. If so, I look forward to reading the next 'Maisie Dobbs.' The basic plot (serving girl gets educated by broad minded employer) may be a bit cliched, but given the time period and what happened to the social classes at that time, it comes off as believable. Part of what made this book interesting was the way Maisie's psychological situation was revealed to the reader.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A great start to a historical mystery series

    Maisie Dobbs takes place following World War I in London. It's an era that I didn't know much about, and so soaking in all of the atmosphere that Winspear so painstakingly researched was a revelation. Although I'm not much of a clotheshorse, I really enjoyed how the author described Maisie's clothes. My mother-in-law designs and makes antique clothes, and as I read this book, I thought of how much she would love this.

    I like how Maisie is so intelligent, yet she doesn't have all the answers. The way she mimics the posture of the person with whom she is talking to make them more comfortable with her fascinated me. Her mentor Dr. Maurice Blanche's psychological insights to Maisie, such as
    "Never follow a story with a question, Maisie, not immediately. And remember to acknowledge the storyteller, for in some way even the messenger is affected by the story he brings,"
    are illuminating, and useful to the reader.

    Maisie's straddling of two different classes of society- her father's working class and her benefactor's aristocratic one- makes for interesting conflict for her. Her father, a groom on the estate where Maisie is a maid, wants a better life for Maisie, yet fears losing her completely to her new life. Lady Rowan, her employer and benefactor, is an interesting character and I hope we get to see more of her in future books.

    And in the end, it was Enid, Maisie's fellow maid, who was the greatest influence on Maisie. Her words to Maisie about her duty to help the boys in the war effort may have had the deepest effect on Maisie's life.

    Maisie Dobbs starts in 1930, after Maisie has become a private investigator, and establishes the adult Maisie before taking us back to her childhood and the story of how Maisie got to where she is. It is a good technique because we are so invested in Maisie's adult life before we see how she got there.

    I felt that the author's take on the horrors of war resonated deeply. So much of what happened to the men and women who fought in war is universal and timeless. While techniques of war have changed greatly since World War I, the awful effects of it have not. I liked seeing war from a female point of view.

    But my favorite quote from the book has to do with reading, of course.
    "The feeling inside that she experienced when she saw the books was akin to the hunger she felt as food was put on the table at the end of the working day. And she knew she needed this sustenance as surely as her body needed fuel."
    That just might be my new Facebook quote.

    Since Maisie is a private investigator, there is a mystery to be solved, and mystery fans will be satisfied with this part of the story. But for me, the story of Maisie's life is what I felt most deeply about and I look forward to finding out more about her in the books to come.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 29, 2010

    Maisie Dobbs

    Excellent! This is a book I would re-read and that doesn't occur often. The writing reminds me of Anne Perry, in her WW1 novels, and yet Winspear has a distinctive style all her own.

    Winspear has done a beautiful job of giving her characters breadth and depth, then again, I do think the Brits do a much better job of this as they take the time to introduce us to the charcter and allow us to discover the multi-dimensional personalites.

    The plot is also multi-dimensional which gives further reason for why the characters are present. I did enjoy the handling of the time periods.

    As I have already ordered the next couple of books in this series I obviously recommend it. If the next books are as captivating as this first one then I will be delighted.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2007

    Very Unpredictable!

    Maisie Dobbs, by Jacqueline Winspear is a heart-wrenching mystery and novel written to take place during the early 1900s. I would recommend this book to some people, but if you need to keep track of things in succession, I would skip the book. It jumps around a little bit and the beginning was a slow one for me. I believe the author was trying to get across how deeply some of the soldiers were affected when the war was over. Friends and family abandoned some soldiers when they finally came home. Some soldiers were mentally traumatized whereas others had minor physical impairments, such as limps, all the way to being horribly disfigured and not recognizable by loved ones. A big part of the story is the mystery and astonishing uncovering of a veteran retreat. During that unveiling, it seemed that those men had never left the war in the first place. The book emphasizes the postponement of marriage during this time because many men, who were sent overseas, never came home alive. As time passes, it¿s easier for wounds to heal and to ignore past feelings and this story points it out, in a big way! Jacqueline was successful in presenting the hardships of broken relationships after wartime. It was mentioned more than once that family just ¿stopped visiting¿ and friends never bothered to get in touch and claimed, they too, were just so shocked and were not ready to meet up.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2003

    Thoughtful Tale of WWI

    Maisie Dobbs is an interesting, well-researched story of WWI and the aftermath. I found it very enjoyable, and hope that the author does continue with the series. Maisie is complicated and empathetic -- an unusual, likeable heroine.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2014

    Maisie Dobbs is the first book in the Maisie Dobbs series by Bri

    Maisie Dobbs is the first book in the Maisie Dobbs series by British-born American author, Jacqueline Winspear. The story starts in 1929, when thirty-two-year-old Maisie is setting up her own private investigation business. She has taken over the business of her mentor, Maurice Blanche, and is supported by her patron, Lady Rowan Compton and the very capable office caretaker, Billy Beale. Her first client is convinced his wife is being unfaithful: an easy case to solve, but it leads Maisie into a very different investigation, partly out of curiosity, and partly on behalf of Lady Compton. The novel is divided into three parts, with the middle section describing Maisie’s life from her early teens through her involvement in the Great War, a history that proves very relevant to her investigation. Winspear has created a fascinating heroine: clever, wise, considerate, philosophical, with a good knowledge of psychology and a strong intuitive endowment. Alexander McCall Smith describes Maisie Dobbs as “a real gift”. In this novel, Winspear touches on desertion, “shell shock” (perhaps better known these days as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), cowardice, disfiguring injuries and adjusting to post-war life. Maisie Dobbs was a nominee for Best Novel in the Edgar Award 2004. This historical mystery is a moving and thought-provoking read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2012

    Excellent

    Well-written, I can't wait to read the rest in the series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Mystery of the Great War

    A very well written and interesting story. I love the character of Maisie Dobbs and look forward to the next book in the series!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 28, 2011

    grreatread

    it breaks your heart to read of the suffering if the british soldiers. maisie is great y

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This book has it all

    I started reading this book with somewhat low expectations. I just thought it would be light and charming mystery, not too intense. What i found was a wonderful story filled with likable characters, a mystery, and a heartbreaking love story. So much more than i expected. I laughed and cried and to me that means a great book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2009

    One of the best

    I really enjoyed this one and promptly went to buy others in the same series. Very clever, the atmosphere was well done. The characters, I found, engaging. Have already recommended this to friends and even loaned my copy to one friend with 'strict orders' that it is to be returned.
    I read mysteries for 40+ years while I worked, raised my family, etc. then went on to romances etc. - this one brought me back to my original favorite genre.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 22, 2014

    Highly Recommend

    Well done...excellent story

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