Synopses & Reviews
Maisie entered domestic service in 1910 at the age of thirteen, to work as a maid at the Belgravia mansion of Lady Rowan Compton. When her remarkable intelligence and innate love of learning are discovered by her employer, Maisie becomes the pupil of Maurice Blanche, a learned friend of the Comptons who is often retained by Europe's elite, and the police, to conduct discreet investigations.
Eventually, Maisie enters Girton College at Cambridge University, but the escalation of World War I intervenes to change her plans. She serves as a nurse at the front and falls in love with a handsome young doctor, only to lose him.
In 1929, following an apprenticeship assisting Blanche iin his work, Maissie hangs out her shingle: M. DOBBS, TRADE AND PERSONAL INVESTIGATIONS. She soon becomes enmeshed in a mystery suurrounding The Retreat, a reclusive community of veterans wounded in body and spirit. At first, Maisie only suspects foul play, but she must act quickly when Lady Rowan's son decides to sign away his fortune and take refuge at The Retreat. A coincidence? Maisie has learned that coincidences can lead to the truth, and hurriedly investigates The Retreat. She uncovers a disturbing mystery at its core which in an astonishing denouemment, gives Maisie the courage to confront the ghost that has haunted her for over ten years.
"Winspear rarely attempts to elevate her prose past the common romance, and what might have been a journey through a strata of England between the wars is instead just simple, convenient and contrived. Prime candidate for a TV movie." Kirkus Reviews
"From its dedication to the author's paternal grandfather and maternal grandmother...to its powerful conclusion, this is a poignant and compelling story....Winspear writes in simple, effective prose...handling human drama with compassionate sensitivity while skillfully avoiding cloying sentimentality. At the end, the reader is left yearning for more....Highly recommended." Library Journal (Starred Review)
"[An] inspired debut novel, a delightful mix of mystery, war story and romance set in WWI-era England...Winspear [is] a new writer to watch." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Deft...Prepare to be astonished at the sensitivity and wisdom with which Maisie resolves her first professional assignment...Winspear takes her through her ordeal with great compassion." Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
The first in the brilliant crime series set in 1920s London and the Great War. Maisie Dobbs is a young, feisty private detective with wisdom and experience. Well-rounded story with a gripping case and moving scenes of the war.
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.
About the Author
This is the first novel by Jacqueline Winspear, who was born and raised in England. After a career in publishing there, she and her husband settled in California in 1990.