Thursday 28 February 2019

Maisie Dobbs

I posted this brief review in my 'Books Read in February' post earlier today, but when I tried to list it on the Calendar of Crime review page it gave me every pic in that post to choose from except 'Maisie Dobbs'. So I'm blogging it separately and hopefully it will now work.

This book was a reread for me from at least ten years ago. I hadn't been all that smitten with it back then but during a blog chat with Judith from Reader in the Wilderness about the series I decided to give it another go, given how popular it is with a lot of people. Basically, Maisie Dobbs has set up a private detective agency after serving in WW1 as a nurse and going to Cambridge university. She has a very humble background but was sponsored by Lady Rowan Compton when she was caught reading in the library in the middle of the night, something maids were obviously not supposed to do. The Great War interupts her studies at Cambridge. Maisie goes to The Front to be a nurse where she falls in love with a doctor. What happens there, how Maisie subsequently sets up her agency and conducts her first case is the subject of the book.

I have to say I enjoyed it much more than the first time around. So much seemed unlikely back then, such as a member of the peerage sponsoring a maid, but perhaps I'm less critical these days: more accepting. Whatever... I'd forgotten how good the book is on nursing in WW1, the full horror is there, particularly as regards the facial injuries of some wounded soldiers. I wouldn't call this a murder mystery. This is more social history with a mystery thrown in and as that it works very well. Looking at some of the upcoming books, there are 15 altogether, I find myself eager to find out what happens to Maisie so have reserved book 2, Birds of a Feather, from the library.

Maisie Dobbs qualifies for Bev's Calendar of Crime under the May category 'Military figure has major role'... in fact there are two or three in the book. It also qualifies for Becky's World at War challenge under the category 'A fiction book set in the 1920s'.



Judith said...

Hi Cath,
Thanks so much for the mention.
And I'm glad you had a better experience on the second go-round with Maisie Dobbs.
A very good introduction of the book, by the way.
I think I may have mentioned that I've recently purchased Book Five. (Can't remember the title right now.) But I do know I'd like to read it this year. That sends me back to the 2019 Reading Calendar I'm creating.
Our winter continues to be bitter cold. Below zero F readings in the am, continued snow on a regular basis, but I really don't mind. I will mind if it's still doing this in April, however!

Cath said...

My pleasure, Judith.

Thank you, I was taken aback by how much I enjoyed it. And I think I liked it even more for it not being purely a murder story. To be honest, I can't wait for book 2 to come in to the library (I've reserved it) so I can get going with it.

Very difficult when you have so many books on your tbr pile that you really want to read. I look at mine every day, take one out that I 'must get to'... often put it back the next day and pull out another! Your idea of a reading calendar is a good one. I don't think I could keep to it for a whole year but am finding that putting half a dozen or so 'possible reads' on my end of month posts is actually quite a good motivator. I read 4 of them in January, 2 of them in February. Will try to do a little better in March.

Love hearing about your freezing winters. We've had an exceptionally mild and very sunny February, but March has arrived and we're back to damp and gloomy again.

Always enjoy chatting to you so thanks for your comments.

Kay said...

Cath, I read this book a long while back too. Probably about the same time you did. My experience with it was good enough, but somehow I never read on in the series. I think I wasn't very interested in the time period then. More so now. I'll keep your 2nd experience in mind. I have been rereading several books lately and enjoying that very much.

Cath said...

Kay, now you're the second person to say that, Margaret was the other but she has read a few later books. Something about book 2 not sounding very interesting maybe. We'll see as I have the book on reserve at the library. It seems my experience with 'trying again' with a series is usually a complete reversal of my opinion.