Maisie Dobbs Jacqueline Winspear
Maisie Dobbs is a private detective who uses her knowledge of human emotion and body language to help her solve her cases. She used to be the assistant and protege of the greatest in the field. He's retired and Maisie's trying to take up the mantle, which is hard when you're a woman in inter-war London.
Maisie's first case is simple enough--a man knows his wife is gone for long stretches during the day when he's at work. He worries that she's cheating on him and wants Maisie to find out what's going on. Maisie solves the case easily enough but it leads her to something deeper. The Retreat seems harmless enough--originally it was a place where men with horrible facial wounds from the war could live together and away from the stares and comments of the general public. Eventually it opened up to any WWI vet who had visible or invisible wounds from the war that made them want to get away. But something about the Retreat seems a bit off to Maisie, and so she finds a way to discover more about it.
Throughout the mystery we get Maisie's back story-- her years in service, her time at University, her apprenticeship with Maurice, her own services in the war as a nurse and the wounds she carries from that.
Oh my, how I loved it!
Regulars know I'm a sucker for anything WWI related. I also love that it really looked into the after effects of the war, especially dealing with the horrible facial wounds and scarring.
I loved how it wove Maisie's back story in with the mystery.
I loved the side characters, especially Priscilla. How can you not love a character that gives us the following line? Dear God, give me a drink that bites back and good tale of love and lust any day of the week.
Most of all, I loved Maisie herself, and how she went from a working class girl to where she is now, how she struggled with her new place in society and the effects it had on her and those around her. I also loved her struggle with her own memories and experiences of the war and how much baggage she is still carrying around.
Her way of solving the case reminded me a bit of Poirot. (Thinking things through a lot.) It reads like a cozy, but the issues it brings up are much deeper and more serious than the cozies I'm used to reading.
Luckily for me, it's a series, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest.
Book Provided by... my local library
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