Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Birds of a Feather

Birds of a Feather Jacqueline Winspear

This is the second book in the Maisie Dobbs series. Maisie's new client is a very wealthy businessman. Having worked his way up from the bottom, he now owns a national chain of upscale supermarkets. His socialite daughter has gone missing. Charlotte has run away before, but Mr. Waite would like her brought home before the press gets ahold of it, which is why he contacted Maisie.

When Maisie starts digging, she finds very conflicting views of Charlotte. She also discovers that her school friends are turning up dead, and they shared a terrible secret. The case is no longer simple.

Along the way, Billy's up to something strange and Maisie must deal with a change in the relationship with her father.

Since we got Maisie's backstory in the first book, this one doesn't have the same flash-back dual narrative. Winspear instead adds several subplots, but none of these hold the same tension as Maisie's backstory and so it didn't flow in the same way and some parts dragged a bit.

That said, I did still really like it. I think it's a wonderful look at how long the scars of war (both visible and invisible) last. We so rarely see something that examines how a nation and society at large continues to be affected by something like WWI. And while these books aren't about the war, they really are about the effects of it. We also start to see how the worsening economy at the start of the Depression is playing out in London.

I also enjoyed the mystery itself. It quickly becomes apparent that something else is going on besides a petulant daughter running away but it takes several twists and turns before Maisie (or the reader) can figure out where it's going. Both Charlotte and her father are difficult characters to understand and decipher, which makes their actions (and therefore the mystery) more layered than they initially appear.

I'm very much looking forward to reading the next one in the series

Book Provided by... my local library

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