Maisie Dobbs

A Novel

Winspear, Jacqueline

Book - 2003
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Maisie Dobbs
She started as a maid in an aristocratic London household; studied her way into prestigious Girton College at Cambridge; then became a front-line nurse in World War I. There she found - and lost - an important part of herself. Now she has set up on her own as a private investigator, one who has learned that coincidences are meaningful. And Fate brings her a case that will force her to confront the ghost that has haunted her for over ten years. 'A welcome addition to the sleuthing scene' - Elizabeth George, author of I, Richard 'A rare treat for mystery fans' - Charles Todd

Publisher: New York : Soho Press, c2003.
ISBN: 1569473307
Characteristics: 294 p. ;,22 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jan 07, 2015

I was born in 1940 and my father was in the first war in 1917. He never spoke a word about it. Mom told us children he was an ambulance runner who, wounded on the battlefield, lay there for over two days. He could hardly breathe and died when I was 15. I was always sad and in reading these books, I think it was in my DNA. War effects the coming generations. Even today soldiers experience PST.

Sep 10, 2014
  • JCLAmyF rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Set a few years after the Great War has ended, Maisie is just setting up her investigation business and getting a few clients as a sole businesswoman. This book has a big old flashback to Maisie's later childhood and teen years, and her experience in the war.

A sober book, with very precise dialogue and characterization. Also nice attention to detail both in setting and action - for instance Maisie sometimes physically imitates the posture of someone else and then has a flash of intuition about what their state of mind is.

A unique, great mystery.

Jul 27, 2014
  • LauraSteinert rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

My Top Recommendation of 2013 for lovers of series characters!
Unless you have time to read the series, don't get this book. Except for Call the Midwife videos, I have never liked a serious character this much. I knew nothing about the era between WWI and WWII, but now I am finding it fascinating.
Maisie and her friends are fascinating; although one doubts there were such benefactors at the time, even her employer and her later-to-be business partner are interesting people--who become more interesting as you work through the series.
Maisie's father and her employee bring insight into Maisie's true nature and become more and more important with each book.
The series is a bit Sherlock Homes inspired, but far superior to the Bee Keeper's Apprentice series. Maisie, we learn, has secrets she has been keeping from us in this first novel, and not all her skills were taught by mentor or drawn from books. Part private detective procedural, part mystery, part history, part women in non-conventional roles (later book they actually put a woman in an undercover role--which the men mess up and blame her for). Yes, Maisie also looks for love--but would be MUCH more appropriate for teen readers than the sex-filled novels they usually read.

Jun 06, 2014
  • Eosos rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This book spends most of it's time giving Maisie's story and very little on the mystery itself.

Maisie is introduced as she is starting up her own personal business as an investigator. When a gentleman is referred to her by his lawyer, she becomes involved in a mystery involving a group of physically and emotionally scarred WWI vets. During the course of her investigation her own unresolved issues surface and she thinks back to how she started in her line of work and the effect the war had on her life.

This book did a fantastic job of detailing the emotional trauma of those who witnessed and experienced what the war was like and the response that they met with when they returned home. I thought the author wrote a great story of an extraordinary women and how the war effected her life. I look forward to her continuing tale.

Apr 09, 2014
  • chromybaby33 rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

This knock off Alexander McCall Smith is so boring with shallow characters and a plot so thin I had trouble identifying it I recommend a pass. On the other hand, if you enjoy touchy-feelly you might like this because Maisie goes from one hug/kiss/hand holding to another in rapid succession.

Mar 20, 2014

I have mixed feelings about this one. While it’s a strong first entry, I nearly gave up when I hit the point where—with absolutely no warning—we leap back in time to Maisie’s war experiences. It was like starting an entirely new book. By the time we picked up the original storyline again, I’d forgotten where it’d left off. And I found there to be something vaguely unsettling about Maisie. I couldn’t quite tell if she’s supposed to be psychic or if she’s merely very, very good at reading people and situations. Unsure if I will go on with this series.

Feb 24, 2014
  • hania4987 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This was an unexpected surprise ... the description is a little misleading. It's more than a run-of-the-mill detective story. About half of the book is devoted to Maisie's backstory which chronicles her childhood, education, and experiences in the Great War. In the present,1929, Maisie has now opened up a private investigation independently of her retired mentor and is pursuing a seemingly mundane case. In fact, this case reaches back to the past for everyone involved. It always amazes me when an author has the gift of bringing a historical period to life with a personalized story.

Mar 11, 2013

This book is a great start to a great series. Maisie Dobbs is a private detective in a time when women weren't in the professions or law enforcement. This series is in England (and Europe) between the World Wars with flash backs to WWI. Maisie embodies a time when the class structure in England was changing. This series connects to that time both intellectually and emotionally. She also uses unusual techniques while performing her investigations. A most unusual detective story.

Dec 17, 2012
  • LazyNeko rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Although it's classed as a mystery story, most of the book focuses on Maisie Dobb's experience of going from being in service to student at Cambridge to nurse in WWI to private detective. The actual mystery itself is serviceable, but the strength of the book is the portrayal of the devastation the war wrought on young people and their dreams.

Dec 07, 2012
  • polar_bear rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

An amazing good debut novel. The author has not only created a vivid leading character, based solidly on the back-story presented here, but has clever constructed the plot to add mystery and dynamism to the narrative. It's really not so much a mystery as the story of Maisie's early life, but the author cleverly draws it together with a two-stage crime story. I also liked the character of Billy, who was also easy to envision and a good foil for Maisie. They contrast well. There's a lot of interesting period flavor from the period around the First World War. It is reminiscent of Dorothy L. Sayers in that the story is much more than a whodunit narrative.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

Jul 27, 2014
  • LauraSteinert rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

LauraSteinert thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 12 and 99

May 12, 2010
  • johnson_3 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

johnson_3 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


Add a Quote

Dec 17, 2012
  • LazyNeko rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

"...It is interesting, Maisie, how a time of war can give a human being purpose. Especially when that purpose, that power, so to speak, is derived from something so essentially evil."


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add a Notice

There are no notices for this title yet.

Find it at CLEVNET