I was hopeful about this series since I like this historical period. This is the first book in a series about Maisie Dobbs; folks, it is very depressing. I did finish it but was longing for it come to the end. I investigated the plots of the rest of the Dobbs series & it seems as though the rest are depressing as well. At least, I'm not taking a chance. If I want to be depressed, I will turn on the news.
If you like Miss Marple, you'll love Maisie Dobbs. Wonderful story, great mystery, excellent narrator. Can't wait to read the next one in the series.
This is a hard review to write because I know the series gets better but this first entry was just o.k. The story was, in my opinion, disjointed. We were introduced to Masie, who is a thoroughly lovable character. The middle of the story fills in the details about how Massie came to be an inquiry agent. The end brings back the mystery which was really no mystery at all. A little disjointed but it won't stop me from reading the next installment.
The reader did a very good job. While she didn't change many voices, the voices that she did were very good and I felt that she captured the essence of Massie.
I would recommend this audiobook.
I love Maisey. Like no other fictional detective! I agree 100% with what the other reviews so far have said.
But the subject matter is so very sad. It works for so many people but I'm not sure I will be able to continue the series. This fiction is too much like non-fiction. I look to novels to get a bit of a break from it all.
This is one of the more enjoyable books I have read in a long time. It is fun to read an occasional mystery that is not filled with blood and gore althought there are references to World War I severely wounded soldiers. It helps that I love the genre and the time period the mystery took place in.
The pleasure of this audio is greatly is greatly enhanced by the talented narrator Rita Barrington who guides us through this novel with great skill.
I look forward to reading the entire series.
Mystery reader (especially series) and Austen lover
I first ecountered "Maisie Dobbs" in 2003 the year it was published. It was the first book I became aware of in the growing sub-genre of detective fiction which I call the "Post World War One Period," when the War is recently ended and the population of Britain is still reeling. Many wounded soldiers, whether physically maimed or crippled or psychologically damaged, cannot re-integrate into society and there is little or no assistance available to them from the government. Many are on the streets begging, looking for work if they can work, and are in the depths of despair.
Having read a number of Post WWI books now, I rank Maisie Dobbs and the subsequent books in the series as the best of the genre. The primary reason for this ranking is the sensitivity, compassion and understanding displayed by Maisie toward these wounded men and and their families and loved ones.
In this first book, we meet Maisie Dobbs, private inquiry agent, in 1929 and learn about her youth as the child of a costermonger (vegetable seller) who must go into service when her mother dies, her education sponsored by her kindly employer, and her training with her mentor, Maurice Blanche, in investigation and psychic matters. But the most important influence on Maisie is her experience as a battlefield nurse in the Great War, sharing the fear and agony with the soldiers she cares for, and finally being seriously wounded herself. These experiences make her able to understand the wounded and damaged men she encounters.
As she establishes her office, she acquires an assistant, Billy Beal, who walks with a limp resulting from severe shrapnel wounds. Her first major investigation involves what she judges to be the suspicious deaths of severely disfigured veterans at a shelter called the Retreat.
Maisie Dobbs is (or was at the time this book came out) unique in my experience because of her combination of compassion and psychic abilities in solving puzzles and mysteries. The writing of Jacqueline Winspear is excellent, and some scenes are very moving. The narration by Rita Barrington is adequate but not exceptional. However, the story itself more than makes up for that, so that the overall rating is 5 stars.
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
Set before, during and after the Great War, this is a wonderful historical mystery series that will keep you listening. It's clean, yet the depth of emotion and understanding of the horrors of war that the author displays will stay with me for a long time. I appreciate the sensitivity with which the childhood of young Maisie is written, and the seldom touched on mixing of social status. This first book in the series was absolutely necessary to learn exactly what Maisie Dobbs is made of, and I must say, she's made of some very fine stuff. Can't wait to listen to the next in the series!
I'll probably read at least one more in this series, but by the time I was nearly through with this one, I have to admit I was just going through the motions of listening. The characters are fairly interesting, but everything is just too pat and predictable. Maisie is astonishingly bright and bizarrely lucky and strangely intuitive, and honestly, that gets old after a while. I just don't believe that someone from her class would've been able to rise quite as far without more trouble in England in the early part of the 20th century. The writing was at times pretty dreadful, too. Too much description and too repetitive. A jarring backwards jump in the middle of everything to explain Maisie's life was simply odd and went on too long. By the time the author got back to the main story, I was bored.
Despite my problems with the book, I am intrigued by Maisie and some of those around her. I hope the author develops the characters more. They're all, including Maisie, pretty one dimensional here. To her credit, the author does provide a harrowing and realistic look at World War I and its toll.
The narrator was good. I will keep trying with this series.
When I first joined Audible, I was reading the second book of the Maisie Dobbs series (Pardonable Lies), and it became my first Audible purchase. I have gotten all of the subsequent books from Audible and love being transported back to Maisie's time -- so far, still between the wars in England.
However, this first in the series holds a special place in my heart, because it tells the story of Maisie's unusual growing up and describes her time at Girton College and as a nurse in France in WWI. Her entire backstory is here and her chance meeting with Billy Beale, as well.
If you haven't read this one and you are a Maisie Dobbs fan, you must go back and listen to it! It's not read by Orlagh Cassidy, who I have become so accustomed to as Maisie, but Rita Barrington does an excellent job.
If you have not yet met Maisie Dobbs, and you like good historical fiction with excellent characters and compelling stories and settings, don't hesitate to get this one!
I am particularly interested in the time "between-the-wars" in England because there were such huge changes in every possible area of life as a result of losing millions of their young men in WWI. It's interesting that Downton Abbey, which has become so popular lately on television, has been profiling a lot of these changes -- how the outcome of the Great War affected those who were rich and titled as well as their servants, and particularly how it affected young women of the day.
Can't recommend this highly enough!