I slogged through this book, but the characters were lifeless - either flat and inexplicable or exaggerated but predictable caricatures. There was very little mystery, and although the "surprise" at the end was supposed to explain something about the title character, it left me liking her even less than I did before. I see from other comments that the rest of the series is better, but this turned me completely off.
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.
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 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.
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.
Well, it seems like some like it. For me, too much a sloppy romance and improbable events. Reader is sickenly sweet.
I'm a designer (interiors and graphics) with an English degree. I recovered my love of reading after a disastrous bout with grad school.
The premise is promising enough, but the execution is abysmal, and could be used as an example of why genre fiction has a bad name. ALL of the characters are stereotypes, behaving in utterly predictable ways. Worse, characters and events are introduced solely to advance plot points: when it becomes inconvenient for Maisie's father to remain in London as a costermonger, a job in the country opens as a groom for Maisie's patroness; though this patroness has a son whose condition provides urgency to the plot, we see him only in flashbacks, though he is living on the premises and he and Maisie are presumedly familiar. For a long while I thought perhaps this book was YA fiction -- the strongest epithet anyone uses is "bloody", or sometimes "golly", and Maisie's romance is so chaste you could read it aloud at Sunday school. This is a book set during a time of extraordinary upheaval and suffering, and there is much affecting literature already written about it. I would compare it to one of the weaker Nancy Drew mysteries (there's even a red roadster!), but lacking the narrative drive or complex character development. This is a mystery without one single twist or surprise in it anywhere: every plot development is telegraphed chapters in advance.
The story is so sophomoric. Characters are hollow. Reads like a scooby doo cartoon. Give me back the 10 hrs I gave to this book.
Dimensional characters. Or write for teens. This is a teen book. Like the Secret Seven or the Famous Five.
I want my credit back! They say all you have to do is click to re-credit when you want to return an audible. But, they actually make it tough. Instead of re-credit, we have to call and explain. Then we get the "apology".
Audible folks; if you do not wish to honor this offer, well.... don't offer.