Birds of a Feather is set in Britain between the World Wars. It is a cannily crafted mystery and superbly written. The characters are classics of British mystery: brilliant detective, engaging sidekick, enigmatic mentor, Scotland Yard inspector, wealthy patroness, missing heiress and her father who wants her found. Jacqueline Winspeare takes these "stock" characters and brings them to life by revealing multiple facets of personality or unexpected twists in motive. The heiress is not missing but running away. The father wants her back not from love, but duty. The engaging sidekick is a loving family man with a dangerous secret. The Scotland Yard inspector is a single father. And the brilliant detective is also a compassionate boss, a loving daughter, a person caught between the classes of British society. Add to these ingredients a plot that asks the question, "How do you live with yourself after ...", a plot fueled by regret, fury, making amends, revenge, love, duty, fear... Well it is just monumentally well done!
The first book introduced us to Maisie Dobbs and where she comes from and her history with a bit of a mystery, this one is more mystery. I love the time setting in this series it really gives you a feel of the time and the aftermath of war. Maisie is on the case of a missing young(Late 20’s?) girl is she missing did she runaway or is something more sinister at work? While on the case she finds that friends of the girl have been found dead, does this have anything to do with Charlotte’s disappearance or is it all about her cold father?
I really like Maisie she is so caring and compassionate even after the case is settled she still goes to Charlotte and her father and tries to fix their differences. Also her compassion for what Billy is going through I didn’t feel like she judged him I thought she was caring and just wanted to help him.
I enjoy this series I like the characters & the setting and will continue to read/listen to this series.
I listened to this on audio narrated by, Kim Hicks I thought she did a very good job at all the different accents.
trying to see the world with my ears
It took me two novels to warm up to Maisie Dobbs. I now think this series superior to similar series in the subgenre of early 20th century women sleuths (Phyrne Fisher, Daisy Dalrymple, et. al.) - almost as good as Mary Russell.
I found this listen marred, however, by the speed of the narrator, especially in the first half of the book where she seemed to be trying to add suspense by the rate and pitch of her voice --BUT I think that was inappropriate to the text. It's a slow, atmospheric, character driven mystery with an element of whodunnit, not a cliff-hanging thriller. I listen to be absorbed and relax - a racing narrator detracted from that by "waking up" my brain when I wanted lulling (though not numbing).
That said, the narrator was good, had the cool edge of the Ms Dobbs character and competently created voices for other characters. I look forward to her version of further Dobbs mysteries, if she slows (and calms) down to voice the zen of Maisie.
This reader reads way to fast. The reader of the first book was excellent. Her performance was very thoughtful, much like Maisie.
I have a hard time understanding this reader. Often the meaning of a sentence becomes clear in my mind as the next sentence is being read. After awhile this gets all muddled and I have to back it up. A good reader can add so much to a text. This reader does not do that unfortunately.
I see that reader of the 3rd book in the series on is read by someone else. Lets hope she's better!
I just love this mystery series and can't wait to download the next book. I think Miss Hick's narration was wonderful and don't understand the other reviewers issues, unless there was a technical issue early on. Her voices and dialects is just spot-on for everyone. The story line is excellent and is suspenseful. I was definitely caught off-guard by "who dunnit" -- total surprise for me anyway.
I read the other reviews after I had already purchased the book, so I began to listen to it with trepidation, due to the criticism of the narrator in some of the other reviews. But after listening to it, I think there must have been a technical problem with their experience that has since been remedied. The narrator was neither unduly speedy nor screechy, in my opinion. I enjoyed the book very much.
In a series like this, the narration should be the same throughout, or you lose the nuances of the character. Had this narrator been the same as in book 1, it might have made a difference, but this was really disappointing, and I can't even make myself finish the book - it's that distracting.
I have come to really enjoy the Maisie Dobbs series. I know that everyone has different tastes, but if you enjoy gentle stories, full of likeable characters, and a good mystery thrown in, then I would absolutely recommend this book to you.
My favorite is Maisie herself, followed by Billie. These two share such a respectful and tender bond.
I love Kim Hick's interpretation of these stories. She IS Maisie Dobbs.
I really just enjoyed it -- nothing extreme. It's like spending time with an old friend.
Try it, you might like it.
Avid audible listener!
I don't like mysteries that are solved with intuition and meditation. And even if I was OK with that type of solve, the way it was written into this book was forced and unrealistic. The narrator was very good at characterization, but I couldn't keep my mind on the story.
This was my second MD book and I can't recommend this series.
After listening to the first book in the series and loving the narrator (Rita Barrington), I was hesitant to listen to the next one with a different narrator. Since I listened to them back to back, it took me a few minutes to acclimate to Maisie's new voice, but after that I did enjoy this reader. I didn't like her quite as much as the first one, but she was still very good. I see that the remaining books in the series are narrated by yet another person. I hope she is as good (or better) than the previous two. It is quite frustrating for narrators to keep changing in a series especially when they have done a very good job. I did not notice any speed issues with Ms. Hicks' reading. Her pace was just fine. (Please note that I have listened to other readers who I feel read too fast and have found it quite irritating. This was not the case here.)
Storywise, the mystery in this book was very good and very emotional. These books always seem to delve into not just the physical but also the psychological reprecussions of Wolrd War I. I find I very much enjoy the blend of the historical fiction and the mystery (something I was not really expecting to enjoy quite so much).
I would strongly recommend reading the first book in the series before reading this one, as it is important to have Maisie's backstory as well as to not ruin any of the first book's surprises.
This book is well worth the audible credit!