Tonight I am putting up a post of a review written in 2008 when I first encountered Maisie Dobbs. It was my favourite work of fiction that year.
22. - 432.) Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear – A wonderful new character. Last year it was Walt Longmire. This year it is Maisie Dobbs. A jacket blurb likened Winspear to Alexander McCall-Smith’s books. It is an apt comparison. At its core the book is a mystery. It is not a great mystery. It is a great book. Maisie is far more than a detective as she seeks to restore the well being of her clients. From modest origins she reaches university at the start of WW I with the aid of Lady Rowan and Lord Julian. Her mentor, Maurice Blanche, is a wonderful wise man with abundant aphorisms. Maisie’s intelligence and humanity are striking. Her time as a nurse near the trenches and relationship with war surgeon, Dr. Simon Lynch, is a tender look at a couple in the midst of an overwhelming war. The story unfolds in 1929 as Maisie goes out on her own. The term detective agency is far too narrow a description of her services. Her adoption of a person’s posture to determine what they are feeling is unique. I longed for her to meet and ease the tormented Ian Rutledge of Charles Todd. I loved the New York Times comment “be prepared to be astonished”. Excellent. Hardcover or paperback by choice. (May 31/08) (Best fiction of 2008.)