Books Completed: 29
Completion Date: February 3, 2009
Publication Date: June 27, 2006
Reason for Reading: Third book in the Maisie Dobbs series.
Agatha Christies Miss Marple. Sue Graftons Kinsey Millhone. Alexander McCall Smiths Precious Ramotswe. Every once in a while, a detective bursts on the scene who captures readers heartsand imaginationsand doesnt let go. And so it was with Jacqueline Winspears Maisie Dobbs, who made her debut just two years ago in the eponymously titled first book of the series, and is already on her way to becoming a household name. A deathbed plea from his wife leads Sir Cecil Lawton to seek the aid of Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator. As Maisie soon learns, Agnes Lawton never accepted that her aviator son was killed in the Great War, a torment that led her not only to the edge of madness but to the doors of those who practice the dark arts and commune with the spirit world. In accepting the assignment, Maisie finds her spiritual strength tested, as well as her regard for her mentor, Maurice Blanche. The mission also brings her together once again with her college friend Priscilla Evernden, who served in France and who lost three brothers to the warone of whom, it turns out, had an intriguing connection to the missing Ralph Lawton.For those that read my blog, you would probably have noticed two things about me that I feel like mentioning. Firstly, I don't read a lot of mystery novels. They enter the picture from time to time, because I try not to be close-minded, but generally I don't read a lot. Secondly, I am terrible with finishing series. I start them and then months later might read the next book! This book is an exception to both of these commonly held opinions about me, though. This is a mystery book and I only read book two in the series last month! I am breaking rules this reading year, apparently.
I really like this series, though. This book takes place about 12 years after the end of the First World War. Maisie Dobbs was a nurse in the war and she knows many people that served in the war and were touched by the effects of the war. So, even though this book doesn't take place during the war itself; it is still necessary to draw on the events of the past. The first book set up what life was like for Maisie during the war, and then each successive book has built on it. In this novel, Maisie actually has to go back to France for the case that she is working on and finds herself facing the terrible place where she almost lost her life. I think the mentioning of the war is the main reason that I stick with this series, but I also really like Maisie. For her times she is considered a spinster, but she really does not let her unmarried status or the fact that she is female stop her from living her life. It makes her a very likable and intriguing character; which makes you want to read more about her.
There are three cases on the go in this book. Two of them are directly tied in with the First World War, so I enjoyed learning the details while Maisie worked to track down the information that she needed. Obviously I have read a bit on what it was like during the war, but these men lead lives that I had never really read anything about before. They were very brave, not that everyone wasn't back then, and lead very interesting lives. Since they were not your typical wartime stories, though, it left me wondering if there are not more books on the subject. In any case, this was another good addition to the series and I cannot wait to read more!