Series Spotlight: Maisie Dobbs Series by Jacqueline Winspear
In the Maisie Dobbs series, readers go on adventures with Maisie Dobbs, a psychological investigator living in London just after WWI. The author, Jacqueline Winspear has written a wonderful, intriguing main character and introduces the reader to a very trying time in British history.
Maisie Dobbs has just returned to London after serving as a nurse in the trenches in France during WWI. Upon her return, she takes up the art of investigation, like missing persons, stolen property and murder. Her particular focus is on the psychological ramifications of the case on the clients. This is part of the reason these books are so intriguing — you get really close to the emotional fragility of the characters in the stories.
The author has stated that she has loosely based her character and some of the stories on her grandparent. She has obviously done a lot of research on England during the time between the two world wars and the effects of war on England and France and in later books, Canada, India and Gibraltar. The first book moves back and forth between Maisie’s contemporary life in post-war England and her childhood which tells the story of how she came from a poor class family to become a highly educated and connected women of means in London society. There are also scenes of what life was like in the field hospitals that supported the soldiers fighting in the trenches.
With WWII over-shadowing the earlier war, the most interesting part of this series is the description of what happened during and after WWI. So much of my knowledge of history is based on WWII, and I was unfamiliar with things like trench warfare and the nurse’s role in the fields, the plight of the amputee or the sufferers of PTSD in those times. There is also an aspect of how women who hold professional roles are treated by society in the 1930’s. This book brings all that to light in a well thought out and amazing world. I was instantly hooked and wanted more.
Lucky for us, the author has written eleven books so far and every one of them has been great. These are books that you can read over again, because, knowing the “answer to the mystery” doesn’t detract from delving back into these characters lives. Each one of the eleven books develops Maisie, the supporting characters and her clients. They introduce new people and situations in a way that makes the reader feel as if Maisie were a real person.