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Maisie Dobbs

(Maisie Dobbs #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  63,674 Ratings  ·  6,131 Reviews
Maisie Dobbs isn't just any young housemaid. Through her own natural intelligence and the patronage of her benevolent employers, she works her way into college at Cambridge. When World War I breaks out, Maisie goes to the front as a nurse. It is there that she learns that coincidences are meaningful and the truth elusive. After the War, Maisie sets up on her own as a priva ...more
Kindle Edition, 305 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Soho Crime (first published January 1st 2003)
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Groomer Sarah I would say intelligent rather than "obnoxiously perfect." A young girl who craves knowledge. I guess I focused less on the perfect or less than…moreI would say intelligent rather than "obnoxiously perfect." A young girl who craves knowledge. I guess I focused less on the perfect or less than perfect personal merits of Maisie and more on who she becomes by using those merits. I also think, that a character such as hers, deemed perfect by selfless acts, respect for others, and hard work, was not so rare in the 1920s as it is now. (less)
Groomer Sarah I feel that I would have loved this book at 13 years old. It is a very clean read. It opens up your mind to some of the horrors of war (both physical…moreI feel that I would have loved this book at 13 years old. It is a very clean read. It opens up your mind to some of the horrors of war (both physical and mental injuries and the aftermath of said injuries) without going into gory detail that would unsettle a young teen mind.
The main character is a good role model of hard work, kindness, compassion and determination in a young woman.(less)
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Jul 17, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, crime, to, oxfam, it, goes
In general I prefer to confine the term 'Mary Sue' to fan fiction, where it belongs. But when I tell you that Maisie has purple eyes, rippling black hair, outstanding intelligence, a near-psychic empathy with her clients, and is practically perfect in every possible way & I think I may be allowed an exception. On top of all this, the author researched the First World War background for this very, very thoroughly and, oh, how it shows! Throw in a faithful Cockernee sidekick (wiv an 'eart of g ...more
Oct 01, 2016 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of historical, vaguely female-empowering fiction
Is there anything more controversial at Goodreads than star rating? I think not (and yes, I think it's more controversial than porn or V-blogs). People have opinions on whether or not one should star books that weren't finished, whether one can star unread books by authors they don't like--or even do like--and then there are those that will actually argue a reviewer's rating based on the reviewer's interpretation, the infamous 'you read it wrong' offense.

Here I am, deciding to stretch my reading
Apr 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hannah by: Carol Kerry-green
I picked up Maisie Dobbs from the library upon the rec. of my GR friend Carol, and have to say that this initial entry marks what may prove to be one of the cleverest mystery series since Dorothy Gilman brought the retired and intrepid Mrs. Pollifax to life back in the 1960s. (For more on Mrs. Pollifax, see The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax)

Don't go into reading Maisie Dobbs with any preconceived ideas about what you'll find there. Yes, it's a mystery -- somewhat. Yes, it's a historical novel -- some
Mar 12, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A neighbor recommended Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs as one of the best books she’s read. The book cover boasts quotes from The New York Times (“Be prepared to be astonished”), NPR (“A quirky literary creation”), and Alexander McCall Smith (“[A:] real gift”). Naturally, I had high expectations.

Maisie Dobbs is a detective and self-proclaimed psychologist in post-WWI London, and the novel splits its time between a case and detailing Maisie’s background. Only half the book is a mystery as Mais
Well. This was a waste of time. I don't think there was an aspect of this book I did not hate. Starting from the holier-than-thou main character, to the non-existent mystery, to the amazing (not) resolution of the non-mystery, to the abrupt hundred pages worth of tedious flashback in the middle of the mystery; everything bothered me.

So. Maisie Dobbs is a private eye. She was a housemaid once, but it turned out that she was one of nature's rare prodigies, reading Latin by candlelight. Her master
Nov 29, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-charm
This is a story about a cute, clever, and plucky young woman named Maisie Dobbs. Maisie is setting up her own private investigation practice in London. The year is 1929, and everyone we meet is still coping with the effects of the world war, including Maisie.

Maisie has a cute and charming way of talking with people and getting them to share their stories. Her first client is a man who thinks his wife is cheating on him. Maisie follows the woman, befriends her and learns her sad tale about a love
Mar 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book. I listened to the audiobook. It's beautifully done. I am going right into book 2. I'm already attached to the characters.
Jan 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written story of a young girl's rise from household servant to wartime field nurse to her own successful career as a private investigator during WWI-era England. This novel is so much more than just an historical mystery with a clever female sleuth. Winspear creates Maisie's story of her first professional case in such a way that with flashbacks we understand the physical and psychological scars of those who served during wartime...the sacrifices of the body, mind and heart....whic ...more
Oct 05, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It took me a few tries to start this book. Probably the only reason I finally read it was because I'm trying to read the books I already have, instead of adding to my ever growing pile of books to read.

Maisie Dobbs is a new private eye in post WWI London, setting up shop and trying to earn a good client base in a world still getting used to the working woman outside of service. With a cunning mind, great determination, and a bit of luck and help along the way (from a supportive father and a libe
Jun 30, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hayes by: Mystery Group Read
ETA Jan 2013: quick re-read before I start the rest in the series.
A little better the second time round. Clearer head, or something. But my original opinion, below, still holds. 3.5 stars

I liked this, very much; I just didn't love it. I wanted to be more connected to Maisie, but felt that she slipped away before I could learn to love her. I liked the story and the back story and the way they intertwined, although I found the switching back and forth in time was handled a little awkwardly.

I will
I think this book is good enough to re-read. I will then provide a proper review while I drink a nice cuppa!!

I have finished for the second time... I hope I don't disappoint; I am drinking a cuppa wine, not tea!!

I have many favorite male heroes. Maisie Dobbs is my first female heroine... at least in recent memory **. Jacqueline Winspear has crafted a character, who, when she dies, will go to heaven and be declared a saint. As you can tell, I LOVE Maisie Dobbs. Her mentor, Maurice Blanche, comes
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
This book just didn't work for me. Maisie Dobbs was mostly annoying and a very boring character and the story was very bland.I liked the ending, but probably not enough to want to read more books about Miss Dobbs unless anyone can convince me that they will get better.
Maisie Dobbs starts out in the late 1920s, with Maisie just setting up her investigation business. It gets into the first real case, then takes a significant detour into the past to give Maisie’s backstory - I’d say probably half the book shows her childhood up through WWI nursing experiences. So although there’s a mystery, it really felt like a WWI historical novel much of the time, along with the horrors and sadness it left behind. Once Maisie’s character is fully established, it comes back to ...more
Jun 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this first book in Winspear's mystery series. Maisie Dobbs is a very intriguing and sympathetic heroine full of admirable traits.

At age 13, after her mother's death, her father sends her to be a servant in the home of a kindly aristocratic family. The family sees much promise in the smart Maisie and offers to fund her education. WWI breaks out and Maisie feels called to volunteer. She goes to France as a nurse and her experiences impact her in a way that changes her life foreve
Alice Lippart
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
I enjoyed this so much I barely care about some of the faults it has. Excellent experience.
Jamie Collins
I wanted to like this, because I found the premise and the setting very interesting. These mysteries feature a female private detective, a veteran WWI nurse working in London in 1929. This first book is heavily concerned with the first World War and its veterans.

But the writing, while I can't point to any specific problem, left me a bit cold. The protagonist Maisie also rubbed me the wrong way. I don't like that she feels it mandatory to provide psychological counseling to her clients, or the wa
Dawn Michelle
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh I have book hangover. M A S S I V E book hangover.

I loved this book so very much - even the parts that made me cry [I have such a problem with books that deal with war in general {as anyone with a soul would}, but books that deal with WW1 in particular are very distressing to me]. I loved the characters and I adored Maisie and all she was determined to do regardless of the fact that she was a woman. This was a lovely story - a full on mystery with no murder [to speak of] and gen
Jul 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
I recall reading this book when it was first released but, like so many other series I start, somehow this fell by the wayside. So, I decided to give it another try and really enjoyed getting re-aquainted with Miss Dobbs. In this first novel we learn about her setting up her own private detective agency, but we also learn about her back story.

This novel is set during 1929 and also before, and during, WWI. The echoes of that conflict hang over this book, and the characters within its pages, as th
Feb 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this introduction to Maisie Dobbs, one of the most interesting female PIs I've come across to date.

Born into a working class family where her father has a fruit and vegetable delivery business, Maisie dreams of becoming a teacher. However after her mother dies her father reluctantly sends her into service as a housemaid with Lord and Lady Compton. After discovering Maisie reading in the library in the middle of the night, Lady Comptom takes Maisie under her wing and arranges tu
MAISIE DOBBS (Historical Novel/Mystery) – Okay
Jacqueline Winspear – 1st book
Penguin Books, 2003 – Trade Paperback
Set in England between 1910 and 1929 is the story of Maisie who goes from being the daughter of a fruit-and-vegetable man, to the in-between maid of wealthy aristocrats where she receives special tutoring, on to college and then serving as a Nurse in France during WWI and, finally, setting up an investigative service where she is asked to find out about “The Retreat,” a home for young
Jul 05, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've enjoyed all four books to date in the Maisie Dobbs series. Winspear is meticulous about doing her homework about the period in question (World War I and its aftermath), and the heroine, Maisie is muy simpática.

That said, not all four books are of equal quality. For my taste, this one (#1) is the best of the bunch, with #4 (Messenger of Truth) close on its heels. The plot to #2 was a bit too predictable, while #3 suffers from the opposite flaw - too many convoluted subplots, with a little to
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really enjoyable start to a series. It was more than a mystery with lots of great period details and wonderful character building. It read more like a hist fic with a little mystery thrown in but I thought it was great. I started this up a couple of years ago but couldn't get into so put it down. This year it came up as a group series read in Retro Chapter Chicks so I decided to give it another try. Glad I did and I'm going to be moving on to book 2.
Review written August 2, 2017

3 1/2 Stars - Nice start. The story and crime case hooked me and I'm convinced to continue with these (audio)books

Maisie Dobbs was a pretty nice and interesting audiobook listening to a historical crime fiction in the easy "Cozy Mystery" genre. This book is also the first part and serial starter with a lot of Maise-books to catch up with.


England, 1929 — 10 years after WWI

Maisie Dobbs is a bright and clever woman who jus
Jan 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The only thing I didn't care for with this book is that Winspear started with the mystery, then gave Maisie's back story for the second third of the book, then went back to the mystery. I loved the setting (England and France during and just after World War I) and the odd little insightful observations on the psychology of the mind. The character of Maisie Dobbs completely won me over. An intelligent woman from the lower class making her mark on the world. Winspear didn't allow Maisie to be a ma ...more
♥ Sandi ❣
Apr 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to ♥ Sandi ❣ by: LOR 2018-19 series read
3 stars

Book #1 of a multi-book series, in which we meet Maisie Dobbs, female detective, in the early 1900's. This novel gives her backstory through childhood, housekeeper, college, early nursing career, and into her formal detective career.

The author stays true to the time period of this story, while inventing this fictional character. This book copes with the aftermath of the war and it's traumatic grip on those who experienced it.

The next installment is Birds of a Feather.
I got about 2/3 of the way through this audiobook and just couldn't take it anymore. Maisie is the flattest character I have read in a long time, and in fact I can't even think of a flatter character. She is a one-dimensional, and oh too good to be true, character doing all the "right" things, I just couldn't listen to it anymore. Some of the book's critics have compared her to Nancy Drew; well I read all of the Nancy Drew books and Maisie Dobbs is no Nancy Drew, she could only hope to have 1/2 ...more
Kris - My Novelesque Life

"Maisie Dobbs isn’t just any young housemaid. Through her own natural intelligence—and the patronage of her benevolent employers—she works her way into college at Cambridge. When World War I breaks out, Maisie goes to the front as a nurse. It is there that she learns that coincidences are meaningful and the truth elusive. After the War, Maisie sets up on her own as a private investigator. But her very first assignment, seemingly an ordinary infidelity case, soon reveals a much deeper, d
BJ Rose
Having never read Jacqueline Winspear before, I came to this book with no expectations, but having read it, I can see why it won various Best First Novel awards, and I look forward to reading more in the Maisie Dobbs series, altho I'm not sure the others can hold the emotional impact of this one. This was not a happy book, but like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, it has that 'rising-above-what-life-dealt you' aspect. Maisie was a poor girl in service who caught the attention of Lady Rowan and Maurice ...more
Jul 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maisie Dobbs is one of those easy to love kind of characters. She is a brilliant young housemaid who is discovered by her British aristocratic employer whose patronage leads her to Cambridge and beyond. However, WWI breaks out and things happen which will change the course and perspective of her life. The first of this series is in part a synopsis of her life and how she is to eventually become a private investigator and in part a mystery to be uncovered all dealing and interconnected with the w ...more
Jan 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A friend turned me on to the Maisie Dobbs series. I recommend that you read them in sequence. I enjoyed the historical references about World War I, which is a war that many of us today could not understand the horrific conditions that soldiers and nurses, in particular, endured in the trenches. Talk about post traumatic stress!

The mysteries are interesting as they involve the human pysche. A must read.
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  • A Duty to the Dead (Bess Crawford, #1)
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Jacqueline Winspear was born and raised in the county of Kent, England. Following higher education at the University of London’s Institute of Education, Jacqueline worked in academic publishing, in higher education and in marketing communications in the UK.

She emigrated to the United States in 1990, and while working in business and as a personal / professional coach, Jacqueline embarked upon a li

Other books in the series

Maisie Dobbs (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • Birds of a Feather (Maisie Dobbs, #2)
  • Pardonable Lies (Maisie Dobbs, #3)
  • Messenger of Truth (Maisie Dobbs, #4)
  • An Incomplete Revenge (Maisie Dobbs, #5)
  • Among the Mad (Maisie Dobbs, #6)
  • The Mapping of Love and Death (Maisie Dobbs, #7)
  • A Lesson in Secrets (Maisie Dobbs, #8)
  • Elegy for Eddie (Maisie Dobbs, #9)
  • Leaving Everything Most Loved (Maisie Dobbs, #10)
  • A Dangerous Place (Maisie Dobbs, #11)
“Truth walks toward us on the paths of our soon as you think you have the answer, you have closed the path and may miss vital new information. Wait awhile in the stillness, and do not rush to conclusions, no matter how uncomfortable the unknowing.” 50 likes
“Shame, isn’t it? That we only like our heroes out in the street when they are looking their best and their uniforms are ‘spit and polished,’ and not when they’re showing us the wounds they suffered on our behalf.” 42 likes
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