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Maisie Dobbs

(Maisie Dobbs #1)

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3.91  ·  Rating details ·  96,847 ratings  ·  8,474 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
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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)
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) Basically he became a detective when he studied forensic medicine.(He tells Maisie about learning what the dead can tell him). Part of the mystery app…moreBasically he became a detective when he studied forensic medicine.(He tells Maisie about learning what the dead can tell him). Part of the mystery apparently is, "Who is Maurice Blanche, really?" We are given teasers--he may be a big noise in the Foreign office or such as that, given his "continental services" and the letters on the wall. Is he English, or foreign? Where did he really spring from? He's the mystery man that makes Maisie what she is.(less)

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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  96,847 ratings  ·  8,474 reviews


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Hilary
Jul 17, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, oxfam, fiction, to, 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 gold) ...more
carol.
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
...more
Hannah
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
...more
Chaitra
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
...more
Rincey
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was like a weighted blanket for my brain
Leanna
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
...more
Lisa Vegan
This is a wonderful book. I’m happy that it’s the first book in a series because I’m eager to continue and read the rest of the books.

Wonderful characters! Maisie and many other characters seem so much like real people. The story was great. There is a lot of absolutely brilliant humor! This book is not even close to being a comedy but it was so funny so many times. Lots of laughing and smiling at many amusing lines!!! There is also psychological sophistication when looking at people and at huma
...more
Diane
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
...more
Liz
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, library
2.5 stars, rounded down
I went into this thinking it was a story about a female PI. It is and it isn’t. It’s really about how Maisie became a PI. Taking place in the early 20th century, we follow Maisie from maid to college freshman to nurse during WWI to 1929 when she’s attempting to set up her PI agency.
This moved much too slowly for my taste and bordered on being boring. And I never engaged with Maisie. In the old days, I guess she would have been called plucky. But she just never seemed real
...more
Joanne
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 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....which has made Maisie devel ...more
SherryRose
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. ...more
Literary Redhead
PERFECT AS GUNS OF AUGUST
The first chapter of this book is perfect, just as the first paragraph of Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August is considered by some the finest in the English language.

CAME IN A DAYDREAM
The rest of Maisie Dobbs is magical too. Unlike anything I had ever read, and I was already a veteran of historical fiction reads when I opened the first pages, which came to the author in a daydream when she was sitting at a stoplight in a storm in California.

NONPAREIL
The unique charact
...more
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. ...more
Cherie
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
The book description led me to believe the Maisie Dobbs character was a female Poirot or Holmes. There is not much mystery here at all. This really is a WW1 1920s historical fiction. This just is not what I thought it would be. Plus, at only 259 pages, it is highly descriptive and needlessly wordy and rambling, to the point of being aggravating.
Dawn Michelle
1st read
Read 4.5 - 4.9.2018
Kindle [OverDrive]
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
...more
Hilary
Feb 27, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hilary by: Lisa Vegan
This was just the sort of book I needed to read at the moment. Struggling to get into several books I have tried, finding it hard to concentrate or finding them too depressing, this book was easy to get into and although it deals with many sad facts about WWI, I found this good escapism.

I generally don’t like stories that skip back and forth in time but this one was easy to follow and I enjoyed glimpses into the past that helped make sense of the future. I particularly enjoyed reading about Mais
...more
Alaina
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
...more
Susan
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
...more
Celia
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
...more
Hayes
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
...more
Jennifer
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
...more
Allison
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
BrokenTune
Sep 23, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
DNF @ p. 63

I know, I have issues with historical fiction. I fully acknowledge this and I give books quite a bit of the benefit of my doubt for that exact reason.

However, let's take a look at a paragraph from Maisie Dobbs that has impressed me particularly:

Once across the bridge, Maisie descended into the depths of Westminster underground railway station and took the District Line to Charing Cross station. The station had changed names back and forth so many times, she wondered what it would be c
...more
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
...more
Alice Lippart
I enjoyed this so much I barely care about some of the faults it has. Excellent experience.
LJ
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
...more
Carolyn
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
...more
David
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
...more
Cherie
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved it!

The characters are wonderful, even though some of the subject matter is painful. The war section was sad, but well managed. The horror and hardship was all there with just enough detail to let the love story shine through.

I am looking forward to reading more of the series books.
Nicole
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
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5,895 followers
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
...more

Other books in the series

Maisie Dobbs (1 - 10 of 17 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)

Articles featuring this book

With clever detectives, missing jewels, murderous women, daring spies, and more, mysteries and thrillers deliver page-turning delight with...
318 likes · 351 comments
“Truth walks toward us on the paths of our questions...as 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.” 52 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.” 45 likes
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