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Specific authors/books/heroines > Maise Dobbs: Is she an action heroine?

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message 1: by Jon (new)

Jon Abbott | 297 comments Is Maise Dobbs an action heroine?

For those of you who aren't familiar with this excellent series which I highly recommend, do take a look: Maisie Dobbs Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs, #1) by Jacqueline Winspear .

Basically, the story starts with a young teenage Maise going 'in service' before WWI. She learns to read by sneaking into the Master's library and much more. By the end of book 1 she opens up what today we would call a private investigator's office, quite an unheard of undertaking for a woman then. She uses her brains, rather than any great familiarity with weapons. She has plenty of agency and doesn't wait to make things happen. It is not a romance series, nor is it in anyway erotic.

So, my fellow group members who have read one or more of the series, is Maise an action heroine?

message 2: by Travis (new)

Travis Bughi (tbughi1) I have not read this one, but I added it to my list. I don't think I've ever read a book with a post-war nurse who turns into a detective, and that rather piques my interest.

message 3: by E.G. (new)

E.G. Manetti (thornraven) | 322 comments I read Birds of a Feather ages ago. My recall is that the story was gripping and Maisie very intrepid - but I don't recall much physical or emotional danger. Definitely plenty of 'agency' as Jon puts it.

message 4: by Jon (new)

Jon Abbott | 297 comments Travis, the war is the First, not the Second.

Ms. Winspear, the author, has the latest book in the series coming out soon. Typically, this is a time when authors put their earlier books on sale. I'd recommend starting with the first book, Maisie Dobbs.

If you don't know about it, there is a free service that does a good job keeping track of price drops and authors: This is the US site; I know there is one for England, but whether there are others elsewhere I don't know.

message 5: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1513 comments Jon, I haven't read any of the Maisie Dobbs books (though they're more on my radar than they used to be, thanks to your recommendation!). But I would say as a general rule of thumb that action heroines, in this group's sense, are heroines who physically engage in action --not just strong, smart women who have agency and do interesting and consequential things, though I'm sure that our members generally admire those ladies too, and like to read about them. We're not called the "Fans of Strong Heroines With Agency" group, and there's a reason for that --we particularly exist to recognize, and share our appreciation of, the particular sub-set of strong heroines who express their strength, at least in part, physically.

Just because a woman is a smart and successful detective, then, doesn't necessarily make her an action heroine in this sense. Nancy Drew, or Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, certainly are able sleuths (and Nancy, I'm told, even sometimes packed a pistol for protection and was psychologically prepared to use it, though she never had to); but I think most readers would say that they're cut from a different bolt of cloth than female detectives like Kinsey Milhone or V. I. Warshawski, and represent a different facet of the mystery genre.

message 6: by Jon (new)

Jon Abbott | 297 comments Werner, you are probably right - certainly you are as to the group focus. Note that I posed it as a question in case younger or more flexible memories than mine recall more 'action'.

It has been so long since I've read any of the Maise books except for the most recent one that I don't want to rule out her having used a weapon (for defense) a couple of times. Memory tells me she did.

However, while she shouldn't go on our bookshelves yet, I'd bet she would find favor with most of our group readers who haven't read the first book.

message 7: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1513 comments I understand completely, Jon! (And yes, she definitely sounds like a heroine worth reading about.

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