Wealthy businessman Joseph Waite hires British private investigator Maisie Dobbs to find his missing daughter, Charlotte. Maisie and her assistant, Billy, soon discover that two of Charlotte's old friends have been murdered. When they find that a third friend is believed to have committed suicide, Maisie and Billy are convinced that Charlotte is in danger.
In order to find Charlotte and identify the killer, Maisie must draw on her own training in psychology and meditation as well as her links to a Benedictine Abbey. Her job is complicated when her father is seriously injuried and Maisie must arrange for his care as well as confront the emotional gap that has grown between them since her mother's death. During the investigation, Maisie is also reminded of her fiance, lost to her in WWI, 13 years earlier.
Maisie ultimately realizes that feelings of loss drive the murderer and that Charlotte's past is the key to the mystery. She struggles with investigators from Scotland Yard, convinced that they have their man, and meets an intriguing doctor who points her toward the final key to the mystery.
This report prepared by rebecca cornia
Soho, June 2004, 25.00, 320 pp.
It is more than fifteen years after the Great War ended and England is recovering even though the depression makes the division between the classes more noticeable. Masie Dobbs was lucky to find a patron who funded her studies in nursing and psychology. She served as a nurse in France where she was injured and her great love Simon came back from the war in a catatonic state that has not lifted since his return. Masie works as a private investigator, who uses meditation as a way of opening up her senses to the world around her. Although her methods of combining investigation with psychology are unusual, it always works.
Rich supermarket magnate Joseph Waite hires Masie to find his daughter Charlotte who has a habit of running away from home even if she is thirty-seven years of age. Masie deduces that she left the day she saw in the newspaper that one of her old friends from boarding school was murdered. Two more of charlotte's former friends die and a white feather is found on or near each murder victim. Masie must find a way to keep Charlotte safe and bait a trap to catch the killer.
Readers will thoroughly enjoy this delightful and charming mystery and find themselves interested in the historical details of England between the wars. The protagonist is not a radical feminist but an independent person who believes that she is as capable as any man in her chosen profession. Although she has known much sorrow, she is a kind-hearted and generous person who cares about people, especially those who are suffering the aftereffects of WWI. BIRDS OF A FEATHER will definitely appeal to fans of great mysteries.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner