Soho, 2003, 24.00, 294 pp.
At thirteen was employed as a maid to suffragette Lady Rowan Compton. The aristocrat found her new employee to be intelligent and mentors the lass. During the war to end all wars, Maisie served as a nurse on an all-female ambulance corps in France. By 1929, Maisie opens up a private investigative firm.
A client hires Maisie in what looks like a simple philandering spouse case, but instead the adulterer is the deceased, Vincent Weathershaw, residing in a graveyard. Maisie's investigation of Weathershaw takes her to the Retreat, a place where soldiers still suffering from war related traumas go to recuperate. Maisie continues her inquiries and even sends an employee inside the Retreat, but she begins to panic fretting over whether one can leave the Retreat once you're a guest?
Readers will enjoy MAISIE DOBBS as a solid early twentieth century mystery, but also feel disappointment because the novel could have been a juggernaut of a historical tale. The story line occurs in 1929 with Maisie the sleuth, but uses flashbacks to her mentoring education and a snail mail “love affair” with a soldier in 1917 who vanishes. The case is fine due to a strong cast especially the title character and will give much pleasure to the audience.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner