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Cheaper by the Dozen
Frank B. Gilbreth Jr., Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

Birds of a Feather

Birds of a Feather - Jacqueline Winspear I gave this second book in the Maisie Dobbs series a chance, after a lukewarm reaction to the first book. I ended up not really liking the second one either, which is a shame, because they have such great potential. A young, female detective in London in the years after World War I sounds like a great premise for a mystery series. But it's the execution of the characters that I just didn't like.

In this second book, Maisie Dobbs is investigating the disappearance of the daughter of a wealthy store owner. Her disappearance is linked to the war and several other people who have died. The mystery in "Birds of a Feather" is actually compelling, with good plot twists, strong details, and clues, but the writing is something I just can't get over.

Maisie Dobbs herself is drawn to be just a little too perfect and a little too precious. In a mystery series, I just can't stand for the main character to have "shiny, jet-black tresses," or to constantly be pushing "loose tendrils" of hair out of her face. In my experience, tresses and tendrils belong in romance novels, not in mysteries. I said in my review of book #1 that Maisie Dobb's absolute control and perfection also get on my nerves, and she's still perfect in book #2. She's never flustered, never put out, never says the wrong thing. I guess I prefer my heroes and heroines to be a little more human, and a little less perfect.

In all, I love the premise of these books, but the writing of the main character is enough to turn me off. It's all just a little bit too precious and cloying for me. YMMV.