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

Maisie Dobbs

Maisie Dobbs - Jacqueline Winspear I've heard good things about this series, so I picked up the first installment at the library. I'd agree with Leanna that this first book has some good points, but is not a very good introduction. I'm going to give the second book in the series a try, but if things don't pick up, I probably won't read the rest.

Maisie Dobbs is a young woman starting her own private detective business in London in the years after the Great War. This book mostly focuses on Maisie's background and the paths that led her to a career as a detective. The story of Maisie is really the primary story here, with the mystery more in the background.

It's a shame, though, because it was the mystery that felt more interesting to me. I realize the author wanted to really flesh out her heroine, but I thought it was a case of too much too soon. Perhaps filling out the character of Maisie Dobbs would have been better spread over several books, rather than packing it all into this first one.

The mystery in this book involves the wounded soldiers who have come back to civilian society terribly damaged by the war, which is a very compelling and moving story. The resolution of the mystery was great, dramatic, and believable.

My other complaint was that Maisie herself just doesn't seem believable. She always knows exactly what to say, is always perfectly poised in every situation, and never makes a mistake. We're led to believe that she's this self-possessed because of her wartime nursing experience, but I'm not sure I buy it.

Fingers crossed for book 2.