In Maisie Dobbs, Winspear does a nice job building the feeling of this period in history and setting the stage with some interesting characters. I am not a mystery junkie but I do enjoy picking up a whodunit every now and then. I can’t say much in this book is particularly original. Aspects do feel a tad over-familiar or trite at times. Still, by the time I finished I did feel thoroughly and wonderfully steeped in another time and place.
This period in history is powerful. Because of this, it’s become a popular setting for fiction and television. Winspear uses the facts to her advantages, not shielding the reader from the sorts of realities and difficulties a country faces as the result of war. Maisie Dobbs herself has some quirks that readers will either find charming or annoying. The quiet examination of the costs of conflict is the greatest strength of this work.
Read it if a well-researched variation on a familiar theme is something you enjoy.
Skip it if you’re looking for loads of originality, substance, or a hard-bitten feel.