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Maisie Dobbs

de Jacqueline Winspear

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Sèrie: Maisie Dobbs (1)

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Private detective Maisie Dobbs must investigate the reappearance of a dead man who turns up at a cooperative farm called the Retreat that caters to men who are recovering their health after World War I.
Afegit fa poc perkatatxphl, asoderberg, TeamB, JMigotsky, biblioteca privada, JudyGibson, AMKitty, JoeB1934
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» Mira també 646 mencions

Anglès (262)  Italià (1)  Totes les llengües (263)
Es mostren 1-5 de 263 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Not quite as good as I expected - the story moved a little too slowly to keep me fully involved. I will probably read #2 then decide whether to go on with the series. I did very much like Winspear's book [b:The Care and Management of Lies|18695272|The Care and Management of Lies|Jacqueline Winspear|https://d2arxad8u2l0g7.cloudfront.net/books/1400891667s/18695272.jpg|26470479] so maybe that's why I am a little disappointed in this one. ( )
  AuntieG0412 | Jan 23, 2023 |
'Maisie Dobbs' turned out to be a piece of historical fiction which confronted the realities that faced the generation of men and women who suffered through the slaughter of World War I and had to live with its consequences. It engaged my emotions, increased my empathy for that doomed generation and made me recalibrate my picture of Britain in 1929 to take into account the grief, trauma and disappointment that so many people were living with.

Maisie Dobbs is a Private Investigator so, of course, the book is structured around her investigation into the deaths of wounded ex-servicemen, but Winspear hasn't written a pastiche of the early Christie stories. Dobbs isn't an egotistical puzzle solver, using her amazing powers of observation to find a murderer. Winspear doesn't set out to entertain the reader by engaging them in a game of 'Can you spot the red herring? Instead, she's using the structure of a detective story to engage the reader in the issues faced by English people a hundred years ago. Dobbs is an investigator but she is also a psychologist and her broad aim is not just to solve a mystery but to bring some resolution and perhaps healing to the people affected by the mystery.

The structure of the book is unusual. It starts with Maisie Dobbs opening her new Private Investigations agency in London in 1929 and shows the reader how she works and how she lives, letting us see the independent, quietly confident woman that Maisie Dobbs has become. Then the narrative breaks and we meet Maisie at fourteen, entering domestic service in the household of Lady Rowan Compton. Against the current fashion of intercut dual timelines, this book takes a different path and we follow Maisie through to adulthood, including her service as a nurse in France during the First World War, before returning to 1929. I enjoyed getting to stay in one timeline for long enough to settle in and get to know the characters rather than swapping between to amp up the suspense. It kept my attention on the people rather than the mystery and it gave the mystery a solid context.

Maisie's story pressed a lot of Class buttons for me and pulled to the surface a lot of my anger at how the world was organised back then and how we seem to be being pushed back to those structures today.

Maisie is the daughter of a widowed costermonger and enters domestic service in a wealthy, socially prominent household as a way of making ends meet. The mistress of the house, Lady Rowan Compton, realises how bright Maisie is and takes her on as a project and ultimately sponsors her education and helps her set up her own business. I found myself conflicted as I watched Maisie's education. I concede that it's better to see a bright mind fed than starved and I accept that her sponsors are well-intentioned but it all spoke to me of the way the upper classes unthinkingly assimilate the brightest as if they were a lost 'one of us' which annoys me because it supports the idea that upper class are 'upper' by merit rather than by privilege granted by ruthless grasping ancestors. I accept that Lady Rowan Compton is trying her best to make use of her privilege but that doesn't help me set aside my resentment at her being privileged in the first place.

Then we reached 1914 and watched the young men sign up to go to war. We hadn't even reached the slaughter and maiming of the battlefield yet and already, the measured, not quite dispassionate, storytelling was triggering my anger and sadness. I cannot forgive the English ruling class for what they did in World War I. Slaughtering a generation of men and destroying millions of families should have been the end of them, but they're still here.

For me, the most powerful section of the book took place in a battlefield hospital in France in 1917. It was deeply sad and affecting. Winspear managed to show the horrific waste of the war on a very human level, made all the more powerful for not splattering the screen of my imagination with blood. The pain and the suffering were overwhelming without being in any way sensationalised or romanticised. It wasn't a backdrop for a romance or a mystery. It was simply showing that who Maisie Dobbs is in 1929 and what she is trying to do, can only be understood in the context of the misery and loss and waste that she and the people around her lived through.

I was particularly struck by this line about the impact of the war:

"...they had all of them on both sides, lost their freedom. The freedom to think hopefully of the future."

That's a sense of loss that I can identify with.

When we returned to 1929 and watched Maisie solve the mystery of the wounded ex-servicemen who died while staying at a place of refuge and had only their first names on their gravestones, I realised that the real story was about recognising that, for those who fought in it and survived, the war didn't end in 1918 and that its consequences needed to be confronted and treated with compassion. ( )
  MikeFinnFiction | Jan 17, 2023 |
Fairly well-written but I dislike how this was structured, with a prolonged flashback in the middle. ( )
  fionaanne | Nov 28, 2022 |
This book was first published almost twenty years ago but I missed out on it then. And although I've seen it mentioned as a good mystery a number of times I didn't check into it. Now that I've read this book and realized that it is just the kind of historical mystery that I really enjoy I'm going to have to find time to read the other sixteen books in the series. Yikes!

The roaring 20s are in full force but Maisie Dobbs doesn't seem to have the time or the money to partake. She has just set up her own private investigative firm. One of her first cases is to follow a married woman whose husband suspects of having an affair since she disappears for hours at a time several times a week. But the first time Maisie follows her she realizes she is not having an extramarital affair. The woman takes a train out of London to visit a small cemetery filled with the graves of the dead who served in World War I. The grave she visits has only a first name engraved on the headstone and it seems fairly recent. As Maisie delves further, with the help of her building caretaker, Billie Beal, she learns about a farm in Kent where the most severely injured veterans live. It is called The Retreat and is run by a former officer. Each man who goes to live there signs over his estate and income to The Retreat in order to maintain the farm. Then Maisie is asked by her former employer, Lady Rowan Compton, to investigate The Retreat further because her son plans to go there. Billie Beal goes undercover to stay at The Retreat and Maisie stays nearby at the Compton rural estate. Maisie is quite worried but Billie seems to be enjoying his time there and he thinks the world of the Major. Until he doesn't!

A good portion of the book is devoted to the story of Maisie's life from her time in service, to attending Girton College for Women, to becoming a nurse on the front lines during World War I. We learn about her coster-monger father and her mentor Maurice Blanche and her friends, including one particular male doctor friend, Captain Lynch. No doubt they will pop up again. ( )
  gypsysmom | Oct 4, 2022 |
Sono delusa e perfino arrabbiata con questo romanzo perché l'inizio è promettente e lascia ben sperare, poi dopo neanche un quarto di storia siamo costretti a sorbirci un flashback lunghissimo e zuccheroso, talmente pieno di cliché da sembrare fatto apposta: la servetta povera ma intelligente, i padroni illuminati, il padre comprensivo e potrei continuare all'inifinito; sono tutti sulla via della beatificazione in questo libro, l'unica normale la fanno morire senza tante cerimonie. Anche le scene di guerra sono trattate in maniera semplicistica, con tanta retorica e poca vera introspezione.
Finalmente ad un certo punto l'autrice si ricorda che avremmo una trama pseudo gialla da portare avanti e l'ultima porzione dell'opera è dedicata alla risoluzione di questo cosiddetto "mistero" (fatico a definirlo tale dato che la soluzione è esattamente quella che ci è stata prospettata all'inizio, senza nessun colpo di scena). Ecco forse era quasi meglio che se ne dimenticasse davvero, perché sul finale il romanzo da il meglio di se e diventa così stucchevole da sconfinare nel ridicolo. [SPOILER]-La nostra (super)eroina riesce a fermare il cattivone (no non cattivo, impazzito per i traumi di guerra poverino, non sia mai che qualcuno qui sia malvagio) ...cantando una canzone. Io non ho parole.-[FINE SPOILER]
La scrittura è melensa (ovviamente), ma perlomeno scorrevole.
Il mondo è bello perché è vario quindi sicuramente ci saranno degli estimatori del romanzo, ma sarei curiosa di capire cosa ci abbiano trovato. Inutile dire che il mio rapporto con la serie finisce qui, non penso mi avvicinerò agli altri volumi nenche per sbaglio. ( )
  Lilirose_ | Aug 14, 2022 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 263 (següent | mostra-les totes)
A strong protagonist and a lively sense of time and place carry readers along, and the details lead to further thought and understanding about the futility and horror of war, as well as a desire to hear more of Maisie. This is the beginning of a series, and a propitious one at that.
afegit per khuggard | editaSchool Library Journal
 
For a clever and resourceful young woman who has just set herself up in business as a private investigator, Maisie seems a bit too sober and much too sad.
 

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (9 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Winspear, Jacquelineautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Barrington, RitaNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Cassidy, OrlaghNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Crosio, OliviaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Davidson, AndrewAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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Now, he will spend a few sick years in institutes,
And do what things the rules consider wise,
And take whatever pity may dole.
Tonight he noticed how the women's eyes
Passed from him to the strong men that were whole.
How cold and late it is! Why don't they come
And put him to bed? Why don't they come?

Final verse "Disabled" by Wilfred Owen. It was drafted at Craiglockhart, a hospital for shell-shocked officers, in October 1917. Owen was killed on November 4, 1918, just one week before the armistice.
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This book is dedicated to the memory of my paternal grandfather and my maternal grandmother.

JOHN "JACK" WINSPEAR sustained serious leg wounds during the Battle of the Somme in July 1916. Following convalescence, he returned to his work as a costermonger in southeast London.

CLARA FRANCES CLARK, nee Atterbury, was a munitions worker at the Woolwich Arsenal during the First World War. She was partially blinded in an explosion that killed several girls working in the same section alongside her. Clara later married and became the mother of ten children.
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Even if she hadn't been the last person to walk through the turnstile at Warren Street tube station, Jack Barker would have noticed the tall, slender woman in the navy blue, thigh-length jacket with a matching pleated skirt short enough to reveal a well-turned ankle.
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In seeking to fill your mind, I omitted to instruct you in the opposite exercise. This small book is for your daily writings, when the day is newborn and before you embark upon the richness of study and intellectual encounter. My instruction, Maisie, is to simply write a page each day. There is no set subject, save that which the waking mind has held close in sleep.
"Lord Compton has received word from the War Office that our horses are to be inspected for service this week.... I *cannot* let them go. I don't want to be unpatriotic, but they are my hunters." ... "Lady Compton. Our sympathies. The country needs one hundred and sixty-five thousand horses, but we need them to be fit, strong and able to be of service on the battlefield."
... the veil that was lifted in the early hours, of the all-seeing eye that was open before the day was awake. The hours before dawn were the sacred time, before the intellect rose from slumber. At this time one's inner voice could be heard. (p. 25)
... consider the nature of a mask. We all have our masks ... (p. 223)
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This Work is the first volume of Jacqueline Winspears' "Maisie Dobbs" Series (2003). Please distinguish it from Winspear's "Mysterious Profile" of the title character, which shares the Maisie Dobbs title but was written exclusively for the Mysterious Bookshop (#25 in a Series) and published in

limited, numbered or lettered editions.
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Private detective Maisie Dobbs must investigate the reappearance of a dead man who turns up at a cooperative farm called the Retreat that caters to men who are recovering their health after World War I.

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