Thursday, February 16, 2006


Birds of a Feather, Jacqueline Winspear, Soho Press, 2004, 309 pp

Another mystery, another reading group pick and another disappointment. Maisie Dobbs is a young English woman in 1930s London. She is a private investigator who is also trained by a mentor in the psychological practices of the times. She is a "good girl", very prim and proper and much too good for me. Winspear tries to make her modern for her times by giving her a red MG and making her single. (She lost her lover to amnesia in WWI and still visits him at his sanitarium monthly.)

It was all done correctly: the descriptions, the issues, even the characters, but it never really grabbed me. The most annoying aspect was the way the mystery was revealed. The author would let Maisie discover a clue but then withhold it from the reader. I like to feel that I am working alongside the investigator and that I am allowed inside her mind. Maisie kept her distance as she did in every other aspect of her life.


  1. Anonymous8:42 AM

    I'm not sure if you read the first Maisie Dobbs book too. I find that they are not all that strong as mysteries, but having read all 3 - I think that the author's main purpose is an psychological exploration of the after effects of war on the people involved and the people around them. The mystery is somewhat incidental, I think!

  2. Dear Karen,

    Thanks for your insight here. Having read so much war fiction, I can understand what you are saying.