The Maisie Dobbs book series is a popular mystery and historical fiction series written by British-American author Jacqueline Winspear.
The series follows the life and career of Maisie Dobbs, a former housemaid who becomes a private investigator in London in the 1920s and 1930s.
Maisie is a smart and intuitive sleuth who uses her background in psychology and experience as a nurse during World War I to solve complex cases.
The series has gained a large following and critical acclaim for its well-crafted plots, attention to historical detail, and strong character development.
In addition to the central mystery plotlines, the books also explore the aftermath of World War I and the societal changes and challenges of the interwar period.
Jacqueline Winspear, the author of the series, was born and raised in England before moving to the United States in the 1990s.
She has published seventeen books in the Maisie Dobbs series as well as several standalone novels and non-fiction works. Winspear has won numerous awards for her writing, including the Agatha, Macavity, and Edgar Awards.
Overall, the Maisie Dobbs series offers readers a compelling and engaging mystery series set in a fascinating historical context. Whether you’re a fan of historical fiction, detective stories, or both, the Maisie Dobbs books are sure to captivate and entertain.
About Maisie Dobbs
Known for its attention to historical detail, strong character development, and exploration of themes such as loss, trauma, and social change, the Maisie Dobbs series is loved by many, and for good reason!
One of the reasons why people love the Maisie Dobbs series is its well-crafted plots that keep readers engaged and guessing until the end.
Additionally, the series offers a unique perspective on the aftermath of World War I and the societal changes and challenges of the interwar period.
Readers also appreciate the series’ strong and complex female protagonist, who challenges gender norms and defies expectations.
However, that doesn’t mean that the series is void of some criticisms, as many find that the series sometimes suffers as a result of the slow pacing and overly descriptive writing style, which some readers may find tedious.
Additionally, some have criticized the series for its somewhat formulaic approach to the mystery genre, which may feel repetitive to some readers.
So, with the series being such a popular and well-regarded mystery and historical fiction series, you can be sure that it offers readers a rich and immersive reading experience! Now, let’s take a look at the chronological order of this series!
Maisie Dobbs Books In Order
Maisie Dobbs sets up her own private investigation agency in London after serving as a nurse in World War I, and her first case takes her back to her own past.
- The characters are well described and have a “real” feeling to them
- Excellent humor throughout
- Great psychological aspects
- Maisie often seems too “perfect”
- Suspense is often ruined by the jumps to the past
Birds Of A Feather
Maisie investigates the disappearance of a wealthy young woman whose father suspects she may have become involved with a group of disreputable women.
- The relationships between characters are well-written
- The humor is just as captivating as it was in the first installment
- Characters are memorable
- The “psychic” moment used to drive the plot forward is considered to be unbelievable
- Slightly cliché at times
Maisie travels to France to investigate the deaths of three young men during the war, but the case becomes complicated when she discovers evidence that suggests the deaths were not accidental.
- Maisie’s development is gradual and interesting
- The plot is enticing and interesting
- Readers feel like each aspect of the problem is cut short, with not enough time given to close off each part
Messenger Of Truth
Maisie is hired to investigate the mysterious death of an artist, but the case becomes more complicated when she discovers a connection to a notorious racehorse trainer.
- Provides an immensely interesting look at society at the time
- Maisie’s independence is enjoyable
Readers complain that each of the perpetrators lacks any criminality, and is too soft.
An Incomplete Revenge
Maisie travels to a rural village to investigate a series of petty thefts and discovers a web of secrets and lies that goes deeper than she ever imagined.
- Explains more about Maisie’s ability
- The delve into the past doesn’t disrupt the story too much
- It’s still hard to understand why other characters are so open with Maisie when she’s a cold person on the outside
Among The Mad
Maisie investigates a series of bizarre attacks in London that appear to be the work of a mentally unstable person.
- Maisie is much more likable in this novel
- Deals with many of the difficult injustices of the time
- Maisie’s personal development seems to have slowed right down compared to previous novels
The Mapping Of Love And Death
Maisie is hired by the family of a World War I soldier to investigate his death, and her search takes her to America, where she discovers a shocking truth about his past.
- The development of Maisie’s life is good
- Other characters are enjoyable
- Suffers from the classic crime-solving plot coincidences that make it slightly easy for Maisie to solve the case
Lesson In Secrets
Maisie goes undercover as a professor at a college to investigate a potential spy, but her investigation becomes complicated when she forms a connection with one of her students.
- One of the best mysteries in the series
- Interesting romance plot
- Slow pacing lets the novel down
Elegy For Eddie
Maisie investigates the death of a man from her childhood neighborhood and discovers a community full of secrets and rivalries.
- The historical setting is well thought out
- A great set up for the next installment
- Maisie’s dramatic love life can become tiresome
Leaving Everything Most Loved
Maisie investigates the disappearance of a young Indian woman and navigates the complex social and political tensions of the time.
- One of the better mysteries of the series
- Reflects on all of the cases so far
- Some of the subplots feel pointless and disruptive
A Dangerous Place
Maisie travels to Gibraltar to recover from a personal tragedy, but she is soon drawn into a complex case involving the death of a local woman.
- A historical setting with immense political tensions works well
- Emotional plot
- The time jump can leave some fans feeling disconnected
Journey To Munich
Maisie travels to Munich to retrieve a young woman who has been imprisoned by the Nazis, but the case becomes more complicated when she uncovers a plot to start another war.
- Readers felt like this was a great return-to-character installment of the series
- The story differs from others and keeps it interesting
- The characters Maisie meets feel slightly shallow and are hard to distinguish from one another
In This Grave Hour
Maisie investigates the disappearance of a young girl during the early days of World War II and navigates the immense tensions of the war.
- Another excellent historical insight into the drama of WWII
- The plot isn’t lost due to the war
- Some readers felt like aspects of the story were over-explained
To Die But Once
Maisie investigates the disappearance of a young apprentice who may have witnessed something he shouldn’t have during the war.
- Great tension and drama
- Emotional plot
- Some may find it slightly slow
Maisie investigates a tragic murder in London with the help of the American agent who helped her to escape Munich.
- Works well as a standalone read
- Setting is perfect
- Lack of development on the detective methods Maisie uses
The Consequences Of Fear
Maisie investigates a case involving a boy messenger who believes he has witnessed a murder as the Nazis blitz Britain.
- Full of many of the series’ recurring characters that readers like
- The setting makes the mystery even more intriguing
- Lack of personal development in Maisie’s life and romance
A Sunlit Weapon
Maisie must investigate the attempted takedown of ferry pilots, and discovers that the plot may run deeper than she initially intended, and might have something to do with First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt.
- A well-resolved plot that ties up all of its threads
- A lot of filler story points that hinder plot progression
So, for a series known for its attention to historical detail, strong character development, and exploration of themes such as loss, trauma, and social change, then try out the Maisie Dobbs series!
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Book Is The Best In The Series?
Journey To Munich is commonly regarded as one of the best in the series.
Do You Need To Read The Series In Order?
While later books can sometimes be read as standalones, it is best to read them in order.
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