Monday, March 24, 2008

Birds of a Feather, the 2nd Maisie Dobbs novel

As you may know, I'm blogging about Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs mystery series. I found that the second book, Birds of a Feather, got off to a fast start, really grabbing my interest right away. I think it helped that I already "knew" Maisie from the first, eponymous book, and was interested in finding out what was happening to her "now."

The book is, naturally, very well-written and the mystery unfolds seamlessly and gradually. It is really a page-turner. Like the first book in the series, the mystery revolves around an incident that has its roots in the First World War. These books have a strong sense of place and time. Although I knew that WWI had a huge impact on Britain, I didn't realize how long-lasting that impact was. I can't imagine living surrounded by all that sorrow and loss. Of course in those days, there was not much that could be done medically for the wounded, who were encountered everywhere.

This second book is not as didactic as the first, because the reader is already grounded in the scene and times. The character development is wonderful. Maisie's progression as a private investigator is interesting, as is her novel approach for solving crimes. Maisie depends not only on concrete evidence and clues, but also on intuition and maintaining a calm mind so that she is open to whatever occurs. I continue to find this unusual and somewhat mesmerizing. I haven't encountered any other detectives who meditate.

All in all, a quite enjoyable read. I'm now in the middle of An Incomplete Revenge, Winspear's latest Maisie novel, and enjoying it immensely. I'm sorry not to be able to get to the 2nd and 3rd books in the series before the Bookfest, although I have them on my bookshelf and will be reading them later. If you're a mystery fan, I think you'll enjoy these books. I would also recommend them to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.

And I would be remiss if I didn't remind you all that the Bookfest starts this week. Jacqueline Winspear is part of a panel called:

Crime Wave: Murder, Murder Everywhere

Fri. March 28th, 8:00 PM

David Ignatius (Body of Lies), Margaret Coel (The Girl with The Braided Hair), James W. Hall (Hell's Bay) and Jacqueline Winspear (An Incomplete Revenge).

Location:Albemarle County Office Building
401 McIntire Road

Please come! I think it will be a most enjoyable session.

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