I’ve honestly never had the slightest interest in World War I, and yet somehow I managed to read two books about it in a row. Maisie Dobbs is a servant who spends her evenings sneaking into her master’s library to read. When she’s discovered, the lady of the house decides that Maisie’s intelligence is worth nurturing, and so she sponsors her education. Everything’s going along swimmingly for Maisie, until World War I starts and she decides to leave university to become a nurse. She goes to the front, falls in love, tragedy strikes, etc., and eventually, a decade or so later, she becomes a private investigator. Her first case leads her to The Retreat, a commune for WWI vets who were disfigured or injured and no longer feel comfortable in the world at large.
I love a good mystery, but I’ve never enjoyed war stories. With Maisie Dobbs, however, I really enjoyed the section on her childhood and WWI, but the mystery didn’t do it for me–it was a little dull. It’s a cozy, and maybe those just aren’t my bag. Maisie’s a good character, and I liked the way she used body language and physical cues to form bonds with the people she’s investigating.
I’d be willing to give other books in this series a try though, if it weren’t for the way the people in this book talk. They repeat themselves and they say each other’s names incessantly. That’s a huge pet peeve of mine. People in real life don’t address each other by name every other sentence, so it drives me crazy when people do it in books! This book is one of the worst offenders I’ve ever read. Sometimes a person would say the name of the person they were talking to TWICE IN THE SAME SENTENCE. No one does that! NO ONE DOES THAT.
As much as I enjoyed certain parts of this book, I don’t think the Maisie Dobbs series is for me, unless someone out there who’s read them can assure me that in later books, the people actually talk like real people.