I have been looking for something to fill the gaps between audiobooks and I often turn to mystery novels to do so, especially ones with a strong voice and character, competent writing, and short enough to not get bogged down with. I had been reading Sue Grafton novels, but sometimes they’re a little too bland. I also was interested to sort of scoop my girlfriend on these books. She’s usually the one who knows all about a popular detective/mystery series before I do. She had already read all the Tani French novels when I got to them, she had already read all the Robert Galbraith novels before I got to them, and she’s already on top of Sherlock Holmes, PD James, Laurie King, and Agatha Christie. So I am feeling a little gloaty about finding these.
This, though, this I like quite a bit. I don’t care that much about mysteries, so much as investigation. I also really enjoy discussions of wartime/early 20th century England, but I am not always in the mood for something too terribly literary. This is like what is Downton Abbey were a Mystery series. Fairly well-written, a charming, but not annoying main character, and a compelling reason for their skill.
It’s a little on the nose for why Maisie Dobbs has her abilities, but if you start with a detective and reverse engineer their origin, this explanation is as good as any other. I like that she’s intelligent and thoughtful and considerate of an ethics and morality.
The writing is strong and competent. It reminds me a little of Kate Atkinson in terms of style, but more so the Life After Life books more than the Jackson Brodie novels.
I was also compelled by the covers of these books. Each is an illustrated, kind of colorfully opaque cover.