>> Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Challenge: 2nds Challenge #1
This is the second book in the Maisie Dobbs series. When I read the first one I had described it as a gently told period piece. My only and minor disappointment in the first book of the series (Maisie Dobbs) was that there wasn’t much of a mystery to it and that it was primarily introducing the recurring characters and setting them up with their backstories. I was pleased to see that this second book has more of a mystery to be solved and that it retains the gentleness and atmosphere in the storytelling that I enjoyed so much in the first book.
When reading this book I could easily envision it unfolding in my mind much like watching a black and white movie on a rainy Saturday afternoon while curled up on the couch under a quilt with a cup of tea.
Maisie is a 30 something single woman in 1930 London working as a private investigator. She and most of the characters in the book are still coping with the aftereffects of World War I and an economic depression. This setting and time period are nearly characters themselves in the book.
The investigation that kicks off the story seems simple enough. The successful and powerful owner of a chain of shops hires Maisie to find his runaway daughter. This runaway is herself in her 30’s and this is not the first time she’s run from her father’s apparent controlling environment. Maisie begins by learning more about the missing Charlotte Waite and her friends, but when the friends keep ending up as murder victims, Maisie is soon investigating much more than a missing person case.
I liked that there was more mystery to this one, and I liked that it was a very atmospheric type of story. I was a bit annoyed by the pseudo-psychic intuition moments that Maisie has and felt that they only served to diminish her excellent investigative skills. Ultimately it’s Maisie’s investigative abilities and not her pseudo-psychic abilities that solve the case. The ongoing stories of Maisie, her father and her friends continues to be an interesting backdrop to the mystery.
I’m definitely looking forward to continuing with this series.