Publication Order of Maisie Dobbs Books
|Maisie Dobbs||(2003)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Birds of a Feather||(2004)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Pardonable Lies||(2005)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Messenger of Truth||(2006)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|An Incomplete Revenge||(2008)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Among the Mad||(2009)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Mapping of Love and Death||(2010)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|A Lesson in Secrets||(2011)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Elegy for Eddie||(2012)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Leaving Everything Most Loved||(2013)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
Maisie Dobbs Biography:
Maisie Dobbs is one of the more popular fictional female characters of the 21st century. Created by Jacqueline Winspear, Maisie Dobbs comes of age in 1920s Britain where life is very different from contemporary Britain. It is a time of devastation and recovery, despair and hope and amidst all this, comes Maisie Dobbs. A young detective who is also a psychologist, Maisie Dobbs received her early training from Dr. Maurice Blanche who took her under his wings when she was still a teenager. Maisie Dobbs has since then been trained to eventually become an investigator which she does after Dr. Maurice dies.
So far, there have been 10 books published under the Maisie Dobbs series, all set in 1920s-1930s Britain.
Book No. 1: Maisie Dobbs
This first book gives an insight into the life of Maisie Dobbs and her journey to becoming a detective. Dobbs started working very young when she became a maid in Belgravia Mansion at the age of 13. After she was found reading in her employer’s library, Lady Rowen plans to send her to college. There are lines in the book that highlight her hunger for education and her love of books. However while Lady Rowden wants to send her to college, this plan is thwarted by World War I and years later in 1929, she finds herself starting her detective agency. The book revolves around herself and her first case as an investigator.
Book No 2: Birds of a Feather
The second book in the Dobbs series came out in 2004 and now an entire year has passed since Maisie Dobbs started her one-woman agency. Now she is more mature, has more experienced and is definitely more successful. She has moved to a professional location in Fitzroy Square. The year is 1930 and Dobbs is no longer working alone. She now has a lively assistance called Billy Beale. She has achieved success in her field which is evident from winning over Detective Inspector Stratton of Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad. Dobbs has come a long way from her early days as a servant and later as a nurse. In the spring of 1930, Maisie Dobbs is asked to work on the case of runaway heiress as Stratton works on a murder case. The heiress was enviably rich and pampered but always stayed under domineering shadow of her father who refused to give her the freedom she deserved. As sign of rebellion against her father, the heiress runs away. Dobbs is asked to find the girl and bring her back when Maisie realizes that her case is closely linked to the case Stratton has been working on. And all this is linked to the Great War which Dobbs had been trying so hard to forget.
Each book in Maisie Dobbs series gives some information about the main character but it was the first book that revealed the most. So far the ten books have received positive reviews. These include: Maisie Dobbs, Birds of a Feather, Pardonable Lies and more. All these books came one year apart hence chronicling Dobbs’ progress as a detective and her growth as a person.
Maisie Dobbs, the first book, sparked people’s interest when it was chosen as one of the best mysteries on Publishers Weekly’s Best Mysteries list of 2003. It also received positive reviews in well known magazines including Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. The same year this book was awarded New York Times Notable Book of the Year 2003 and it also became an Edgar Award nominee for Best Novel 2003. Maisie Dobbs also won the Agatha award for best mysteryin 2003. In 2004, Maisie Dobbs was declared winner of Alex Award. All these acheivements indicate that this series is loved and appreciated by readers all over the world.
Maisie Dobbs is found to be both unconventional and traditional by reviewers. She is a strong woman if judged by her choice of career but she is also a weak woman at times when she appears too traditional and everything around her is presented as very rosy. For example she grew up in a poor but very loving family. She is employed by Lady Rowen who sees her thirst for education and decides to send her to college. She is trained by a very kind man Dr. Blanche who treats her as a daughter. All this sounds too good to be true and gives Maisie Dobbs an unrealistic persona at times.
Maisie Dobbs still garners great respect among her readers for her integrity and strength of character. She is not willing to do anything unlawful to make money and that gives her an edge over other similar characters. People have enjoyed the series so much that it will soon be made into a BBC television series.
What makes Dobbs’ character stand out is the fact that she is a product of World War I and Depression era. These facts give her a new dimension as she consistently connects her present with her past and tries to find out how a nation would recover from trauma of such magnitude.
Another reason why Dobbs’ character become believable is because of the fact that it was precisely in those days of trauma and tension that many women entered unconventional fields. It happened because government wanted more men fighting on the battlefield than working in factories and hence women took over various unconventional careers including construction and law enforcement. To see Dobbs becoming a detective in those times is thus not too far from truth or reality because it was indeed happening in those desperate times.
Maisie Dobbs is a believable character with her shortcomings and strengths. She may appear too good to a modern reader but if viewed in the context of times in which she took birth, her character seems very plausible. This series must therefore be enjoyed as a period novel in order to better understand Dobbs’ character. Dobbs series has consistently won over audiences in both England and the US even though these books are not as widely available in the US as they in Europe because of author’s origin.