April 6, 2010

Maisie Dobbs - Audio

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
Mystery - Audio Book
2005 Sound Library
Finished on 3/17/10
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)

Product Description

Young, feisty Maisie Dobbs has recently set herself up as a private detective. Such a move may not seem especially startling. But this is 1929, and Maisie is exceptional in many ways. Having started as a maid to the London aristocracy, studied her way to Cambridge and served as a nurse in the Great War, Maisie has wisdom, experience and understanding beyond her years. Little does she realise the extent to which this strength of character is soon to be tested. For her first case forces her to uncover secrets long buried, and to confront ghosts from her own past...In Maisie, Jacqueline Winspear has created a character that readers will immediately take to their hearts. Her first case combines a gripping investigation with a moving portrait of love and loss. It marks the beginning of a wonderful new detective series.

I was surprised when I couldn't find my review for Maisie Dobbs on my blog. Going back through my reading journals, I discovered it's been a bit longer than I thought since I read the book--August 2005, to be precise. Winspear has just released her seventh book (The Mapping of Love and Death), and wanting to read more in this series (as I hear they improve the further into the series one gets), I decided it was time for a re-read. After such a great experience listening to The Help a couple of months ago, I decided to give Winspear's book a listen. I am so glad I went this route, as the reader (Rita Barrington) was outstanding! The characters sprang to life and I was completely engrossed in the mystery, as well as the surrounding details of Maisie's past. I enjoyed the reading so well, I rushed to the library as soon as I'd finished and checked out a copy of Birds of a Feather (on audio), which is proving to be just as entertaining!

Here's a little more about the book from the author's website:

Maisie Dobbs, Psychologist and Investigator, began her working life at the age of thirteen as a servant in a Belgravia mansion, only to be discovered reading in the library by her employer, Lady Rowan Compton. Fearing dismissal, Maisie is shocked when she discovers that her thirst for education is to be supported by Lady Rowan and a family friend, Dr. Maurice Blanche. But The Great War intervenes in Maisie's plans, and soon after commencement of her studies at Girton College, Cambridge, Maisie enlists for nursing service overseas.

Years later, in 1929, having apprenticed to the renowned Maurice Blanche, a man revered for his work with Scotland Yard, Maisie sets up her own business. Her first assignment, a seemingly tedious inquiry involving a case of suspected infidelity, takes her not only on the trail of a killer, but back to the war she had tried so hard to forget.

Prior to the creation of this blog, my reviews were simple journal entries, and as you can see below, I didn't have much to say when I read this in 2005:

Fairly quick read. Enjoyable. Didn't love it, but would recommend it. Maisie reminds me of the main character in The Tea Rose. Rating: 4/5 Very Good

I'm a little surprised that I gave it such a good rating the first time around. Turns out to be the same rating I've given the audio, which I thought I enjoyed more than the book. Go figure.

I'm almost finished with Birds of a Feather, and I plan to listen to Pardonable Lies next. Wouldn't this make for a fun tv series?

My good friend, Nan (of Letters from a Hill Farm), wrote the following about this wonderful series:

Someday I'd like to read them all again, one right after the other, to immerse myself in Maisie's time and place. Jacqueline Winspear has given us such a gift: an appealing, interesting, complex heroine, intriguing mysteries, and much information about society and life in this particular time period. If you haven't read the books, you'll want to begin at the beginning for time progresses, Maisie ages, life moves forward. This is a wonderful installment in a much-beloved collection of books.

You can find Nan's reviews here, here, and here.

Now to find a good excuse to spend more time in my car, so I can listen to all of these great audiobooks!


  1. Everyone seems to love this series - I really need to give it a try.

  2. Well, I was almost afraid to come read this, fearing it wouldn't be your 'cuppa.' :<) So very pleased you liked it, Les. And thank you for all the links to my book reports!! I have a friend who is going through a divorce just now, and I've loaned her all my Maisie books. They are just the ticket for her. She is loving the character and the stories. I'm first on the library list for the new one!

  3. Kathy - I recommend listening to the first in the series. You really get a sense of place and the depth of the characters through the reader's voice.

    Nan - I really do think I enjoyed the audio better than the book, in spite of the identical rating for the two. Lucky you to be so close to getting a copy from the library. Enjoy!

  4. Maise is one of my favorite characters of all time! I have so enjoyed this series and actually own all 6 books in hardback. In my Easter bag from my husband last weekend was a gift certificate to B&N and guess what I am buying?! :) I can't wait. I agree with Nan, someday I will have to read them all one right after the other. There is so much to like about this series--strong female character with a complicated personal life, strong supporting characters that reappear in each novel, good mysteries, and such a rich wealth of information of the time period. I hope to have my new book by this Saturday for the read-a-thon.
    PS--my husband is a mailman and listens to tons of books on audio--even he likes this series and it isn't his typical genre!

  5. I bought book one because of Nan and have yet to get to it!! Listening to it on audio sounds like a winning idea though!!!

  6. Anonymous6:00 PM

    I have read this one and meant to get to the next in the series. I think you've convinced me to listen to them. I'll get them for my iPod I think and listen while I walk.

  7. When I read Maisie Dobbs in January, I also chose the audio - and am so glad I did. The reader was perfect for the book! I'll keep listening to this series.

  8. Kim - Wow. You're quite a fan, too! I plan to listen to all of them back-to-back. And, yes, Maisie really is a strong female character.

    Kay - Good idea. I need to put my audios on my iPod so I can listen while I walk, too. Might make it a little complicated listening to the discs in the car and then fast-forwarding to get where I left off on my iPod, but I'm sure I'll get the hang of it.

    JoAnn - Just a heads-up--the reader for Birds of a Feather isn't the same as in Maisie Dobbs. I like her well enough, but she's not as good as Rita Barrington.

  9. Staci - Either way, book or audio, you gotta get started on this series. Maisie's a great character!

  10. I love this series too and have really enjoyed seeing how Maisie's character has grown throughout the books. I can't wait to read the new one!

  11. Iliana - I've seen a remarkable change in Maisie's maturity just between book one and two. I really need to transfer these to my iPod so I can listen while I walk. My car trips are just too short since they're just around town.


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