While I enjoyed the first in this series, this second book has me wondering if I really want to continue reading about Maisie Dobbs The mysticism woo used by Maisie to sense things is really becoming wearing and unnecessary if Maisie is supposed to be so bright, intuitive, and observing of her surroundings, this extra centering and feeling the hand of a dead person on her shoulder is jarring and silly There are also subplots with Maisie s father and partner that feel tacked on and, quite frankly, poorly distract from the actual case solving The one feels very much like LOOK AT WHAT I FOUND IN MY RESEARCH, ISN T THAT INTERESTING and does not organically spring from that character.
My larger problem is that I really don t LIKE most of the characters in this series Maisie often comes off as cold and socially well, not inept, exactly More like bizarre In this book, for instance, someone teases her jokingly and Maisie s response is indignant and almost shocked and strangely so, even for the time There is a strength and stubbornness that an investigator needs to possess in order to gain information, but in Maisie that s coupled with an arrogance and condescension that while not yet insufferable, makes me hesitate to continue reading about her I m likewise not so thrilled with her partner often there for Maisie to bounce ideas off of in a condescending way , her father passive aggressive , or teacher dude would be a Magical Negro if he were black, my god Mostly, everyone feels like a 2 dimensional cut out and not fully fleshed people.
I have the third in this series on hold at the library and will hesitantly give it a whirl.
I so want to like this series I feel like I should like this series, that I m the target audience and there is something wrong with me that I don t like this series But I don t like Maisie Dobbs At all She s a cold, self centered woman with few redeeming qualities and the good fortune to be fictional and therefore able to ignore her numerous failings due to an author who wants to make her something wonderful In short, she s the literary equivalent of a spoiled, lazy, not at all bright teenager who gets into Harvard because of a legacy After finishing this book, I made a list of what I didn t like about this book don t worry, it s not exhaustive so that, whenever I start to think I should give this series another chance, I can read this list and remember why that would be a waste of good reading What follows contains some small spoilers, but since I don t think the book is worth reading, I don t feel particularly bad about possibly ruining this book seriously, don t read it 1 I don t care how many times an author tells me a character is smart That doesn t convince me Show me a character is smart I can say I m 6 1 all I want, but that doesn t make me 6 1.
2 On a related note, when a character is supposed to be smart, don t drop massive clues, have said character ignore said clues for one hundred pages, and then suddenly remember them when it s convenient for the story That makes the character looks stupid.
3 When an author bases a scene or resolution off what one character says or does, please make sure said action would make a normal person step back and go yep, understand why that would evoke that reaction Having a character go into a murderous rampage because someone gives him a slice of cake doesn t make sense unless it s explained, for example, that the government programmed that person to go into a murderous rampage if served cake As a reader, I want to understand a book I don t want to have to create my own explanations to make a plot or scene work.
4 When a murderer snaps several years after an event, it d be nice to know what set him off.
5 I like suspense but only if used properly When used properly, it s a great addition to a story When not used correctly like when the information being withheld ties in directly to the title of the book and in no way reveals the denouement say, for example, identical feathers found at crime scenes in a book titled Birds of a Feather , it just makes a story tedious Put another way Not immediately revealing who owned the knife found at the murder scene and not revealing related information that would give away the mystery Good use of suspense Waiting one hundred pages to reveal a knife was the murder weapon and treating it as super mysterious when it doesn t reveal anything and is easy to figure out with the information given Not a good use of suspense.
6 Love triangles are overused, but, when used correctly, I always forgive the overuse and eagerly lap up the drama However, crucifying one character to build a triangle, telling the audience why they should like a character without giving any examples as to why, and using the device as a way to put in a cheap, unnecessary cliffhanger are not acceptable uses of a love triangle and remind me why I d like them to become the exception rather than the rule in storytelling.
7 Also, if an author must have a love triangle in a story, it d be nice if the person at the center does not seem like a cold, heartless fish As a reader, I want to understand why two men are attracted to one woman and both pursue her Telling me that Betsy is a vicarious, funny woman doesn t convince me she is especially when the book contains no examples of that and doesn t show me why two men are fighting over her Said conflict is evendifficult to believe when the author points out repeatedly that the story is set in post WWI England and available women outnumber men by a considerable degree.
8 Using feelings to advance a story Nope Sorry Yes, I m all about rooms giving off a certain vibe and going off gut instincts But when an author uses meditation and mysticism in place of actual investigating, I don t like it It seems cheap.
9 Emotional scenes put in for no reason other than to take up page space and make a character seem deep Nope Don t do it Especially when an author can t even let that melodramatic story tell itself excerpts of brief, meaningless conversations about a problem suddenly invented are not fun to read and do not move me to any emotion other than annoyance.
10 If a character is suffering from a drug addiction and withdrawal, there needs to be some actual consequence Having them absolutely fine whenever they are needed Weak I want consequences Under this logic, Achilles still had a weak heel but it didn t matter, and he won anyway What s the point of that Those are the major points about why I didn t like this book To boil it all down and I could have put this earlier, but certain books just bring out a need to rant Like the first one, this has all of the pieces of a good mystery but the actual product is not good I can t quite believe such a great premise is not only so badly executed but has spanned an as of 2011 eight book series What am I missing That s the real mystery Not recommended.
I really grew tired of the plot device whereby the author hid essential information from the reader that Maisie had in order to keep me from figuring out the mystery Maisie sat down with Mr Jones and began to ask the questions that had been forming since she d met with Mr Smith When she left the office an hour later, the pieces were finally starting to fall into place That s just a paraphrase, but it happened over and over We are never privy to her thought processes, the identification of items she finds at the the crime scene, the reasoning for her hunch that so and so is lying, etc But instead of having that all tumble in at the end deus ex machina style, which I don t like either, we get teased throughout the book Maisie s hand closed around something small under the cushion, but she slipped it quickly into her handkerchief I guess the mystery couldn t hold up to the reader s scrutiny just as in the first book, if I d learned of the clues at the same time as Maisie, I could have solved the mystery probably a third of the way through.
I was a bit disappointed with this sequel to the introductory Maisie Dobbs novel It s a good cosy mystery but not great Maisie is finding her feet as a fledgling private detective in post WWI London and the author seems to be doing the same with this series Maisie is an interesting character as an independent woman in the 1920s, but she is seemingly without flaws and human weaknesses and always perfectly groomed and turned out There is also an element of psychic powers creeping in where Maisie closes her eyes and senses what happened before in the room used as a device to move the plot on, which I found not very believable The story involves a missing heiress, Charlotte Waite, who has run away from home When Maisie discovers that three of Charlotte s closest friends have died, she must discover what happened in the past to lead to these deaths and send Charlotte into hiding Overall, a solid but somewhat slow cosy mystery The series is highly rated so I ll continue with it in the hope of improved plots and character development.
I really enjoyed this It s a murder mystery set between WWI and WWII in England Maisie is a self employed PI She s been hired by a very wealthy man to find his adult daughter, who was single and lived at home Maisie discovers this woman has had several friends who have been murdered Reading this reminded me of watching a Masterpiece Mystery on PBS It has no bloody violence or gore Just a good old fashioned murder mystery I bought this book many years ago and did not realize it is 2 in a series but the author did fill in a bit that is probably in the first book I will definitely keep any eye out for the 3rd book.
Have you ever stayed up late to finish a book not because you re enjoying it but because you want to put yourself out of some misery That s this novel This was a real struggle to finish It s not awful, but it shows none of the command of characters, plot, action, really everything that matters in a great novel that the first Maisie Dobbs book I encountered possessed I read Leaving Everything Most Loved last year and enjoyed it immensely, snatching up this one for my to read list and got around it to it a couple of weeks ago Based on LEML, I was expecting Maisie to be the same interesting and different from the usual British PI character other authors have created, and I was expecting a mystery that made sense, and was neither too difficult nor too easy to figure out, and supporting characters that were authentic Silly me, I thought, if book 10 is good, book 1 must be excellent Don t make the same mistake Some writers don t hit their stride for awhile, whether due to editing, finding their voice, or whatever, and Winspear is in this camp Back to Birds of a Feather Maisie spends the entire novel traveling from place to place The emphasis on feeling the vibes in this place or that made her seem quacky and not intelligent, in contrast to the Maisie we encounter in later books in the series I didn t buy the actions of the target of her investigation, Charlotte, at all, because they seemed to serve only as a plot device and not consistent with how a real person in the same context would behave The various male characters were not believable from Maisie s father to Inspector Stratton to Waite, the man who engages Maisie on this investigation Harumph is all I can say, although I suppose I ve said substantially .
Reading a Maisie Dobbs book is like eating comfort food There are such good supporting roles Maurice Blanche, Lady Rowan, her father, Billy, andare being added It s nice facing life s challenges with such a crew bouying you up, I imagine Reading this story helped me reflect on my own supporters We are such a result of those whom we love and associate with, even those from whom we seem naturally repelled Each day we re torn down in new ways, built up in others, morphing into better creatures, we hope.
I had to chuckle at the book s plug for Pilates Yes, it takes a novel to convince me to finally give it another try We are taught in our own language, aren t we Mine seems to be booksthan anything So, to the library Pilates collection, I say Here I come Winspear adds such beef to my understanding of wartime and its effects I really loved Lady Rowan s remark about how war isn t really over when it ends , but continues on in the living So true I m glad she said it so much better.