Monday, November 21, 2011

Dulce et decorum est...

On to the next mystery series featuring a smart female detective! The latest one I've found takes place in the aftermath of the Great War, so naturally it's right up my alley.

Maisie Dobbs makes her debut as a detective in the first book, which details the title character's story: a working-class girl with a keen intellect is given a chance to study and go to university; then World War I breaks out and she becomes a nurse on the frontlines. The reader learns of her story ten years later, when the immediate legacy of the Great War sets the backdrop for our new sleuth's first case. The book is a poignant tribute to the Lost Generation as well as a testament to survivors and strength to rebuild both personal lives and a more egalitarian postwar society.

In Birds of a Feather, Maisie is hired to find a missing heiress whose three friends have just been murdered (and white feathers left hidden at each crime scene). I must admit, the feathers were an immediate clue early on, and I guessed both the motive and the guilty party long before the final chapters revealed them. However, while that usually discourages me from continuing a series for very long, it seemed rather trivial in this one. I love the psychologist-as-detective aspect of the two Maisie Dobbs books I've read so far, I love the fact that the heroine is my age, and I love that the series takes place in my particular pet period of history.

But the real reason I'm drawn to this series is because the main character lives on the edges of identity: a working-class family and childhood erased from her future by a Cambridge education; a woman in a traditionally male profession; a nation desperately trying to forget the War to End All Wars while being constantly reminded of the incredible loss it suffered from it.

I've ordered the rest of the books from the library!

No comments: