As this second book in the popular series opens, Maisie Dobbs is hired by a self-made wealthy man, Joseph Waite, to find and return his unmarried daughter Charlotte to his home without involving the police. It seems a fairly straightforward case until one of Charlotte Waite's friends is found murdered immediately after Maisie's assistant Billy questions her. And when the murder is further connected to the murder of another woman who was once in the same social circle as Charlotte Waite and Lydia Fisher, the need to find Charlotte Waite and to uncover the connection between the women becomes imperative. As she searches for Charlotte and investigates the murders of Lydia Fisher and Philippa Sedgewick, there are many other things going on in Maisie's personal life as well. Her father has a terrible accident and she is forced to face his aging and mortality and to examine the state of their relationship. Her assistant Billy Beale, normally a cheery sort when not in pain from his lingering war wound, has changed and is causing Maisie worry. To top it off, Joseph Waite is being most impatient for the resolution of the case for which he's hired Maisie even as he's not being entirely truthful with her.
As in the first novel, Maisie uses non-traditional methods of deduction to give her insight into both Charlotte's dsappearance and the murders she was not hired to investigate. She relies on intuition, meditation, and deeply reflective thinking in addition to the careful attention to minute detail that one might expect. She is also quite well versed in psychology and the mental damage caused by the war. Her background both in service and in the war as a nurse serve her well as she works towards uncovering the murderer and perhaps more importantly than the murderer, the motive behind the killings. She herself is a symbol of the rapidly changing economy and social structure in the wake of the Great War, a herald of people and things to come. Maisie Dobbs is an intelligent woman and a likable character. The mystery itself was less interesting to me than her personal story and the motive behind the murders was in fact fairly easily discovered by anyone with any knowledge of World War I. But it in general it was a quite enjoyable read and I will look forward to further time spent with the insightful Miss Dobbs.
For more information about Jacqueline Winspear and her newest book book check out her website or her Facebook page. Follow the rest of the blog tour or look at the amazon reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book. Also, in celebration of her latest release, there are several chats taking place with Jacqueline Winspear. Join in on Goodreads on March 12 and listen in to the Book Club Girl Show On Air on March 18 at 7pm EST for more on what's coming next for Maisie.
Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours for reminding me that this book had spent far too long sitting unread on my shelves and giving me the impetus to finally read it.