Written by Jacqueline Winspear, this historical mystery series is about Maisie Dobbs who got her start as a maid in an aristocratic London household when she was thirteen. Her employer, suffragette Lady Rowan Compton, soon became her patron, taking the remarkably bright youngster under her wing.
Lady Rowan’s friend, Maurice Blanche, often retained as an investigator by the European elite, recognized Maisie’s intuitive gifts and helped her earn admission to the prestigious Girton College in Cambridge, where Maisie planned to complete her education.
The outbreak of war changed everything. Maisie trained as a nurse, then left for France to serve at the Front, where she found-and lost-an important part of herself. Ten years after the Armistice, in the spring of 1929, Maisie sets out on her own as a private investigator, one who has learned that coincidences are meaningful, and truth elusive.
How to read the Maisie Dobbs Series in Order?
Although each book in the Maisie Dobbs series may be read independently from one another, the lives of the various characters change as the series progresses.
- Maisie Dobbs – Maisie strikes out on her own as a private detective following World War I. However, Maisie’s very first assignment-which at first glance seems like a routine infidelity case-quickly discovers a much darker web of secrets, forcing her to reflect on the horrors of the Great War and the love she left behind.
- Birds of a Feather – In the spring of 1930, Maisie has been recruited to track down an heiress who has gone missing. But when three of the heiress’s old pals are discovered dead, what at first appears to be a straightforward case quickly becomes more intricate. Is there a link between the killings and the woman’s unexplained disappearance? Three young women who seemed respectable-who would want to assassinate them?
- Pardonable Lies – Sir Cecil Lawton approaches Maisie Dobbs for assistance after hearing his wife’s deathbed plea. Agnes Lawton, as Maisie quickly discovers, never came to terms with the fact that her aviator son was killed in the Great War. This agony drove her not only to the brink of insanity but also to the entrance of those who engage in dark arts and communicate with the afterlife. Maisie’s respect for her instructor, Maurice Blanche, and her spiritual strength are put to the test when she accepts the task.
- Messenger of Truth – London, 1931. Nicholas Bassington-Hope dies the night before his new, highly anticipated exhibition opens at a renowned Mayfair gallery. Though Georgina, the deceased man’s twin sister, isn’t persuaded, the police pronounce the fall to have been an accident. Georgina takes matters into her own hands when the authorities shut the investigation by going for Maisie Dobbs, a fellow Girton College alumna.
- An Incomplete Revenge – Maisie Dobbs is glad to take an ostensibly simple job to examine a prospective land acquisition with the nation suffering from economic stagnation. Her investigations lead her to a charming town in Kent during hop-picking season, but beyond its bucolic exterior, she discovers signs of trouble. Unbelievably often, mysterious fires break out in the community, and a string of minor offenses point to a more sinister criminal force at play.
- Among the Mad – On Christmas Eve of 1931, Maisie Dobbs finds herself in a race against time to track down a guy who has the expertise and motivation to murder and destroy thousands of innocent people. Maisie has to negotiate a darkness she hasn’t seen since working as a nurse in hospitals full of guys who are traumatized by shell shock before this terrifying case is done.
- The Mapping of Love and Death – When Maisie Dobbs is recruited to investigate a case involving love and death during World War II, she uncovers a tragic relationship between a young cartographer and an enigmatic nurse.
- A Lesson in Secrets – In the summer of 1932. When Maisie Dobbs accepts an undercover job overseen by the Secret Service and Scotland Yard’s Special Branch, her career takes an exciting new turn. She is dispatched to a private college in Cambridge, where she poses as a junior professor, to look into a network of operations being carried out by the newly formed Nazi party.
- Elegy for Eddie – In her most intimate case to date, Maisie Dobbs delves into the vicious murder of a street vendor, leading her from the working-class areas of her upbringing into the most influential circles in London.
- Leaving Everything Most Loved – 1933. An Indian gentleman who has traveled to England to try to figure out who killed his sister two months ago contacts Maisie Dobbs. There is cause to suspect that Scotland Yard did not carry out a comprehensive investigation because they did not make any arrests in the case. A few hours before an interview, another Indian lady is killed, making the case much more difficult.
- A Dangerous Place – Spring 1937. Maisie Dobbs has gone through love, contentment, security, and the worst tragedy a woman can go through in the four years since she left England. Now, a vicious murder in Gilbraltar, a British garrison town, draws the detective into a labyrinth of peril, treachery, and lies.
- Journey to Munich – Maisie Dobbs is back in England in early 1938. On a beautiful but cool morning, Jane is stopped by Secret Service agents Brian Huntley and Robert MacFarlane as she makes her way to Fitzroy Square, a location filled with many memories. She is dispatched to Hitler’s Germany in order to pick up a British person from the Munich suburb of Dachau.
- In This Grave Hour – Sunday September 3rd 1939. As Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announces Britain’s declaration of war against Germany to the country, a top Secret Service member breaks into Maisie Dobbs’ apartment to wait for her to come home. Finding the murderer of a man who fled occupied Belgium as a little kid, some twenty-three years previously during the Great War, is Dr. Francesca Thomas’s urgent task for Maisie.
- To Die but Once – In the months that follow Britain’s declaration of war against Germany, Maisie Dobbs looks into the case of a teenage apprentice who vanished while working undercover for the government. The case serves as a reminder of the unbreakable link between money and war as Maisie’s inquiry takes her from the quiet Hampshire countryside to the web of wartime opportunism used by one of the most powerful men in the London underworld.
- The American Agent – British officials withhold the news of Catherine Saxon’s death when she is found killed in her London apartment while covering the European War for the American Correspondent Association. Acting as a pivotal point between Scotland Yard and the Secret Service, Robert MacFarlane visits Maisie Dobbs in an attempt to enlist her assistance. Mark Scott, the American who aided Maisie in fleeing Hitler’s Munich in 1938, is with him. MacFarlane urges Maisie to collaborate with Scott in order to ascertain the cause of Saxon’s demise.
- The Consequences of Fear – October 1941. Young Freddie Hackett, a messenger for a government agency, sees a murderous argument while out on delivery. Waiting until it’s safe to move, Freddie crouches in the doorway of a destroyed house. However, he is startled to see the murderer when he gets to the delivery destination.
- A Sunlit Weapon – October 1942. The fastest fighter plane in the world, the Supermarine Spitfire, is being delivered to Biggin Hill Aerodrome by Jo Hardy, a 22-year-old ferry pilot, when she notices gunfire coming from the ground. Walking back to the spot, she discovers an American serviceman gagged and chained in a barn. After she saves him, the guy is turned over to the US military police, where it soon becomes apparent that he is being investigated for the soldier’s disappearance.
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