I picked up "Maisie Dobbs" at After Words in Chicago with the birthday coupon they send me every year. I try to buy something fairly new that I have not heard about before. This was an easy choice - you know I love mysteries and don't read many that feature a female lead.
Maisie Dobbs is set in England after WWI. While Maisie studied at Cambridge and has the smarts to be a detective she is from humble beginnings. After her mother's death, her father is not able to support his family and asks one of his customers to give his daughter a job as a maid. Yes, things work out and Maisie is taken under the wing of the family but it's not all sunshine and daisies. Maisie volunteers for service as a nurse in WWI and is sent to France.
I was reminded of the "Lyre of Orpheus" while reading this book because of the passage that struck me about reading providing the reader with experiences. Ok, not the real thing because I was not actually in WWI but reading fiction about it gives some background on what a terrible time it was. "Maisie Dobbs" is no Regeneration/Pat Barker but you still get a sense of the cost of WWI. Especially to the people left behind to make sense of what happened.
The author does a really good job in the first installment of providing just enough background about Maisie and her cast of characters to keep you wanting more. The case is interwoven with Maisie's background and her family friends. Every good detective needs a good team and sidekick! I'll be continuing with this series.
(My only complaint was with the editing ---- why does Maisie "tilt" her head constantly? If it bothers me, as a reader, why did an editor not pick up on this repetition?).