Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Maisie Dobbs

I'm not that much of a mystery reader. I have nothing against the genre, but for whatever reason, I only seem to dip into it once in a while. What's more is that I've even passed up books in the past, thinking, "Oh, I don't know if I feel like a mystery...". That was the reaction I had whenever I would come across Maisie Dobbs in the bookstore. I was drawn to its post-WWI England setting (I promise I'll move on to a new fictional time and place soon), but always put it down, not quite in the mood to follow Maisie, a maid-turned-battlefield nurse-turned-detective, track down her latest case. I recently read a couple of glowing reviews of it, though, so I finally decided to give it a try.

I was hoping to love this book, if only for its upstairs/ downstairs theme. I think I only managed to like it, however. Although Maisie is logically a very likable character, I didn't feel any strong connection to her. The case she's trying to solve is framed around a large flashback to Maisie's own personal history, which is the more compelling part of the story. As the first book in a series, it's clear that the author was trying to fully introduce Maisie and set her up for future adventures, but the mystery plot suffered as a result, seeming to be relegated to left field and lacking any real sense of drama or tension. I came away with the sense that it was a pleasant story, but not one that I felt personally invested in. I may read another in the series sometime, but I'm not running out right this minute to do so. Which is probably just as well. I don't exactly need more fuel for my Downton- era obsession.

What's your take on mysteries? Do you like to read them? Do you have any favorite authors?


  1. I agree with the wanting-to-like it...I want to like it, if only for the Downton-esque vibe! I totally agree with your take on the mystery genre--it is so hard to do well, so hard to not make formulaic. I end up like "mysterious" books that are not exactly in the genre, like mysterious adventures, or mysterious dystopian stories, mysterious small-town-feel-good novels, even! But mysteries themselves? Meh. (usually).

  2. i'm not a mystery person either, but i recommend "lost in a good book". saw that in a bookstore, and thought, "that's me!" it's by jasper fforde. it's really fun! see what you think. happy reading!



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