Birds of a Feather is book 2 in the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear
Quick Review (read on for full review)
An interesting mystery and an interesting setting, but not my favourite cosy mystery series…at least not yet. The series has potential and I’m hoping I’ll warm to Maisie the more I read. 2.5 / 5
Summary (from back of book)
London, 1929. Joseph Waite is a man who knows what he wants. With his Havana cigars and Savile Row suits, he is one of Britain’s wealthiest men. And the last thing he needs is a scandal. When his unmarried daughter runs away from home, he is determined to keep the case away from the police and the newspapers. So he turns to a woman renowned for her discretion and investigative powers – the extraordinary Maisie Dobbs.
Maisie soon discovers that there are many reasons why Charlotte Waite might have left home, and instinctively feels the woman is in safe hands. Yet the investigator suddenly finds herself confronting a murder scene.
“Simply and only, simply and only. Everything and nothing are simple, as you know.”
(From Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear, page 128)
I read the first book in this series last year and was, quite disappointedly, underwhelmed by it. I had seen so many great reviews of the series, and the main character, Maisie Dobbs, seems to be a fairly popular heroine, and I hoped the stories would pick up.
So how did I find this next book in the series? On the one hand, it was better than the first, the major point in its favour being it lacked the huge info dump in the middle. And my favourite character has to be Billy Beale – I think he’s great, genuine, authentic; a character that comes across as real and believable.
But…I don’t like Maisie. She comes across as cold, judgemental, interfering and sometimes a little manipulative, even though we are repeatedly told she is lonely, kind, intelligent and compassionate. It also didn’t help that she all of a sudden appears to possess psychic and clairsentient abilities, something I did not remember at all from the first book. I recalled there was a bit about eastern mysticism and meditation, but that’s all. And I’m still not a fan of Maurice Blanche – he’s too wonderful and perfect as a mentor. A Know It All, who Maisie relies upon too much.
The storyline itself was good and interesting, though I deduced the culprit pretty early on but it was entertaining to see how they might be apprehended. Also the narrative contained enough historical description to bring the period and the setting to life, which was one of the highlights of the book.
The big question is, will I read anymore from this series? My answer would probably be no if I hadn’t already purchased a good number of books in the series. My philosophy at present is, I’ve already bought them so I might as well read them, whilst living in hope of being able to find what so many others seem to enjoy in them. And I really do want to enjoy them. They are set in a period I enjoy reading about, with a main character whose adventures I would usually find entertaining. Fingers crossed, things get better with book 3…
This was such a hard book to rate. I gave Maisie Dobbs 3.5 stars (you can find my review here), which is more than I thought, and not being able to decide whether it would be 2 or 3 this time round, I opted for half way. It seemed fair.