Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear


The second in the series of Maisie Dobbs books was at least as satisfying as the first. I was surprised how much I enjoyed revisiting the exceptional Maisie, but it was a lovely companion to kitchen work, walking, and weeding. Maisie, the former housemaid in a grand house, graduate of a Cambridge women’s college, and nurse in France during The Great War, has become a private investigator. This one is set around 1930; the hard economic times are acknowledged, but the main focus once again is the aftermath of the war.

The characters are tailored to meet the author’s plot needs, still, there’s sympathy and understanding for some of the less than sterling ones. Maisie is called upon to find the daughter of a wealthy businessman who escaped/disappeared from his house. When Maisie realizes that three of her finishing school chums from the early war years have died, she begins to understand why the daughter disappeared.

A couple of side matters include Maisie’s realization that in her own life she has begun to shut out her beloved father. Her valued assistant Billy has developed a drug problem due to the pain from war wounds. But of course Maisie takes on these difficulties along with her main focus.

Jacqueline Winspear, Birds of a Feather, Soho Press, 2004, 360 pages (I listened to the audiobook version). Available from the UVa and public libraries and from Amazon.

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