- One of Publishers Weeklys Best Mysteries of 2003
- Booksense 76 Top Ten pick
- Starred reviews in both Publishers Weekly and Library Journal
- New York Times Notable Book of the Year 2003
- Edgar Award nominee for Best Novel 2003
- Agatha Award winner for Best First Novel 2003
Maisie Dobbs, Psychologist and Investigator, began her working life at the age of thirteen as a servant in a Belgravia mansion, only to be discovered reading in the library by her employer, Lady Rowan Compton. Fearing dismissal, Maisie is shocked when she discovers that her thirst for education is to be supported by Lady Rowan and a family friend, Dr. Maurice Blanche. But The Great War intervenes in Maisie's plans, and soon after commencement of her studies at Girton College, Cambridge, Maisie enlists for nursing service overseas.
Years later, in 1929, having apprenticed to the renowned Maurice Blanche, a man revered for his work with Scotland Yard, Maisie sets up her own business. Her first assignment, a seemingly tedious inquiry involving a case of suspected infidelity, takes her not only on the trail of a killer, but back to the war she had tried so hard to forget.
Also available in audio and e-book formats
Soho Press, Hardcover (July 2003), ISBN-13: 978-1569473306
Penguin Books, Paperback (May 2004), ISBN-13: 9780142004333
"There's something strange about the title character of Jacqueline Winspear's deft debut novel, Maisie Dobbs, which opens in London in 1929. For a clever and resourceful young woman who has just set herself up in business as a private investigator, Maisie seems a bit too sober and much too sad. Romantic readers sensing a story-within-a-story won't be disappointed at the sensitivity and wisdom with which Maisie resolves her first professional assignment, an apparent case of marital infidelity that turns out to be a wrenching illustration of the sorrowful legacies of World War I.
'My job is rather more complex than you might have imagined,' says Maisie, citing her moral responsibility to restore some equilibrium to the people whose lives she disrupts. Since these people are the most severely wounded veterans of warmen shattered in mind and bodyher psychological approach proves especially humane. But when Maisie's investigation into a convalescent home for such men sends her back in time to her experiences as a battlefield nurse, she must face her own nightmares. Winspear takes her through her ordeal with compassionand the promise of brighter days ahead."
Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review