By Jacqueline Winspear Genre: Mystery
Reviewed by Natalie 5/5 stars
I turned the double three this year, and, honestly, the side of me that loves order and pattern was pretty excited about that. More exciting though was that a dear, dear friend of mine went above and beyond, giving me The Pink Motel with the original pink cover. I’ve mentioned to her, oh, maybe 100 times that it’s such a fun book to read and that it’s a favorite from my childhood. And it’s quickly becoming a favorite for my kids. (See picture – aka. the dorkiest photo of myself EVER – to see just how thrilled I was to receive this book.)
So what does The Pink Motel have to do with Maisie Dobbs? Everything. I was just talking to my husband about how much the kids and I are enjoying The Pink Motel because of the mystery, intrigue, and adventure. My husband said, “Well, there’s a little peek into your psyche.” It struck me that my love of mystery novels (Agatha Christie, P.D. James, Dorothy L. Sayers, etc.) in part stems from my 4th grade year of school when my teacher—bless her—read The Pink Motel and several other children’s mystery books to the class. Most of my creative writing assignments that year revolved around a female detective (named Natalie, of course) who kept weapons under her pillow should any of her murder suspects attempt to stop her crime-solving.
Segue to Maisie Dobbs: the story opens in 1929, ten years after the war, with Maisie opening her own detective agency. (However, we also learn that Maisie’s mother died when she was young and that her father sent her to work for a wealthy family to give Maisie a chance in life. The lady of the house discovers Maisie reading in the family library and, instead of sacking her, decides to give Maisie an education which eventually leads her to Cambridge and then to work as a nurse in World War I.) Maisie’s education is key to her case-solving ability. She’s trained in Sherlockian style to observe everything and deduce the significance of her observations.
Maisie’s career as a detective begins with a typical case for a private investigator: possible marital infidelity. But the case soon proves deeper and much darker. Jacqueline Winspear deftly weaves an intriguing story with a likable and clever heroine – and, in my opinion, earns her place among great British mystery authors.
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