So Many Books, So Little Time: Maisie Dobbs, by Jacqueline Winspear

Violetta Armour

The wonderful thing about discovering an author you enjoy who writes a series is the anticipation of the next book, knowing that as you turn the last page, there is another one available with characters you have come to love. Maisie Dobbs is such a character for me.

First published in 2003, we meet Maisie, who is a psychologist and investigator in London. Her first nine books span the years 1929 to 1933 in England, but her experience as a nurse in the Great War (1914-1918) resurface in each book, revealing her great compassion and insight into the many sorrowful legacies of the war. As she discovers, “The aftershocks of war can last for many years for those who fight and for those who love them.”

Although the plots themselves are interesting, I think what makes Maisie an appealing sleuth is her unique style. She solves crimes because she listens, she mimics body posture to get a sense of what people are feeling, and she uses empathy to build trust. As she solves each case, unraveling the mysteries of human nature, she learns much about herself as well. We see her evolving with the passage of time also. And in a good series, the character has their own demons to conquer as well as cases to solve.

The research Winspear does for each book is extensive, which adds to the reader’s enjoyment.

If the time period (England 1914-1933) is of interest to you, visit her website at and click Blog on the left-hand side.

Her 17th book A Sunlit Weapon will be available this month (February 2022), but I suggest you start with her first, entitled simply Maisie Dobbs. Her first assignment, seemingly a tedious inquiry involving a case of suspected infidelity, takes her not only on the trail of a killer, but back to the war she has tried so hard to forget. It also establishes her relationship with her mentor who plays a significant role in future books.

She will be speaking at The Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale on March 21.

One literary critic says, “When a mystery excels in the three Ps—plot, people and prose—it’s a winner.” I think her books are definitely winners and hope that you soon agree.

Reviewer Violetta Armour, a Sun Lakes resident, is a former bookstore owner in Ahwatukee and author of five novels. You can read more of her reviews on her blog at