Lady Rowan Compton first met Maisie when, at thirteen, she went into service as a maid at her ladyship’s Belgravia mansion. A suffragette, Lady Rowan took the remarkably smart youngster under her wing and became her patron. She encouraged Maisie to study at Cambridge, and was aided in this by Maurice Blanche, a friend often retained as an investigator by the elite of Europe when discretion and results were required. It was he who first recognized Maisie’s intuitive gifts.
The outbreak of war changed everything. Maisie left for France to train as a nurse, then served at the front, where she fell in love with a handsome young doctor.
After the Armistice, in the spring of 1929, Maisie hangs out her shingle: M. Dobbs, Trade and Personal Investigations. Her very first case involves suspected infidelity but turns up something else, a tombstone with only a first name—Vincent. And then she finds another. The deceased had lived on a cooperative farm called The Retreat, a well-regarded convalescent refuge for those grievously wounded in the war, ex-soldiers too shattered to resume normal life. When Lady Rowan’s son makes plans to join the reclusive community, Maisie hurriedly investigates and finds a disturbing mystery at its core whose resolution gives her the courage to confront the ghost that has haunted her for ten years.
Praise for Maisie Dobbs
"[A] deft debut novel... Romantic readers sensing a story-within-a-story won't be disappointed. But first they must be prepared to be astonished at the sensitivity and wisdom with which Maisie resolves her first professional assignment."
—The New York Times
"The reader familiar with Alexander McCall Smith's The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency... might think of Maisie Dobbs as its British counterpart ... [Winspear] has created a winning character about whom readers will want to read more."
—The Associated Press
"[Maisie Dobbs] catches the sorrow of a lost generation in the character of one exceptional woman."