Thursday, November 10, 2011

Two More British mystery series

Author: Jacqueline Winspear
Publisher Format: Penguin, Paperback (2005), 336 pages
Subject: unorthodox detective work
Setting: London and environs, post WWI
Series: Maisie Dobbs
Genre: private investigator mystery
Source: public library

In this second book in the very popular Maisie Dobbs series, Maisie has been hired to find the "missing" daughter of a wealthy business man.  This is evidently not the first time the 30 year old woman has chosen to remove herself from her father's overbearing household, but as Maisie begins tracking down her whereabouts, she becomes aware of several other mysterious deaths of women who were at one time or another connected to Maisie's missing lady.  Maisie is convinced that all the deaths are somehow connected and that her client's daughter might well be in danger.  When she finally tracks her down, it takes all her powers of persuasion to get her cooperation.  In the meantime, Maisie is confronted with her assistant Billy's increasingly aberrant mood swings and she embarks on a mission to fix that problem at the same time as she's looking for the missing heiress.

Once again, Maisie's powers of reasoning, ability to think analytically, and sense of daring-do and fair play---all qualities not normally expected in a woman of the 1930's--give us a plot worth solving, characters worth following and a story that makes the reader thirsty for more.


Author: Deborah Crombie
Publisher/Format: Avon , Mass Market Paperback (2004), 288 pages
Subject: crime solving
Setting: London and environs
Series: Duncan Kinkaid/Gemma James Novels
Genre: police procedural detective
Source: Public library

This series has been around for awhile. I read the first one over five years ago, and always wanted to follow up with another to see if the series turned out to be as enjoyable as it promised to be. When I went looking for an audio of this second in the series, it was SO OLD, it was only available in cassette format. I had to hunt up an old, but still working walkman to play the tapes! I couldn't even listen in the pool.  Oh Well....

In spite of those drawbacks, I'm definitely going to keep on reading more in this series.  Superintendant Duncan Kinkaid of Scotland Yard, finds himself not only grieving the unexpectedly early death of his downstairs neighbor (she had been terminally ill but did not seem that close to death), but then drawn into an official investigation of her death when it is determined that she perhaps had some assistance to her end.   Kinkaid asks Inspector Gemma James (divorced mom with the normal child-care, more-bills-than-money problems) to help him on the case.

I really like the relationship developing between Kinkaid and James.  It promises to continue to bloom in future volumes of the series (there are now 14 of them).  The setting is nothing special, but Crombie's plot and character development are exceptional.  There were at least 4 good solid suspects in this one, and it wasn't until near the end that I began to see a narrowing down of the field.   Definitely worth a look if this is a genre you enjoy or a genre you'd like to try.


  1. I read the first Maisie Dobbs and liked it a lot but have not read any more let. so many little time.
    Maybe if I stopped traveling..

  2. These are two of my favorite series! I've written quite a bit on the blog about them. I just finished the latest DC, and have the latest JW waiting on the shelf.

  3. I've read a couple in the Crombie series and kind of forgot about them. Thanks for the reminder. I did like Kinkaid and James as characters.


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