Mystery Authors You May Have Missed
Winspear was born in 1955 in bucolic Kent, England; as a child she read voraciously and was enthralled by the stories of her grandfather, a shell-shocked veteran of World War I. After studying at the University of London’s Institute of Education and working in academic publishing, marketing communications, and sales, she moved to the United States in 1990 and briefly embarked on a career as a life coach before becoming a full-time novelist in 2001. Winspear currently lives with her husband, dog, cat and horse in Ojai, California.
What she writes: Winspear pens the Maisie Dobbs series, historical mysteries that follow a female private investigator/ psychologist in early 1930s England. Born of modest means, young Maisie worked as a maid and enlisted as a field nurse in World War I before apprenticing with Maurice Blanche, a noted psychologist known for his work with Scotland Yard. The series begins after Maurice retires and Maisie opens her own small agency handling “discreet investigations” in London. Although these mysteries feature little overt violence, the haunting consequences of the Great War — both for England and Maisie herself — suffuse each of the novels. Maisie solves her cases with sharp intellect and deep intuitive skills; her complex character and fascinating holistic approach to detective work help propel the action. Readers also are drawn into the vivid details of English life across social strata. Fans of Dorothy L. Sayers’ Harriet Vane and Alexander McCall Smith’s Isabel Dalhousie will find Maisie to be another intelligent, idiosyncratic sleuth.
|List of works
|Maisie Dobbs series|
|Maisie Dobbs (2003)|
|Birds of a Feather (2004)|
|Pardonable Lies (2005)|
|Messenger of Death (2006)|
|An Incomplete Revenge (2008)|
|Among the Mad (2009)|
Maisie Dobbs won the 2003 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, Birds of a Feather won the 2005 Agatha Award for Best Novel, and Pardonable Lies won the 2006 Macavity/Sue Feder Historical Mystery Award.
|What the critics say|
|"Maisie makes it her business to help the speechless survivors of war—the women who silently visit the graves, the fathers who cannot speak their sons’ names, even those broken souls who hope that murdering the living might bring back the dead. That sensibility makes her a heroine to cherish." - Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review|
|"A quirky literary creation. If you cross-pollinated Vera Brittain’s classic World War I memoir, Testament of Youth, with Dorothy Sayers Harriet Vane mysteries and a dash of the old PBS series Upstairs, Downstairs, you’d approximate the peculiar range of topics and tones within this novel." - Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air|
|"The author gives an intelligent and absorbing picture of the period, providing plentiful details for the history buff without detracting from the riveting mystery." - Publishers Weekly|
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