Birds of a Feather
Jacqueline Winspear
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Birds of a Feather
Jacqueline Winspear
336 pages
August 2005
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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London, 1930. The depression is hitting hard, and increase in length of the unemployment lines is only matched by the increase of raw hunger and desperation gnawing around the edges of society.

Former army nurse, now private detective Maisie Dobbs is hired to find the spoiled rich daughter of a local businessman. The clues are as sparse as birds in winter when suddenly Maisie finds herself caught in an entirely different mystery, one that links all the clues together but leads to horrifying results.

Birds of a Feather is set in 1930s London, when women were treated with the growing respect the feminist movement would demand mainly because they had to do the job of men during the war and proved themselves equal to men on many counts. Maisie has taken over the detective agency from her mentor and spiritual guide, Maurice. Maisie served as a wartime nurse in WWI, and it was there she developed her steady manner and cool poise.

Winspear paints beautiful, evocative pictures of London and its surrounding towns during this time period, but I was unable to get fully involved in the story - mainly because I didnít believe that Maurice and Maisie would have been involved with the higher-plane spirituality spoken of in the book. Especially for a war nurse, believing that by sitting in a room and closing your eyes you can feel the spirit of the room and learn the emotions of the people who have walked around in it is ludicrous.

Despite this drawback, the mystery itself is excellent. Enough red herrings justify re-reading the book, and the villain at the end will come as quite a surprise. Both Maisie fans and converts will find a great read within this book, and the Reader's Guide at the end of the book makes it a great choice for a book club read.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Kim Lightfoot, 2005

Also by Jacqueline Winspear:

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