I have been really behind in my reading! On my little "hiatus" away from the blog, I picked up FOUR books and scrubbed all FOUR!!! I don't know if it was me, the book itself, or both, but I just couldn't get "into" them at all!! I did finish an excellent novel and here is the review. And the book is posted on my bookshelf at paperbackswap.com and is available for the taking! (Sorry it has been requested!!)
My book, Maisie Dobbs, by Jacqueline Winspear qualifies for BOTH challenges AGAIN!!! It won the Agatha Award in 2003 for Best First Novel and it is perfect for the Armchair Traveler, because it is about London. Although it took me a MONTH to finish, even though it was a terrific read. (Remember, I moved while I was reading it so it kind of go shoved aside for a few weeks!)
Set in London, the English countryside, and parts of France during World War I, the heroine of this story is Maisie. Told in three distinct parts, in the first we meet Maisie. She is the only daughter of a poor family and is set off to work in service for the wealthy Lady Rowan Compton. Lady Rowan, sees Maisie's potential and she begins to be tutored by one of Lady Rowan's friends, a private investigator. Maisie sets up shop in London and her first case involves what on the surface seems to be a case of infidelity. Deceptively simple at the start the case ends up being about soldiers and the after effects of the "Great War". The middle portion of the novel deals with Maisie's time as a nurse in the battlefields of France during the war and gives great background into her life and her first love. The third, is when she actually investigates the "case" in depth, solves the mystery and we find out the fate of her love.
While it was not one of those "suspenseful" mysteries, because Maisie is much more of an "intuitive" detective, it was interesting enough to keep the pages turning! Maisie was a intelligent and likable heroine and is surrounding by many interesting minor characters as well! It was an enjoyable read!
I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, "Birds of a Feather" which also won the Agatha Award in 2004 for Best Novel. I might as well go put the remaining books of the series in my wish list, I think I am going to LOVE this series!