Monday, February 04, 2008


Set in the late 20s and early 30s and featuring an independent female investigator, the Maisie Dobbs series will appeal to those seeking good period mysteries. While the books deal with the aftereffects of World War One, they present an alternative to the bleak period mysteries of Charles Todd and Rennie Airth. The mood is much less dark and unlike Inspector Rutledge, whose only companion is the voice of an executed soldier in his head, Dobbs has a circle of friends.

Her latest book, An Incomplete Revenge, tells the story of a county village and the odd secrets it holds. The story continues her themes of the shifts in the social order that allow women and the working classes a bit more equality. And as usual, there are those that would oppose such changes.

One of the rewards of a mystery series is watching the development of the characters back story. Reading the up and downs of the returning characters in Peter Robinson's mysteries is almost as much fun as the crime story. In his case, the lives of supporting characters in prior novels often furnish the main storyline of subsequent books. Winspear similarly uses the pasts of her supporting characters to drive and enrich her stories.

Winspear is one of the five authors who contribute to Naked Authors, a mystery blog. Take a look at Cornelia Read's noir quiz on that site.

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