Among the Mad
I first encountered Maisie Dobbs in her first outing in the book of that title, the premise of which – a maid of all work being able to find time to study and do so well as to eventually get to Cambridge – I did not find credible. Among the Mad is the sixth book in the series, and the plot is more believable, involving a terrorist threat to London by a disaffected soldier, injured in the First World War. Invited to temporarily join Scotland Yard’s Special Branch, Maisie has to race against time to stop him. Intertwined with this plot is the story of the effect of the death of a baby on the wife of Maisie’s assistant, which counterpoints the main plot nicely.
Winspear has garnered a lot of praise for this series, but I personally find it lacking in period detail – there is for instance no description of dress to give the reader the sense she is reading a historical novel – although the historic geographical detail is accurate. I also found there to be too much coincidence in the plotting for my liking. That said, though, it is fluently written and there are some affecting scenes. If you enjoy 1930s-set crime novels, this series is not one to miss.