A good summertime read. Just what one needs to be transported to another place in time, like England, post World War II, on the well-tended heals of a female private investigator/psychologist/ nursing veteran of the Great War, and a kind-hearted soul who practices meditation. Of course, that woman is Maisie Dobbs and the book is “Birds of a Feather” by Jacqueline Winspear.
“Birds of a Feather” is the second book in the Maisie Dobbs series; a book I meant to read a year ago when I finished “Maisie Dobbs” (and wrote about it here). Ah well, another of those best made plans led astray.
Actually, this was the perfect time for me to take in Miss Dobbs’ next adventure. After much activity lately, I finally had some down time to do just that; lay me down on the sofa and delve into a gentle mystery. Does that every happen to you? The perfect moment in time comes about just when it works out best?
In “Birds of a Feather”, Maisie is hired by a prominent London businessman to find his daughter, Charlotte Waite, who is missing; an event that has happened frequently in the Waite house. As Maisie sets out, along with her assistant, Billie Boyle, she discovers several incidents where women are murdered. All are poisoned first, two are bludgeoned afterwards. All were finishing school friends of Charlotte Waite.
There is plenty of mystery in “Birds of a Feather”, along with a sense of life in post-war England, with economic depression and the lasting effects of the war lingering, especially for the men who have returned home and their families. Maisie and Billie are also dealing with the scars of war, but, so it seems, is Mr. Waite, his housekeeper, Mrs. Willis, and the quartet of old school chums, who are methodically being murdered. Why, by whom, and why is there always a white feather left behind?
In the reading of “Birds of a Feather”, I felt myself entering a world trying to recover from war as social mores and expectations were changing, along with hairstyles and fashions, emerging medical treatment, and the advent of more common use of the automobile. I also found myself delving into issues and consequences of actions, especially the Order of the White Feathers, which I first encountered in season two of Downton Abbey.
A good read does this, doesn’t it? It entertains us, illuminates us, and it also leads us to want to learn more.
“Birds of a Feather” by Jacqueline Winspear. I highly recommend it, though suggest you read “Maisie Dobbs” first.
Have you had any good reads this summer you would care to share?