London, 1930. Maisie Dobbs runs small private investigation agency a professional office in Fitzroy Square with an assistant, the happy-go-lucky Billy Beale. A former nurse in the Great War, she has proven herself as a psychologist and investigator. In the spring of 1930 Maisie Dobbs is hired to find a runaway heiress. When three of the heiress’s old friends are found dead, Maisie must to discover who would want to kill these seemingly respectable young women. She discovers that the answers lie in the agony of the Great War.
This is the second book in the Maise Dobbs series and there is a dramatic drop-off. We are constantly told (by other characters) how smart Maisie is, but she never comes across that way. She is cold, arrogant and often condescending. Her method of investigating using mysticism is too much New Ageish, feels silly and is ultimately unbelievable.
There is also the aspect of withholding information from the reader. Maisie finds clues at each murder scene, but we never know what the clue is … she tucks it away. When it is revealed, (and you realize the major clue is related to the title) the effect ham-handed and amateurish. It’s a technique you would expect from a TV show, not a novel. Even Jessica Fletcher wouldn’t stoop so low.
There also two subplots with Maisie’s father and her assistant Billy that seem to have been added into the story just to make it novel length.
The concept of this series is interesting, but this second book is w-e-a-k.