four-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
12-Sept-Oct-2004
user_rating: 
0
A-BirdsFeatherWhen Joseph Waite’s daughter Charlotte disappears, the grocery magnate enlists Maisie Dobbs to find her. Maisie quickly discovers the real mystery isn’t where Charlotte has gone: she has run away to a Benedictine monastery in the English countryside. Details from Charlotte’s diary recount the violent deaths of three of her close friends, which leads Maisie into the poignant mystery of Charlotte’s relationship with her domineering father and the after effects of war. From the intricate upstairs/downstairs social dynamics of the Waite household to her portrayal of a nation recovering from the tragedies of World War I, Winspear delivers a riveting psychological mystery.
Soho Press. 311 pages. $25.
ISBN: 1569473684

NY Times Book Review 4 of 5 Stars
"… a good second novel is one that, like Birds of a Feather, makes you want to read its predecessor." Marilyn Stasio

Santa Barbara News Press 4 of 5 Stars
"Ms. Winspear doesn’t give us archvillians, but rather a cast of characters variously wounded or needy, and it’s Maisie’s job to help them begin to patch together their lives and relationships. Ms. Winspear manages to add dimension to her characters and their stories without smearing her tale with undue sentimentality." Lin Rolens

Denver Post 3.5 of 5 Stars
"There is no sophomore jinx here. If anything, Birds of a Feather is a better book than the first, especially in the mystery plot, which is cleverly and fairly laid out." Tom and Enid Schantz

Critical Summary

If the third time is a charm, then Winspear has a head start. Many claim her second book is an improvement over Maisie Dobbs, winner of the 2003 Agatha Award for Best First Mystery Novel. What critics admire most about Maisie is, as Marilyn Stasio dubs it, "the holistic philosophy that informs her humane methods." Maisie doesn’t just gather up forensic evidence to make her case; instead, she tracks down the emotional core of a crime, a challenge made more daunting by the fragile psychology of the postwar world in which Winspear sets her fiction. Both heartfelt and thrilling, Birds of a Feather is that rare new breed, a distinctive entry into the crowded mystery genre.

Start of the Series

AS-MaisieDobbsMaisie Dobbs | Jacqueline Winspear (2003): Maisie Dobbs moves from maid to University student to nurse to private investigator, and her first case proves more complicated than simple marital infidelity.