Maisie Dobbs (Winspear)

Discussion Questions
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Also consider these LitLovers talking points to help get a discussion started for Maisie Dobbs:

1. How would you describe Maisie Dobbs? What do you most admire (or not) about her character? Is she psychologically complex...or superficially drawn?

2.. Why does the author structure the book as she does: three sections, with the middle section veering back into Mashie's past, while the first and third revolve around the present-day mystery?

3. Follow-up to Question 2: At What point do the mysterious allusions in the first part become clearer?

4. In many ways, Maisie Dobbs is an historical novel, as well as a mystery. What are the ways in which world War I and its horrors impact the story? Which was of greater interest to you—the background of London drawing rooms and vivid depictions of the war...or the current-day mystery?

5. When Christopher Davenham initially comes to Maisie with his case, she is reluctant to accept it. Why? Why does she later accept the case—what makes her change her mind?

6. How much of Maisie's investigative work relies on her almost supernatural powers? Is that...well, an easy way out for the author? Doesn't a good detective story rely on logical thinking and empirical evidence—the detective's intellectual prowess? Or is Maisie's intuition what makes the story so enjoyable?

7. Talk about Lady Compton's and Maurice Blanche's influence on Maisie Dobbs. What does Dr. Blanche mean when he says, "truth walks towards us on the paths of our questions"? What are some of his other pronouncements?

8. What prompts Maisie to question the goings-on at The Retreat?

9. How is Maisie representative of the changing role of women in the 1920's, after the War?

10. How do you feel about the ending? Some reviewers feel it unearned...or hokey...or thin. Others find it totally satisfying. Where do you stand?

11.Overall, does this book deliver? Is the mystery engaging and surprising...or flat and predictable? Does it inspire you to read other books in the Maisie Dobbs series?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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