Jacqueline Winspear was born of parents who resided in Kent town of England. In her early years, Europe was still in the throes of the first World War which greatly affected the direction her books would take. When she became older, Jacqueline got her first higher learning education at the London Institute of Education and there after proceeded to work several jobs which later were to shape her as a writer.She did not start on writing immediately, instead she worked as an Academic publisher, a marketing communication agent and also took up positions in higher learning to earn her income. Her decision to move to the United States saw the commencement of her dream as an author. Her first book was based on the character Maisie Dobbs, a female detective she was introducing to the world. This book proceeded to win the Agana Award for Best First Novel which was good motivation for the young author to create several other sequels.
Jacqueline Winspear as a Child Her childhood days were characterized by both the occurrence and aftermath of war which began to reshape her thinking. She was living in a period when a good percentage of the men in England were sent to war expeditions as the women were left to take charge of all social roles; including manly ones. In that period, in Britain, women took up jobs that were previously designated for men and it was the first time ladies went to war to work behind the scenes. The men, on the other hand, dodged bullets and shrapnel on the battlefield as the ladies worked as military nurses, bus drivers, aircraft/boat builders and even code breakers for intercepted messages during war. It was also the age when women for the first time were forced to become financially independent which saw the birth of so many female novelists in Britain.Jacqueline Winspear also had a story to tell but her initial idea was not about war. The war affected her just like it did so many children who saw their fathers leave home, with the possibility of never coming back, and their mothers who went through thick and thin to make sure food was on the table each day. All this made young Jacqueline curious about the war as it took its toll on her family. She watched her grandfather limp and breath with difficulty after serving in the Somme War of 1916. After the war, his life was never the same as he spend days dubbing at his wounds and also extracting remnants of shrapnel from his legs. The young aspiring author had to watch as the old man suffered but her curiosity became louder when World War I came in and the social and economic life of Europe transformed completely.
Maisie Dobbs (2003)Her first book Maisie Dobbs, is centered on a female character who was born in a poverty stricken section of South-East London in the 18th Century. Given her background, Maisie Dobbs’ first job was a maid in service but deep inside she had a hidden gift which her employer couldn’t see. But her employer’s friend could see that Maisie was special and this is proven when she wins a chance to study at the prestigious Girton College. However this education short-lived when the First World War happens and she has to enlist as a clinical nurse. When she comes back, she continues her education and sooner she gets a job as an assistant with Dr Maurice Blanche; the very same friend who noticed her interest in reading when she was caught in the Employer’s library. Dr Blanche became her mentor learning so much from her especially in the field of Psychology. Soon she sets business as both a professional psychologist and private investigator. Her first assignment is to investigate an infidelity case which she is to later find out that a Killer is involved and the entire case would bring memories of the First World War; a war she vowed never to remember again.
Birds of a Feather (2004)This was the sequel to the first book Jacqueline Winspear wrote on Maisie Dobbs. In this second book, the female detective and psychologist is still running her sole-proprietor business based in London. She manages to get a professional place to run her business and even employs an assistant by the name Billy Beale. In this sequel, Maisie Dobbs’ investigative skills are recognized even by the finest detectives in London and her reputation wins her a lucrative job of finding a runaway Heiress.The runaway female is the daughter of wealthy self-made tycoon by the name Joseph Waite.
Waite seems like a great father on the outside, loving his daughter so much that he lavishes her with fancy gifts and privileges only the wealthy enjoy. But ironically, her daughter feels cages and yearns to be set free; a feeling that saw her run away once and now Maisie is assigned to look for her on this second assignment. What almost seemed like easy money to the witty detective turned out to be another Deja Vu of the Stratton Murder case. Again the female investigator is thrown into the throws of World War I and her past nightmares brought back to light again.
Jacqueline Winspear had a very wide imagination with her first character Maisie Dobbs that she wrote eight other novel series as the adventure of the female investigator unraveled more. One thing the author was praised for in these ten detective series was the well researched background of World War 1 to which the characters were pieced into and the story woven. Her first stand alone novel is dubbed ‘The Care and Management of Lies’ which centers on two childhood friends, Kezia and Thea, whose friendship starts getting strained when their families begin to twist into each other’s lives and the onset of a war between Britain and Germany brewing.Even with Jacqueline Winspear putting an end to her first character Maisie Dobbs in the 10th sequel, it is still evident that war fiction became her signature angle owed to the childhood she experienced.
Books in order of publication by series:
Maisie Dobbs Books
|Birds of a Feather||(2004)|
|Messenger of Truth||(2006)|
|An Incomplete Revenge||(2008)|
|Among the Mad||(2009)|
|The Mapping of Love and Death||(2010)|
|A Lesson in Secrets||(2011)|
|Elegy for Eddie||(2012)|
|Leaving Everything Most Loved||(2013)|
|A Dangerous Place||(2015)|
|Journey to Munich||(2016)|
|In This Grave Hour||(2017)|
|To Die But Once||(2018)|
|The American Agent||(2019)|
Maisie Dobbs Non-Fiction Books
|What Would Maisie Do?||(2019)|
|The Care and Management of Lies||(2014)|