Birds of a Feather

I read the first Maisie Dobbs book by Jacqueline Winspear quite a while ago, but then got stuck when the second book in the series wasn't available at the library. But then, fortuitously, I discovered a large print edition of Birds of a Feather in the residents' library at my father's aged care home and (forgive me) I borrowed it from there.

I really want to love these books -- there is so much in their favour. The figure of a female detective in post-Great War England, marooned in spinsterhood as so many capable women were after the war; the well-researched twenties setting; issues of class and gender; gorgeous clothes -- and the plots are clever and well constructed. And yet there is something stopping me from completely falling in love, and I think it's the quality of the writing. It's just a bit clunky! The dialogue is stiff and unnatural, the transitions are clumsy, the descriptions are a little cliched. It obviously hasn't proved a barrier to many other readers, there are seventeen or eighteen books in the series now and they are clearly hugely successful. It's not that they're hard to read, and in some ways they are a perfect easy, cosy mystery treat. But the writing style keeps tripping me up. When I finished Birds of a Feather I decided, no more Maisie Dobbs for me. But now I'm thinking, maybe I'll just try one more... they're like a box of chocolates!

No comments:

Post a Comment