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Birds of a Feather (Maisie Dobbs, Book 2) Paperback – August 2, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (August 2, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143035304
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143035305
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (291 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The eponymous heroine of Winspear's promising debut, Maisie Dobbs (2003), continues to beguile in this chilling, suspenseful sequel set in England a decade after the end of the Great War. Maisie, "Psychologist and Investigator," as the brass nameplate on her office door declares, gets hired by a wealthy industrialist to find his only daughter, Charlotte Waite, who has gone missing. With the help of her cockney assistant, Billy Beale, Maisie sets out to learn all she can of Charlotte's habits, character and friends. No sooner has Maisie discovered the identities of three of these friends than they start turning up dead—poisoned, then bayoneted for good measure. At each crime scene is left a white feather. Increasingly preoccupied with these tragedies, Maisie almost loses sight of her original mission, until it becomes apparent that the murders and Charlotte's disappearance are related. As in her first novel, the author gives an intelligent and absorbing picture of the period, providing plentiful details for the history buff without detracting from the riveting mystery. Readers will be eager to see more of the spunky Maisie, with her unusual career as a one-time maid, nurse and university student.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–The spirited heroine of Maisie Dobbs (Soho, 2003) is back to solve another puzzle in post-World War I London. Having been trained by a master detective, the former serving girl now a Cambridge graduate is hired by grocery magnate Joseph Waite to find his wayward daughter, Charlotte. What begins as a simple missing-person case evolves into the investigation of three murders, all of young women who were friends during the war. Charlotte may be the next target. Chock-full of period details such as how to start a 1920s-era MG, what to buy at the grocer's, what to wear in the country, soup kitchens, and heroin use, the novel follows Maisie's progress as she uses detection, psychology, and even yogalike centering to clear her mind. There is much substance to this mystery, which mines the situations brought about by the horrors of the war–both on the front and at home, and its still simmering aftermath–plus a hint of romance and the beginning resolution of two father-daughter rifts. The story flows easily, descriptions are vivid and apt, and character is limned quickly, with each an individual. This is an utterly enjoyable and painless history lesson and a well-plotted and consistent mystery that will appeal to teens looking for more than just historical fiction.–Susan H. Woodcock, Fairfax County Public Library, Chantilly, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Maisie Dobbs mysteries are well written with good character development.
BIRDS OF A FEATHER, Jacqueline Winspear's second book in the Maisie Dobbs series is much better than her first book which was the best mystery I'd read in a while.
Dianne Foster
The books set in the time period right after WWI are so well researched and so well written that one feels transported to the England of that time.
Gerry P Mangney

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 95 people found the following review helpful By tregatt on May 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"Birds of a Feather" is Jacqueline Winspear's second Maisie Dobbs mystery novel, and it actually is a much more suspenseful and intriguing installment than the first book in the series, "Maisie Dobbs."
Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and private investigator, has been hired by mister moneybags himself, Joseph Waite, to find his missing daughter. Apparently the wealthy and successful magnate's only daughter, Charlotte, seems to have made a habit of running off whenever she feels unhappy or ill-used. Not wanting to involve the police and hoping to circumvent the press, Waite has decided to hire Maisie because he has been suitable impressed by her accomplishments. Almost at once, Maisie senses that Waite has little patience or understanding for Charlotte. And a brief inquiry amongst the household staff elicits the knowledge that while everyone likes Joseph Waite, practically no one seems to have liked Charlotte, deeming her too cold and difficult to please. And yet Maisie (who has strong emphatic powers) senses the almost crippling despair that Charlotte felt in her home. Why would a rich and pampered young lady of leisure feel such a level of despair? And what made her run away? Hoping to get some answers from a close friend of Charlotte's, Maisie stumbles into a murder investigation instead when the friend is brutally murdered. Could Charlotte's disappearance have anything to do with the murder? Is Charlotte in danger, or is the truth something much more sinister? As Maisie digs in to find the answers, she finds herself once again delving into the past and into the painful memories of the recent world war...
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Nancy R. Katz VINE VOICE on January 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear is the second book in a series featuring the detective/psychologist Maisie Dobbs. And like the first book, simply called Maisie Dobbs, readers once again will be intrigued by both the characters in this book and the way Maisie solves the mystery.

Birds of a Father was more mystery than the first book which was used to introduce the characters and their backgrounds. While there was a thinly veiled mystery Birds of a Feather will surely captivate readers as the mystery angle of this book gets better and better as readers turn the pages.

Maisie and her business associate Billy Beale are hired by Mr. Wait to find his daughter Charlotte. Mr Wait, a wealthy store owner, further explains that Charlotte has done this before but this time she also broke off her engagement. After meeting with one of Charlotte's friends, early leads send Maisie to a convent where Charlotte might be living and protected by the nuns. Then Maisie learns that the friend of Charlotte's she's just spoke to had been killed and she's not the only one. It seems as though two other friends of Charlotte and all women who wee friends at one time are now dead under very suspicious circumstances. What did these four women have in common? And what does a small object found next to the nurses have to do with these crimes. Does a plaque in Mr. Waite's store to fallen men who served in WW I and worked for him hold a key to the murders, And most of all is the killer looking for Charlotte next?
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72 of 92 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen Chamberlain on June 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
I bought "Birds of a Feather" (in a two-for-one edition with its predecessor, "Maisie Dobbs") on a three-dollar clearance table. "A bargain!" I thought, since the jacket blurbs made the stories sound like female versions of Charles Todd's Inspector Rutledge novels. Now that I've read them, though, I think I was overcharged.

Despite some surface similarities to Todd's work -- the post-WWI setting, the sensitive, war-scarred protagonist, the careful period details -- Winspear's novels are thin where Todd's are dense, simplistic where theirs are complex, juvenile where theirs are adult, too reassuring where theirs can be ambiguous and disturbing (I exempt Todd's stand-alone novel, "The Murder Stone," which is melodramatic and seriously implausible.) In Todd's books, the character of Hamish MacBeth may be a gimmick, but he works (or at least, he did until recently). The between-social-classes premise of the Maisie books, however, doesn't work, at least not as Winspear presents it. That's too bad, because Winspear has all the right ingredients -- interesting concepts, historical knowledge and insight, potentially-complex themes. But she just can't get the souffle to rise.

The supporting cast is a stock gallery of one-dimensional cliches; the period details are often over-explained, making portions of the text read like one of those children's storybooks determined to be "educational." As for Maisie herself, several Amazon reviewers of "Maisie Dobbs" correctly noted that she's too perfect, like a slightly more grown-up Nancy Drew. In "Birds of a Feather," Winspear does seems to be trying to make Maisie a little less of a paragon, but she doesn't quite succeed.
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More About the Author

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Among the Mad and An Incomplete Revenge, as well as four other Maisie Dobbs novels. She has won numerous awards for her work, including the Agatha, Alex, and Macavity awards for the first book in the series, Maisie Dobbs. Originally from the United Kingdom, she now lives in California.

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