Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sunday Salon: Oh, Maisie!

Note: this post contains some spoilers about the plot events in Leaving Everything Most Loved, the tenth Maisie Dobbs mystery.

There is good news and bad news in the Maisie Dobbs world. The good news: Jacqueline Winspear's next novel comes out July 1st. The bad news: it's not a Maisie Dobbs novel. It is a historical novel about World War I, and I'm very much looking forward to reading it. Buried in the announcement about the paperback release of the last Maisie Dobbs novel, Leaving Everything Most Loved, and the new novel, The Care and Management of Lies, was a note that "Maisie Dobbs returns in a new series featuring the psychologist-investigator" in Spring 2015. What does that mean?

I've been pondering this revelation for several weeks now. In my review of Leaving Everything Most Loved last March, I said " it represents a dynamic turning point for the series, and I can't wait to see what Winspear cooks up for Maisie next." A new series is not what I expected, and I have some questions. What makes it a new series? If it's still about Maisie Dobbs, then why are there two series? What will we call the second Maisie Dobbs series? Will readers even realize it's a new series? Spring 2015 is a long time from now. I know more details will start to emerge before then, but in the meantime, I'm perplexed.

In the absence of real news, I've started creating Maisie Dobbs conspiracy theories. Some are realistic. Others are not. The first: a time jump. The Maisie Dobbs novels have been moving toward World War II for several books. With so many storylines of secondary characters tied up in Leaving Everything Most Loved, will Maisie come back from India in the 1940's or even the 1950's? Will she have met Bess Crawford there through a marvel in historical mystery time travel and open the doors for crossover novels? Will she come back with a baby? Will she come back with a husband? Will she come back a lesbian? Will she come back even farther in the future, perhaps the 1960's or 1970's?

If I were playing the odds (are there odds for such things?), I'd bet on a time jump and mostly new secondary characters. In many ways, it makes sense. It would give Maisie (and Winspear) the freedom to explore new things. Our old favorites could still pop up on occasion, but a time jump (plus the trip to India) would allow Maisie to have already developed new relationships. I would fully support this decision creatively, even as I would miss the characters I've come to know (and love) over so many books. What I'm having trouble fully supporting is the mystery behind what makes the series new. When can you tell me more, Jacqueline Winspear?

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  1. Oh wow! I've been catching up on the series this year, having read 4 books so far. I've only 2 left to go - Elegy for Eddie and Leaving Everything Most Loved. Now I am more anxious to finish things up. I can't wait to hear more about your theories, and what is going to happen.

  2. I love your conspiracy theories! I was surprised when I heard this announcement and very curious about what it means -- I know a long series can be hard to sustain and have wondered if Winspear was tired, in a way, of Maisie. Can't wait to hear how it shakes out!


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