⟡ Another good role model ⟡
The thing that appeals to me about fictional female sleuths is that they are fearless. They are empowered women. They live the life. They are intuitive. And they don’t suffer with getting lost or a bad sense of direction (which is the bane of my life). Female sleuths have a man in their past, but not in their present. Think Jessica Fletcher, (widow), Miss Marple (never married) Nancy Drew (boyfriend Ned, in name only) Maisie Dobbs, so far as I’ve read, is still single. Her great love was killed in The Great War. There are many female sleuths I haven’t read about, so dear reader, do tell us if they are single or otherwise entangled. I think, but I don’t know, that having a man in their lives complicates things.
I recently made the acquaintance of young Miss Maisie Dobbs when I took to my bed for The Dengue Diaries. It was a recommendation from a fine friend. Maisie is a “psychologist and investigator” in post WW1 Britain. She comes from humble beginnings but moves smoothly in the highest society. She is comfortably and nicely dressed but not a fashion plate. Cheerful. Slim of course. Drinks lots of tea — it’s Britain isn’t it? She zips around London in a snappy maroon MG that was given to her by her benefactor, Lady Rowan Compton. The “motor car” comes conveniently with a mechanic who maintains it whenever she visits Lady Rowan at her country house in Kent. She takes those delightful British walks in the country, always has a cozy fire lit, and soaks in a hot bath to think. She is a soothing and inspiring presence.
Maisie doesn’t harp on herself, have bad moods, tell herself she’s having a bad hair day, or complain…about anything. The ever constant British rain and fog never dampen her activities or enthusiasm. If she slightly is undone, she breathes and meditates herself out of it. She never rants about being lonely, or about not having enough fun. Or wishing that she had more money or was married with children. She is secure with living in the present and doesn’t let desires and expectations torture her. She is always entertained and busy. I guess she is a workaholic, although she works at her own pace, yet takes her time to smell the roses along the way.
One of the things that surprised me about Maisie Dobbs is that she was created in 2006. So finely is the world of 1914 Britain rendered, I was sure I was reading the words of a then contemporary author. Not so. Jacqueline Winspear is a thoroughly modern British expat living in California!
Maybe that’s why Maisie Dobbs is so evocative. She is a throughly modern young woman living in days of yore. So she is an unusual heroine, a bit out of place in her time, in short, a perfect heroine for a lost, dark age between the two world wars.
Maisie Dobbs inspires me to be the heroine of my own life. Which of course, I am. But sometimes…I forget!
That’s my little gift to you this Monday morning!
P.S. Maisie Dobbs saved me during my recuperation. For those who care to know…for fans of The Dengue Diaries, I’m now in week 8, moving about and feeling ever so much better! I believe I’ll be back to my usual by 2016…which is in less than a month! Mon Dieu! I will have been out of society for about 3 months, which seems like nothing in the larger scheme of things. I feel blessed.