In 1929 Maisie Dobbs moves into a small office in Warren Street from which she intends to conduct her business as a psychologist and investigator. She had previously been working with her long-time teacher and mentor, Dr. Maurice Blanche, but upon his retirement took on the business, but had to move to a cheaper area. Maisie is haunted by her experiences as a nurse in the Great War.
Formerly caretaker at the Warren Street office, Billy Beale becomes Maisie's assistant after helping her with an important case. Billy's unfailing loyalty has its roots in the war, when he was a young soldier brought into the casualty clearing station where she was working.
Dr. Maurice Blanche
Blanchea doctor of legal medicine, psychologist and philosopherhas directed Maisie's education and training from her girlhood. The bond between them is almost like that of a father and daughter.
Adored father of Maisie Dobbs and former costermonger (a man who sells vegetables and fruit from a barrow on the streets of London), Frankie moves to Chelstone Manor in Kent (the country home of the Comptons) during the war, when the grooms enlist in the army. He lives in a cottage on the estate, which becomes a refuge for Maisie when she needs to leave London and get away into the country.
Lady Rowan Compton
Maisie's former employer and sponsor of her education. Lady Rowana one-time suffragette and social reformeris an enthusiastic supporter of Maisie and her work. Indeed, it many ways she lives vicariously through Maisie. Lady Rowan is married to Lord Julian Compton, who often provides Maisie with information, given his contacts in political and military circles.
Son of Lord Julian and Lady Rowan, he bears emotional and physical scars from his service in the Royal Flying Corps during the warand from the loss of his first love, Enid, who had also been in domestic service at the Compton's home, but who was killed while working in a munitions factory. James has spent years working for The Compton Corporation in Canada. With Lord Julian's retirement looming, he begins to spend more time in England.
Priscilla Partridge (nee Evernden)
Maisie's old friend from Girton College. Priscilla abandoned her studies to become an ambulance driver in France in the Great War. Following the Armistice, Priscillawho lost all three brothers to war, and then her parents to the flu epidemicescaped to Biarritz on the Atlantic coast of France, where she drowned her intense grief in a round of parties and drinking. Marriage to the very solid Douglas Partridge changed her life, and she is now the mother of three boys.
Detective Inspector Richard Stratton
Maisie often crosses paths with Stratton, a widower with a young son. Stratton admires Maisie, but Maisie has deflected any attempts on his part to extend the bounds of their acquaintance.
Once a brilliant doctor during the Great War and Maisie's first love, Captain Simon Lynch fell victim to the battlefield and was rendered incapacitated, both in body and mind.