The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent by Susan Elia MacNeal
Susan Elia MacNeal
World War II rages on across Europe, but Maggie Hope has finally found a moment of rest on the pastoral coast of western Scotland. Home from an undercover mission in Berlin, she settles down to teach at her old spy training camp, and to heal from scars on both her body and heart.
Yet instead of enjoying the quieter pace of life, Maggie is quickly drawn into another web of danger and intrigue. When three ballerinas fall strangely ill in Glasgow – including one of Maggie’s dearest friends – Maggie partners with MI-5 to uncover the truth behind their unusual symptoms.
What she finds points to a series of poisonings that may expose shocking government secrets and put countless British lives at stake. But it’s the fight brewing in the Pacific that will forever change the course of the war – and indelibly shape Maggie’s fate.
Review by Julliard “Viola Player:”
What a wonderful series! In this installment, Maggie Hope has returned from an assignment in Germany and is training potential spies at a secret installation in Scotland. She returns home with a lot of baggage, perhaps PTSD and is a stern task master with the spies-to-be.
She is invited to see a former roommate perform with the Saddler Wells Balllet but declines the offer until her boss orders Maggie to go to take a weekend off and attend the performance. Three ballerinas fall deathly ill (one being Maggie’s former roommate, of course) and Maggie is determined to find out what is behind the deadly and mysterious illness.
She discovers secret, confronts Churchill who explains why the deadly secret must remain a secret. And in doing so, the stage is set for her next assignment.
I will confess, I passed by this series for quite some time…..neither the titles nor the cover art pulled me in. But I have discovered they are wonderfully written and researched….and I’m so sorry it took me so long to get to them! If you are a fan of Jacqueline Winspear or Charles Todd, these will appeal.
Review by Mark Baker:
It is November of 1941, and Maggie Hope has been in Scotland for a few months now training future spies and dealing with the fallout from her mission to Berlin. Among the students she is training to go on future missions, Maggie is known as Lady MacBeth because of her cold, exacting demeanor. She doesn’t even refer to them by name, only by number.
As Maggie deals with the pressure of her depression, Japan and the US attempt to negotiate their way out of a standoff. Prime Minister Churchill keeps trying to get President Roosevelt into the war because it is the only hope for England. But when one of Maggie’s friends becomes endangered, will she be able to focus to help her?
While classified as a mystery, the mystery plays a small part of the overall story. There are things happening on a global stage that Maggie isn’t even a part of. And yet, I don’t see how the author could have handled things any differently. Everything plays out in the usual gripping fashion that kept me turning pages as quickly as I could whether Maggie and her fictional friends were involved directly or not.
So much of what happens here builds from the previous books. It’s why I recommend you don’t start the series here. While fans will love the needed character development we get, anyone new to the series won’t appreciate what happens. Trust me, you’ll be on this book before you know it.
This series is like a trip back in time. Even when I know the historical outcome of the events, it only makes the book that much more gripping. If you enjoy World War II history at all, you need to read this series, and if you are already a fan, you’ll love the latest installment