Tag Archive | double agents

“The Prisoner in the Castle” by Susan Elia MacNeal

Susan Elia MacNeal writes the Maggie Hope Mystery series.  I have tried to keep up with her writing by reading every book that comes out under that series title.  I love her books.  The latest book I have read is the eighth book in the series, “The Prisoner in the Castle”.

The book opens with the training of an SOE spy, who has gone overboard with her training and killed a fellow trainee during a dummy mission.  She is sent to Killoch Castle where surprisingly other SOE agents are being held.  They can have no outside communication, visitors, mail, or calls.  They are allowed to walk the grounds and are otherwise provided for materially.  Imagine my surprise to find that Maggie Hope is one of the “prisoners” instead of the other way around.  It seems that Maggie knows a bit too much information and in order to prevent the possible spread of that information to the Nazis, she is being held indefinitely on the Isle of Scarra.  Scarra is almost inaccessible.  The island is ringed with tidal pools which make it impossible to escape by boat or otherwise.

The “fun” begins when people start dying, murdered by an unknown hand.  One by one they are being picked off.  Of course it could be any of them as all of them have been taught to kill quietly and quickly and by various methods.  It is up to Maggie to ferret out the murdered before there is no one left.

Because she is needed to testify in an upcoming murder trial her friend or “more than friend” Detective Inspector James Durgin searches for her and goes through channels and around channels to find her.  Thankfully, he comes to her aid just in time.  So Maggie lives on to go on another adventure and I am faithfully waiting to read about it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley.com in order to be able to post a review.


“The Paris Spy” by Susan Elia MacNeal

I love novels about spies and espionage during World War II.  I have a few favorite authors whose books I MUST have and must read.  Susan Elia MacNeal is one of those authors.  I have read all of her Maggie Hope Mysteries.  Her latest, “The Paris Spy” was another one that I could not put down until I’d read it all.  What a rollercoaster of danger, excitement, and historical imaginings!  Maggie is clandestinely in Paris under an assumed name to find a friend and her sister, Elise.  Something is wrong in the SOE (Special Operations Executive).  Agents are disappearing, communication seems to be compromised, but the head of SOE is complacent in dealing with this information.  He just assumes that all is well and that the agents are getting careless.  Maggie keeps a cool head through the dangers, but is caught in a trap.  Although she is returned to England, what happens there will keep me in suspense until Ms. MacNeal’s next Maggie Hope novel has been written.  I can’t wait to read it!!

“In Farleigh Field” by Rhys Bowen

Rhys Bowen is one of my favorite authors.  She wrote the Royal Spyness Myusteries, the Constable Evans Mysteries, and the Molly Murphy Mysteries.  I have read most of these and you will fine reviews on my blog.

I have just read “In Farleigh Field”, which takes place in England during the Blitz.  At one of the fields on Lord and Lady Westerham’s estate, a man dressed as a soldier is found dead.  Apparently the man parachuted into the field, but the chute failed to open, plunging him to his death.  Although the man is dressed like a soldier from the same unit that is occupying part of the Westerham mansion, Farleigh, something is not quite right.

Ben, Jeremy, and Pamela have been friends since childhood.  Pamela is one of the daughters of the Westerhams and Jeremy is the son of another lord of the realm who lives nearby.  Ben Creswell is the son of the local vicar and definitely not in the same social set as his friends.  Pamela and Ben works for MI5 and Pamela is a code-breaker at Bletchley Park.  Neither one knows that the other is involved in the war effort.  Jeremy has been shot down over Germany and is languishing in a prison camp.

This book, even though fiction, gave me a thrill a minute.  The clandestine investigation kept promising and delivering.  The possibilities of betrayal by one of Britain’s own was extremely interesting, especially since I had heard of some British who supported Hitler’s regime and were prepared for Britain to surrender.  I love the way Ms. Bowen incorporates historical fact in her novels.  I’m sure much research goes into each and every word she writes.  Although I have read many of her books, this one, “In Farleigh Field” is my favorite to date.  I sincerely hope that she is working on another novel in this same vein.  I will be looking for it.

I highly recommend this book, especially if you are interested in stories about World War II.  I received a print copy of this book from NightOwlReviews.com and was asked to do an honest review.

“The Pursuit of Pearls” by Jane Thynne

“The Pursuit of Pearls” by Jane Thynne is one book in the Clara Vine series.  Not only is the novel’s plot in my favorite genre, a World War II historical theme, but it is expertly written.  This is a spy novel at its best.  The main character, Clara Vine, an actress for the Reich, and a spy for the British government, is wonderfully portrayed.  I was so immersed in this novel that I really read more slowly than I usually do because I didn’t want the book to end.  Ms. Thynne’s inclusion of prominent names of the era and their interaction with Clara was brilliant.  We get a sense in this book of the highly emotional, tense, and dangerous every day existence of the inhabitants of Berlin…the hunters and the hunted.  I have a tendency to live in the books I read.  I feel as though I was actually experiencing what Clara did and having the same fear and terror that she felt at times.  This to me is the epitome of good writing.  Jane Thynne is one of my most favorite writers and I will read all that she writes.

I received a print copy of this book from NightOwlReviews.com in return for my honest review.

Maggie Hope Mystery Series by Susan Elia MacNeal

Susan Elia MacNeal has written five books in the Maggie Hope Mystery series.  I read book number five first, “Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante” and was hooked on the series.  Since then I have read book number one, “Mr. Churchill’s Secretary”; book number two, “Princess Elizabeth’s Spy”; book number three, “His Majesty’s Hope”; and book number four, “The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent”.    I highly recommend reading them in chronological order.  The books follow each other in content and time so it is much easier to grasp the historical significance in each novel’s plot.

I find Ms. MacNeal’s writing to be top notch and her understanding of this historical time period to be well researched.  Towards the end of each book, I found myself pacing my reading because I was not looking forward to finishing the book.  I enjoyed each and every one and will be anxiously awaiting the release of her next novel in the series.