The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent

Written by Susan Elia MacNeal
Review by Rebecca Henderson Palmer

Maggie Hope returns in this fourth installment of MacNeal’s WWII-era mystery series. Code-breaking, lock-picking super-sleuth Maggie is now in Scotland as a trainer for her former espionage school, where she can recover from the physical and emotional scars of a recent undercover mission to Berlin. With a menacing “black dog” at her heels and a Nazi bullet still lodged in her stomach, Maggie is trying to put the past behind her when dancers for the Vic-Wells Ballet are poisoned, propelling her back into the action. Meanwhile, Japan prepares to attack Maggie’s native country at Pearl Harbor, and Maggie’s estranged mother, Clara Hess, is now held in the Tower, her execution date set.

Immensely entertaining, if a bit overdone in parts, MacNeal’s tale allows readers to relive this harrowing period of time through many perspectives. Sit in on meetings with Churchill, observe the events leading up to Pearl Harbor, and accompany Maggie on an undercover mission. MacNeal’s details are so complete that some of her characters represent versions of real-life individuals (e.g. Clara Hess closely mirrors the real-life story of Rudolph Hess). This is a worthy series with an engaging heroine, and you will certainly enjoy your time with Maggie.