Mr. Churchill’s Secretary-Susan Elia MacNeal

Mr. Churchill’s Secretary

Susan Elia MacNeal

Bantam, Apr 3 2012, $15.00

ISBN 9780553593617

 

In 1940 London, someone murders Diana Snyder, a typist in Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s office.  American raised British citizen Maggie Hope remains bitter over not being offered a more prestigious position in the Intel community as a code breaker as fitting a mathematician; she knows sexism kept her from obtaining the job.  Still she agrees to replace the late Diana.

 

The Snyder stabbing case is solved rather quickly while Diana adapts to her work and living in Nazi and IRA bombed London as opposed to MIT.  However, Maggie begins to uncover a plot to cripple the leadership with assassination at a critical moment when the Battle for Britain is being fought in the skies.  The intrepid Maggie seeks the identity of those involved, which places her at risk.

 

The first Maggie Hope WWII mystery is an engaging tale that vividly brings to life a grim London in May 1940 at a time when everyone anticipates the blitzkrieg to cross the Channel.  The amateur sleuthing is fun to follow as the heroine is an intelligent person, but also contains too many happenstances to bail her out of dire straits.  Still readers will enjoy Maggie’s marvelous mystery tour as she escorts armchair time travelers around besieged London.

 

Harriet Klausner

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