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Princess Elizabeth's Spy: A Maggie Hope Mystery    by Susan Elia MacNeal order for
Princess Elizabeth's Spy
by Susan Elia MacNeal
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2012 (2012)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Not only is she good looking and feisty, but mathematician Maggie Hope also has a penchant for code breaking and breaking up spy rings which has come in very handy since she has been working for the British government. In her first assignment in this new series, Maggie served on Winston Churchill's personal staff, uncovers an IRA operation and saves the Prime Minister's life.

For an encore, this second installment has Maggie transferred from 10 Downing Street to Windsor Castle where she will be undercover and act as Princess Elizabeth's math tutor. Actually, Maggie is there, though, to keep an eye on the royal sisters since it is rumored an attempt will be made to kidnap the fourteen-year-old princess.

Maggie will again have to use all her wits to discover who among the large staff employed at the castle is allied with the Germans, and when the reputed attack will take place. This time she is barely able to avert a total disaster that could have long lasting effects. The closing chapters are as exciting as any you'll find in any period mystery set during these years.

As part of this series' back story, Maggie also learns more about her parents and she'll actually meet her father and learn the truth of her mother's tragic death. Be ready for some major surprises here, plus it looks like the likeable heroine's own love life is about to get even more complicated than it already is.

Although I wouldn't equate Maggie Hope with either James Bond or Rosie the Riveter (as some have done), this is still an excellent read. Take the Enigma code-breaking machine, a handful of secret agents from both Germany and England and toss in a Nazi U-boat, plus an American educated English girl who is as outspoken as she is resourceful and intelligent and you have a very intriguing scenario for a mystery. Then set this against the back-drop of World War II with a supporting cast of authentic historical figures and you have a stellar new suspense series that will attract a wide range of readers.

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