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The Prime Minister's Secret Agent: A Maggie Hope Mystery    by Susan Elia MacNeal order for
Prime Minister's Secret Agent
by Susan Elia MacNeal
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2014 (2014)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

If you have followed this series that began with Mr. Churchill's Secretary, you know that it is set during the Second World War. The protagonist is a feisty young woman who has gone from a secretarial job in Churchill's office to being sent to Germany as an undercover intelligence agent.

In this latest episode set mainly in Scotland, Maggie is still recovering from a foray behind enemy lines that reunited her with her mother (who was a high ranking member of the Nazi hierarchy). Poor Maggie, who was deserted when an infant by this femme fatale, wants nothing to do with her parent whom she considers a traitor to her family and country. Clara returned to England with her daughter and is now under arrest and scheduled to be executed, since she refuses to cooperate with the British and share what she knows about the enemy.

Complicating things even further is the fact that Maggie also discovered on her trip to Germany that her former boyfriend, an RAF pilot, was not killed in combat. Their reunion has not been an amicable one. Then, to top it off, there's the matter of Maggie having to kill a young German while on her mission and that hasn't set well with her either. It won't be overstating the situation to suggest that this MI-5 agent is questioning her life and is rather suicidal at this point.

At the outset of this novel, there are the mysterious deaths of some ballet dancers that must be dealt with, so that gives Maggie an immediate focus. But all in all, you'll discover that she will spend an inordinate amount of time sorting out some of her personal baggage which seemingly has become too burdensome to bear.

That's OK if you have read all the previous novels in the series because you are familiar with the characters and the issues that have landed Maggie in this emotional funk. Unfortunately, though, if you are not familiar with this character this might be a bit of a drag and make for a rather boring read.

By the novel's conclusion, fortunately, Maggie is close to being back to her old self again and she decides to accept an assignment to accompany Mr. Churchill on a trip to America to meet President Roosevelt. This hopefully means that in the next episode of this wartime saga our heroine will return to the type of intelligence work that has made her so popular.

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