Monday, October 3, 2016

The Queen's Accomplice (A Maggie Hope Mystery), by Susan Elia MacNeal

Random House Publishing, ISBN 9780804178723, October 2016

Maggie Hope is back in London after her trip to the US, and while waiting for her half sister Elise Hess to be smuggled out of Germany, she's working at the SOE office. It's tame office work, but she's very good, of course, at reading not just the text of coded messages but the "fist" of the sender.

And she's seeing trouble in the messages of a woman agent, Erica Calvert. Yet her superiors at SOE are certain she's imagining things.

While she's worrying over that, young women start turning up dead in London. Not just any young women; they're new SOE agents. And not just dead, but recreations of the killings of Jack the Ripper. When a friend of hers, Brynn Parry, goes missing, Maggie is drawn in to the investigation of what the newspapers are now calling "The Blackout Beast."

Fellow MI5 Agent Standish and Detective Chief Inspector James Durgin are her partners. The evidence gets more and more alarming, and edges closer and closer to Maggie herself. In addition, Maggie's friend Charlotte is homeless along with her baby boy when a gas explosion destroys the building her apartment was in. She moves in with Maggie in the home inherited from her grandmother. Old friends Hugh Thompson and Sarah Sanderson are being prepped for a mission to France, and maybe discovering new paths in their own relationship.

This is a well-done mystery set in London during the Second World War, with a secondary plot following Elise Hess in Germany. Maggie and her friends continue to grow as characters, and we see Princess Elizabeth and the Queen again. It's absorbing and fast-paced, and well worth reading.

Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.