MYSTERY

Princess Elizabeth’s Spy: A Maggie Hope Mystery

. October 2012. 352p. 978-0-55359-936-4. 15.
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Churchill and the crew at 10 Downing Street move their fledgling spy, ­Maggie Hope, into Windsor Castle ostensibly as a math tutor for 14-year-old Princess ­Elizabeth, but really because they’ve been alerted to a possible kidnapping plot. While Maggie learns the ins and outs of royal society, she also endears herself to Elizabeth and her sister Margaret by teaching them simple codes and math games. Then one of the ladies-in-waiting is killed on the grounds, and Maggie finds an unexpected clue in the victim’s bookcase. As in all good spy thrillers, the clock is ticking, and soon Maggie’s job will be more dangerous and complicated than she calculated.
VERDICT MacNeal’s sophomore historical outing (after Mr. Churchill’s Secretary) synchronizes perfectly with the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. With a smart, code-breaking mathematician heroine, abundant World War II spy intrigue, and a whiff of romance, this series has real luster. The author leaves readers with a mind-boggling conclusion that hints at Maggie’s next assignment.

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