The Prisoner in the Castle

(Maggie Hope, Bk. 9). 8 CDs. Books on Tape. Aug. 2018. 10 hrs. ISBN 9781524782504. $40. digital download. F
MacNeal channels Agatha Christie by putting a large cast of intelligence agents into an isolated castle where one by one they are eliminated. The undercurrent of the story makes readers wonder not just who among those present is the killer but who has made them prisoners and why. These are well-trained spies, each of whom could be the killer, and each one seems to know too much, especially Maggie Hope. The plot is complicated by the external and internal settings, a castle that has a history of cruelty and violence and is filled with dozens of animal heads and carcasses. That darkness pits these individuals as more dangerous enemies to one another than the Germans fighting the war in Europe. Meanwhile, a story from a previous novel in the series adds to the pressure to find Maggie, but MacNeal manages to pull that off without depending on listeners knowing the earlier work. Here the author creates tension and twists in a multilayered story as the action occurs in less than a week while a storm reinforces the isolation. Susan Duerden has narrated numerous "Maggie Hope" books, so even though the approach here is a bit different from the rest of the series, she knows author and character well.
VERDICT Recommended for both mystery and historical fiction fans.

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