I don't usually read mysteries, but this series caught my eye. It probably had a lot to do with the story being set in World War II London, a favorite period of mine to read about. As soon as I started with Susan MacNeal's first book, "Mr. Churchill's Secretary," I was hooked.
Author MacNeal gives us a feisty, Nancy Drew-like heroine in Maggie Hope; she possesses a brilliant mind for math and code-breaking, and is happiest when she is helping Britain win the war. Not only are these mysteries full of atmospheric period detail of wartime Britain, but the pace of the story is fast, suspenseful, and will have you guessing throughout.
In the first book, "Mr. Churchill's Secretary," Maggie Hope snags a job typing for the prime minister, and helps unravel a plot to murder Churchill. In the second book, "Princess Elizabeth's Spy," Maggie is dispatched to be a maths tutor to the young Princess Elizabeth, to try and thwart an assassination/kidnap threat from within Windsor Castle.
Although the plots sound far-fetched, once you start reading them, you are aware that such things probably were in the realm of possibility during the heart of the war, as those living those times were winging it, not knowing who was a spy, or not, and always fearing invasion or even losing the war. Over the years, through declassified documents, we have found that often war successes hung on a thread dependent on one person's ability to break a code or complete a dangerous mission. The author of this series certainly succeeds in conveying the fears and courage demonstrated by those experiencing wartime first-hand.
Stay tuned for the third book in the series, "His Majesty's Hope," where Maggie finally gets her wish to be dropped behind enemy lines in Berlin to infiltrate German high society and send vital information about the Nazi war machine to London. Hunker down with our heroine to follow her plot-twisting and entertaining adventures. Nancy Drew rises again!
Recommended by Betsy Schroeder