A series of baffling murders among a group of imprisoned agents threatens the outcome of World War II in this chilling mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Mr. Churchill’s Secretary.
November, 1942. World War II is raging, and former spy Maggie Hope knows too much: what the British government is willing to do to keep its secrets, who is lying, who the double-crossers are. She knows exactly who is sending agents to their deaths. These are the reasons Maggie is isolated on a remote Scottish island, in a prison known as Killoch Castle. When one of her fellow inmates drops dead in the middle of his after-dinner drink—he’s only the first. As victims fall one by one, Maggie will have to call upon all her wits and skills to escape—not just certain death . . . but certain murder. For what’s the most important thing that Maggie Hope knows? She must survive.
Praise for The Prisoner in the Castle
“The colonel sums it up best on page ten: ‘If you take a pretty girl and teach her how to kill, it can cause problems.’ Not just problems—electrifying action and nonstop surprises. I loved this book!”—R. L. Stine, author of the Goosebumps and Fear Street series
“Another literary tour de force . . . From the book’s perfectly calibrated plot to its incisively etched characters, everything is handled with perfect finesse by the author.”—Poisoned Pen Newsletter
“One pleasure of a mystery series is connecting with a character that changes and grows with each novel. . . . Maggie’s intelligence and loyalty to the war effort continue to evolve in [Susan Elia] MacNeal’s series. . . . Solid twists keep the plot of The Prisoner in the Castle churning until the surprise finale.”—Associated Press
“A mystery . . . tailor-made for readers in the post-election, #MeToo era. . . . If you love a tricky puzzle that requires you to keep track of multiple alibis over time, this is your summer read.”—The Washington Post
“MacNeal uses [Agatha] Christie’s And Then There Were None as a framework for a character-driven mystery/thriller that successfully emulates the original.”—Kirkus Reviews
Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None provides the setup for MacNeal's evocative if unconvincing eighth Maggie Hope mystery (after 2017's The Paris Spy). Toward the end of 1942, British special agent Maggie is ensconced at Killoch Castle, a onetime Victorian hunting lodge on the tiny Hebridean island of Scarra. Ostensibly a training center, the top-secret British facility there actually sequesters agents with dangerous weaknesses or knowledge too sensitive to leave in the field in Maggie's case, detailed information on the upcoming invasion of occupied Europe. Life is pleasant enough, until the nine other agents on Scarra begin being murdered by means from arsenic and cyanide to impalement by harpoon. As a storm cuts off all possibility of help from the mainland, Maggie attempts to discover which of her fellow "guests" is a killer. MacNeal's scenario lacks the rigorous plotting of its classic predecessor, and the slew of disparate murders feels more silly than chilling.)
This was almost a good story. The historical context was interesting, but the retelling of a better book was tiresome.
Not as good
Not as good as the other books in the series. This one is more of a straight murder mystery, with little history mixed in. Almost seems like a direct rip off of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. Finally gets better towards the end.
Not up to par
This is just not as well written as the other Maggie Hope stories, all of which I have loved. There’s something “off” in the writing, including numerous instances of modern day phraseology, which kept throwing me out of the historical era. I found this irritating and will suggest better editing for future books, which I hope will be forthcoming. I really like Maggie, but this one was a clinker.