Spy and code-breaker extraordinaire Maggie Hope returns to war-weary London, where she is thrust into the dangerous hunt for a monster, as the New York Times bestselling mystery series for fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Charles Todd, and Anne Perry continues.
England, 1942. The Nazis’ relentless Blitz may have paused, but London’s nightly blackouts continue. Now, under the cover of darkness, a madman is brutally killing and mutilating young women in eerie and exact re-creations of Jack the Ripper’s crimes. What’s more, he’s targeting women who are reporting for duty to be Winston Churchill’s spies and saboteurs abroad. The officers at MI-5 quickly realize they need the help of special agent Maggie Hope to find the killer dubbed “the Blackout Beast.” A trap is set. But once the murderer has his sights on Maggie, not even Buckingham Palace can protect the resourceful spy from her fate.
Praise for The Queen’s Accomplice
“Maggie is a thoughtful spy whose dangerous escapades never disappoint.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A fine historical mystery given a feminist slant.”—Booklist
“Plausible and elegant . . . Like all MacNeal’s novels, this one ends on a cliffhanger that will leave readers eagerly awaiting Maggie’s next adventure.”—Shelf Awareness
“Works as a suspenseful stand-alone . . . interesting and informative . . . wartime London is vividly portrayed . . . recommended for those who like their historical mysteries with a large dose of suspense.”—Historical Novel Society
“For those who are Maggie Hope diehards, this latest in the series is sure to satisfy.”—Reviewing the Evidence
“MacNeal’s meticulous research shines through on every page, and pays off with a wartime atmosphere that feels real.”—Crimespree Magazine
Echoes of classic crime meet international espionage in MacNeal's accomplished sixth WWII mystery (after 2015's Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante). In bombed- and blacked-out 1942 London, a young woman's horrifically butchered body is discovered in Regent's Park near graffiti proclaiming that "Jack Is Back." With the discovery of a second, similarly brutalized corpse, a pattern emerges: the murders explicitly mimic Jack the Ripper's, and both women have been tapped for the Special Operations Executive, a top-secret unit that sends women spies behind enemy lines. American expat Maggie Hope, an experienced SOE operative, joins the investigation jointly conducted by Scotland Yard and MI5. The stakes rise when a young woman trained by Maggie disappears, possibly abducted by the killer that the press dubs the Blackout Beast. Though the titular queen the current monarch's mother plays only a minor role, MacNeal's engaging characters, vivid scene-setting, moments of romance, and rich historical detail offer plenty to enjoy.
Sixth book in series!
The Queen’s Accomplice by Susan Elia Macneal is the ninth book in A Maggie Hope Mystery series. Maggie Hope is temporarily working in the SOE offices while waiting for her half-sister, Elise Hess to arrive from Germany (thanks to Prime Minister Winston Churchill). But London is a dangerous place for young women. A killer is targeting women who are coming to London to be SOE and ATS agents. The killer is reconstructing the crimes of Jack the Ripper. This culprit is using the blackouts to his advantage. The press dubs him the “Blackout Beast”. Maggie is recruited by MI-5 for a team to catch this killer. Maggie will need to be careful. Jack the Ripper’s last victim looked very similar to Maggie. Will they be able to catch this offender before he claims Maggie as his next victim?
The Queen’s Accomplice is well-written and interesting to read. There is, though, a lot going on in this novel. I only summarized the mystery portion of the story. There are several side stories. Elise Hess in Germany, Clara Hess (Maggie’s mother) is still on the loose in London, Maggie’s father, Edmund is in the hospital, the training of two new agents for a covert mission to France, Chuck’s home blowing up, Max Thompson’s interest in Maggie, and Maggie’s home (that she inherited from her grandmother) has been fixed and she can now move in. It is hard to keep track of all the characters and the various scenarios. I give The Queen’s Accomplice 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it). I enjoyed The Queen’s Accomplice more than Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante. I did find a few things unbelievable. Maggie getting favors from the Queen of England and the Prime Minister just does not seem realistic. The mystery was not puzzling. The identity of the “Blackout Beast” was obvious as well as how he controlled the victims. I will be reading the next book in A Maggie Hope Mystery series. I am curious to see what happens next (Maggie is heading to France).