Mr. Churchill's Secretary: A Maggie Hope Mystery (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

This is the first in the Maggie Hope series set in WWII.  Maggie is a Brit raised in America, she fills a variety of roles during WWII, giving each book a different aspect of that era to portray. 

Maggie plans to begin studying at M.I.T. for her doctorate in math when she gets the startling news that she has inherited a house in London from a grandmother she didn’t know existed.  Raised from infancy by her Aunt Edith, a professor at Wellesley, details about her family have been parceled out infrequently and are sketchy at best.  Now there is a house to sell, the funds should help with expenses at M.I.T. and Maggie is being dispatched to London to handle the sale.  Things, as is often the case, do not go as expected.  The house fails to sell and Germany starts gobbling up Europe.  Instead of returning to the US, Maggie finds a few flat mates and stays, much to the consternation of her aunt. 

The position of Churchill’s secretary opens due to a murder.  A typist is killed on her way home after work.  Maggie’s friend David, one of Churchill’s secretaries prevails upon her to take the job of typist.  Never mind that Maggie is highly educated and speaks German and French, she is female and the secretaries, for the time being, are men.   Those who have read Erik Larson’s excellent non-fiction The Splendid and the Vile, will be familiar with Churchill’s penchant for calling people and things by inventive monikers and will find a passage near the beginning of Maggie’s tenure with the brilliant Churchill hilarious.

Of course, the killing of the typist will be more than random, family secrets are uncovered, and Maggie will find herself in grave danger.  A gallop of a book that will leave you wanting to read about Maggie’s next posting during WWII.

— Deon Stonehouse


BARRY AWARD WINNER • Heralding the arrival of a brilliant new heroine, Mr. Churchill’s Secretary captures the drama of an era of unprecedented challenge—and the greatness that rose to meet it.

“With any luck, the adventures of red-haired super-sleuth Maggie Hope will go on forever. . . . Taut, well-plotted, and suspenseful, this is a wartime mystery to sink your teeth into.” —Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Rose Code

London, 1940. Winston Churchill has just been sworn in, war rages across the Channel, and the threat of a Blitz looms larger by the day. But none of this deters Maggie Hope. She graduated at the top of her college class and possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence, but her gender qualifies her only to be the newest typist at No. 10 Downing Street. Her indefatigable spirit and remarkable gifts for codebreaking, though, rival those of even the highest men in government, and Maggie finds that working for the prime minister affords her a level of clearance she could never have imagined—and opportunities she will not let pass. In troubled, deadly times, with air-raid sirens sending multitudes underground, access to the War Rooms also exposes Maggie to the machinations of a menacing faction determined to do whatever it takes to change the course of history.

Ensnared in a web of spies, murder, and intrigue, Maggie must work quickly to balance her duty to King and Country with her chances for survival. And when she unravels a mystery that points toward her own family’s hidden secrets, she’ll discover that her quick wits are all that stand between an assassin’s murderous plan and Churchill himself.

In this daring debut, Susan Elia MacNeal blends meticulous research on the era, psychological insight into Winston Churchill, and the creation of a riveting main character, Maggie Hope, into a spectacularly crafted novel.

About the Author

Susan Elia MacNeal is the New York Times bestselling author of the Maggie Hope mysteries and Mother Daughter Traitor Spy. MacNeal won the Barry Award and an AudioFile Earphones award and has been nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, Agatha, Left Coast Crime, Dilys, ITW Thriller, and Nero awards. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and son.

Praise For…

Advance praise for Mr. Churchill's Secretary

“This wonderful debut is intelligent, richly detailed, and filled with suspense.”—Stefanie Pintoff

“A terrific read . . . Chock full of fascinating period details and real people including Winston Churchill, MacNeal’s fast-paced thriller gives a glimpse of the struggles, tensions, and dangers of life on the home front during World War II.”—Rhys Bowen, author of Royal Blood and winner of the Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards 
“Think early Ken Follett, amp it up with a whipsmart young American not averse to red lipstick and vintage cocktails, season it with espionage during the London Blitz, and you’ve got a heart-pounding, atmospheric debut. I loved it.”—Cara Black, author of Murder in Passy
“England in 1940 is the perfect backdrop for a courageous young woman who outwits the enemy. A vivid tapestry of wartime London.”—Carolyn Hart, author of Escape from Paris

“An engrossing page-turner, with a delightful and spirited new heroine in the aptly named Maggie Hope.”—C. C. Benison, author of Twelve Drummers Drumming
Product Details
ISBN: 9780553593617
ISBN-10: 0553593617
Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: April 3rd, 2012
Pages: 384
Language: English
Series: Maggie Hope