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The Prime Minister's Secret Agent (Maggie Hope) Paperback – July 1, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Back from a deadly undercover mission in Berlin in 1941 (His Majesty’s Hope, 2013), agent Maggie Hope feels dead inside. Working as an instructor at the Scottish black-ops base where she herself was trained, Maggie is plagued with what Churchill calls the “black dog” of depression. But when she takes time off to see a friend’s ballet performance in Edinburgh and becomes involved in a murder investigation, her senses are reawakened. At the same time, the U.S. and Japan are involved in a futile diplomatic dance, with Churchill desperately wanting further American participation in the war effort and December 7 fast approaching. Even with the outcome known, MacNeal builds up pre–Pearl Harbor suspense, as coded messages fly back and forth, sometimes being delayed or dismissed because of their messengers. In her fourth solidly researched Maggie Hope mystery, MacNeal details small slips that lead to great tragedies as she lays the groundwork for a post-Pearl mission for Maggie. A treat for WWII buffs and mystery lovers alike. --Michele Leber


Praise for The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent
“[A] stellar series . . . [Susan Elia] MacNeal has written an impeccably researched, wonderfully engaging story.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A treat for WWII buffs and mystery lovers alike.”Booklist
“[MacNeal] seamlessly mixes fact and fiction.”Publishers Weekly
“Splendid . . . riveting . . . The research is complete and fascinating. . . . The scenes are so detailed that readers will feel as if they are next to the characters and listening to them speaking.”RT Book Reviews (Top Pick)
“Fans of Jacqueline Winspear and Charles Todd will feast on this riveting series chronicling Britain’s own ‘Greatest Generation.’ MacNeal’s research and gift for dialogue shine through on every page, transporting the reader to Churchill’s inner circle. The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent is both top-drawer historical fiction and mystery in its finest hour.”—Julia Spencer-Fleming, New York Times bestselling author of Through the Evil Days

Praise for Susan Elia MacNeal’s Maggie Hope mysteries
“You’ll be [Maggie Hope’s] loyal subject, ready to follow her wherever she goes.”O: The Oprah Magazine
“A heart-pounding novel peopled with fully drawn real and fictional characters . . . provides the thrills that readers have come to expect from MacNeal.”Richmond Times-Dispatch, on His Majesty’s Hope
“With false starts, double agents, and red herrings . . . MacNeal provides a vivid view of life both above and below stairs at Windsor Castle.”Publishers Weekly, on Princess Elizabeth’s Spy

Product Details

  • Series: Maggie Hope (Book 4)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; First Edition edition (July 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345536746
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345536747
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (298 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Susan Elia MacNeal is the author of The New York Times- and USA Today-bestselling Maggie Hope mystery series, starting with the Edgar Award-nominated and Barry Award-winning MR. CHURCHILL'S SECRETARY.

The newest book in the series, MRS. ROOSEVELT'S CONFIDANTE, will be published on October 27, 2015.

Her previous books include: PRINCESS ELIZABETH'S SPY, HIS MAJESTY'S HOPE, and THE PRIME MINISTER'S SECRET AGENT. The Maggie Hope novels have been nominated for the ITW Thriller Award, the Dilys Award, the Sue Federer Historical Fiction Award, and the Bruce Alexander Historical Fiction Award.

A former book and magazine editor whose first job was assistant to novelist John Irving, she graduated cum laude and with departmental honors from Wellesley College, cross-registered for courses at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and attended the Radcliffe Publishing Course at Harvard University.

Susan is married and lives with her husband, Noel MacNeal, a television performer, writer and director, and their son in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Follow on Twitter -- @susanmacneal

Follow on Facebook --

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Buchanan on July 7, 2014
Format: Paperback
I am only a few chapters into this book, and have loved the series. However, this episode has two glaring anachronisms that have almost completely ruined the story for me. Early in the book, Popov is suffering from "jet lag". The term has only been in use since about 1966. At the time of the story, before the entry of the U.S. into the war, "jet lag" was not possible. Long flights in propellor aircraft took so many stops and so much time that jet lag didn't actually exist. Another, rather more compelling problem, is that the first turbojet was tested by the German military in 1939, after Great Britain had already declared war. The first operational jet fighter (German, by the way) wasn't flown until 1942, and wasn't put into service until 1944. It had a range of only 656 miles, which is smaller than Texas, and you can't get jet lag from flying a distance shorter than El Paso to Houston! The first commercial jet wasn't put into service in 1952. The second major glaring anachronism is a description of the odor of "correction fluid" in the U.S. Navy headquarters. Unfortunately, the only correction fluid available during WW II was called an "eraser". Correction fluid was not invented until 1956 and was not widely marketed until the 1960's.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Divascribe VINE VOICE on April 28, 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It's November 1941, Maggie Hope is back for a fourth installment in this WWII series. This time, the intrepid spy is in Scotland, working as a tough-as-nails trainer for potential agents. And she's suffering from what we now call PTSD after a narrow escape from Germany months before. She thinks of her doldrums as the "black dog" of depression, but there's more to it than that. She still carries a bullet under the skin to remind her of what happened during her undercover work in Germany.

We all know what happened on Dec. 7, 1941, and a good part of this novel is taken up with preparations for the secret attack by the Japanese and maneuverings by U.S. military and civilian officials to broker peace and stay out of the war. While most of this material is necessary to set the scene, I think it could have been woven into the story a bit more skillfully, or perhaps compressed a bit. I found myself skimming through it to get to the meat of the story -- the life of Maggie, and by extension, those of several of her friends.

Still, there's a good mystery here, involving secret experiments and the mysterious deaths of people connected with Maggie's friend Sarah, a ballet dancer. And then there's Maggie's German-agent mother, Clara Hess, who's in custody after fleeing to England from Germany.

This book has a complex plot with several story lines going on at once, and for the most part, author Susan MacNeal does a good job of weaving the strands together. I did see one minor but jarring anachronism: Early in the book, a character who has just flown from England to the States is referred to as having "jet lag." I don't think that term had been coined in 1941, but aviation experts, correct me if I'm wrong.

I continue to enjoy this series, though I have to admit that I liked the first book best. Still, I'm curious to see what Maggie will do next.
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Format: Paperback
I really enjoy following Maggie Hope to see what war intrigues she gets herself into. This time we see a very different woman who's been changed by her experiences in Europe in the previous book. She's a leaner, meaner Maggie, and when she begins work on saving her friend, she's in no mood to put up with government subterfuge. MacNeal has done her research, and she doesn't try to paint historical figures we've come to think of as heroes as saints. Men-- like Churchill for example-- had to make impossible choices because they knew they were in a life-or-death struggle with Hitler. Sometimes, the choices that were made were questionable. The author does readers a great service by giving them a more complete picture.

One element that made this book even more suspenseful was the constant weaving in of facts surrounding the impending attack on Pearl Harbor. Everything from what the Japanese were doing and when they were doing it to what people like Roosevelt and Churchill knew-- and when they knew it. This is some fascinating reading that gives a real sense of foreboding to the narrative.

This book can be read as a standalone, but for the evolution of Maggie's character, I would suggest that you begin at the beginning with Mr. Churchill's Secretary-- especially if you've read and enjoyed authors like Jacqueline Winspear or Charles Todd. And don't be surprised if you find Maggie Hope just as addictive as I do.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ann Gardner on August 5, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read all the this series and was disappointed in this installment. Be warned. It's basically a set up for the next book as the "mystery" doesn't really get going until the end of the book and then stops. Now I'll have to remember what happened in this one so I have reference on where the next book picks up. Of all the Hope series, this one is by far the slowest to get going and least satisfying.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By wogan TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 29, 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Maggie Hope Mysteries are presented as historical novels and as such are backed up by Susan Elia MacNeal's notes and research. Granted one can still read the stories as novels about WWII and some claim that it is nit picking to find so many historical inaccuracies that can be recognized by those who have an interest in history, but there is no reason to have so many mistakes.

The glitches begin with claiming there is jet lag - no jets during this time and the term was not used until the 1960's. Mai tais were `invented' in California and did not migrate to Hawaii until after the war. Correction fluid was not invented until years after the war. A low ranking naval personnel is called a private in the story. That's not a term used in the navy and a low ranking military man would not, especially in WWII never approach an admiral as this one did. Antibiotics were not in use during the time they are claimed to be utilized in this book. These are just the examples I caught that jolted my reading.

As for the story itself, if you have not read the previous novels there are places you will not understand in here. They could have been easily explained with a sentence or two. The storyline jumps back and forth between Scotland and Maggie and Japan and DC.
At times Maggie's personality and actions are so scattered, they do not seem realistic, including going to a vet to remove a bullet when she has access to regular medical personnel. The activities of many of the characters almost seems forced in order show the events of the war and the extremes in German policy.
The first few books in this series were more consistent in their storyline and smoother in their presentation.
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