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Princess Elizabeth's Spy: A Maggie Hope Mystery Paperback – October 16, 2012

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Princess Elizabeth's Spy: A Maggie Hope Mystery + His Majesty's Hope: A Maggie Hope Mystery + Mr. Churchill's Secretary: A Maggie Hope Mystery
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Product Details

  • Series: Maggie Hope
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; First Edition edition (October 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553593625
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553593624
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (311 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Discouraged when she washes out in MI-5 physical training in late 1940, Maggie Hope is less than pleased to be assigned to Windsor Castle, ostensibly to tutor Princess Elizabeth in “maths.” A math whiz raised in America by an aunt, she aspires to be a spy on the continent. Just after she reaches the castle, a lady-in-waiting riding with the two princesses is killed, leaving Maggie wondering if the victim was really the intended target. Fourteen-year-old Elizabeth proves an apt student, even fortuitously devising a code, as Maggie successfully handles covert tasks and conceals personal concerns. (Her “almost-fiancé,” whose proposal she turned down because he was joining the RAF, is missing after being shot down over Germany.) MacNeal captures the atmosphere of wartime Britain, with its populace keeping a stiff upper lip, and Maggie is as spunky as she is smart, showing backbone yet acknowledging error. This sequel to Mr. Churchill’s Secretary (2012) is historical mystery true to its time, with concluding plot twists that pave the way perfectly for future entries in an up-and-coming series. --Michele Leber


Praise for Mr. Churchill’s Secretary
“Delightful may seem a strange word to describe a novel that takes place against the backdrop of the bombings of London during World War II, but it’s appropriate for this debut novel. . . . As sweet as it is intriguing.”—USA Today
“A captivating, post-feminist picture of England during its finest hour.”—The Denver Post
“Daring . . . 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.”—Bookreporter
“A ripping good yarn [that] enthralls and satisfies.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

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More About the Author

Susan Elia MacNeal
New York, New York

The Prime Minister's Secret Agent -- Top 10 New York Times bestseller and USA Today bestseller.

His Majesty's Hope -- New York Times- and USA Today-bestseller. Nominated for the ITW Thriller Award and Bruce Alexander Memorial History Award, one of Audiofile's Best of 2013, and one of Crimespree's Favorites of 2013.

Princess Elizabeth's Spy -- New York Times bestseller, Oprah's "Mystery of the Week." Nominated for the Sue Federer Historical Mystery Award.

Mr. Churchill's Secretary -- Winner of the Barry Award. Nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, and Dilys Awards.

Susan graduated cum laude from Wellesley College, with departmental honors in English Literature and credits from cross-registered classes at MIT. She attended the Radcliffe Publishing Course at Harvard University.

Her first job was as an intern at Random House for then-publisher Harold Evans, before moving her way up the editorial ladder at Viking/Penguin and McGraw-Hill, then becoming an associate editor at Dance Magazine.

Her writing has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Fodor's, Time Out New York, Time Out London, Publishers Weekly, Dance Magazine, and various publications of New York City Ballet. She's also the author of two non-fiction books and a professional editor.

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

A well plotted good read with characters one can actually be interested in.
Kindle Customer
Too many characters, too many coincidences, plots that are unlikely can be forgiven when you know what you are getting into.
Jersey Bookworm
I liked the second book in the Maggie Hope series and I look forward to the next book.
Loretta M. Ulmer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By NKA on December 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
I liked the premise of this book, but I could never really get into it. Every time the plot started to get interesting, I stumbled across something impossible like stores open on Sundays in Britain in the 1940s. Editing was terrible; there were sequences where days of the week and even entire years were confused. The main character alternates between a plausible 1940s character and a 21st century woman who has time traveled back to WWII. Every few chapters there is a public service announcement for the value of mathematics for women, starring the future Queen Elizabeth.

If you want a good accurate mystery set in England during World War II, try the television series Foyle's War.
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41 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Jersey Bookworm on November 26, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is always interesting to me to imagine how real life historic figures, or even fictional characters, reacted to the momentous circumstances around them. In the best of these genres we are treated to plausible situations and multi-dimensional characters. The plots are creative and if they require a bit of suspension of disbelief, that is just part of the fun. I am thinking especially of Laurie King's Holmes and Russell series, the Maisie Dobbs novels, Charles Todd and Anne Perry, among others. Best of all, in these works the writing is excellent; clear, insightful, descriptive prose that is free of cliches and well edited.

This series started promisingly, if a little on the predictable side, with "Mr. Churchill's Secretary". The cover art is great, which usually indicates a real investment on the part of the publisher. As a rule, they won't waste that kind of investment on junk. So it wasn't in the same league as King, Winspear and Perry. It was still diverting.

Then came "Princess Elizabeth's Spy". It plods along predictably for awhile, not horrendous but certainly not very good either. But I stuck with it. The scene arrives where the Princesses are putting on their Christmas pantomime when BANG! shots ring out. Wait, shots ring out?!?! Are you kidding me? The King is shot?!? Never happened and reality is all down hill from there.

You can put disclaimers all over something that it is fiction, as they do here, but to make up such extreme events is just infuriating. I will not go into detail to avoid more spoilers. But the end of this book is so ridiculous I would not have been surprised if the author had thrown in that little green men from Mars had intervened and ended WW II. That is how plausible her actual scenario is.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By C. Wong VINE VOICE on October 11, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Princess Elizabeth's Spy by Susan Elia MacNeil was so very good there is no way that I can write a review to do it justice. It is the perfect marriage of historical fiction of World II and a delectable mystery. I loved peeking in the Prime Minister's life and the future Queen Elizabeth's. Each time that I sat down with this book, I knew I would that I would be entertained and learn some history at the same time.

The book even has a little bit devoted to reading codes and some history behind them. I have alwayed loved to read about code breaking and the necessary secrecy surrounding it.

Maggie Hope, the main character has been in a previous book; Mr. Churchill's Secretary and will be in a future book, His Majesty's Hope. I want to read all the Maggie Hope books. She is strong, spunky, sharp at math and human. She has been assigned to be math tutor to Princess Elizabeth publicly but also to be a sponge for what is going on in Windsor castle. She makes mistakes but really shines in crisis.

Windsor Castle with its underground tunnels is vividly described as are all the characters in this book. You can bet that this castle is now on my list of what I want to see when I finally go to the U.K.

Princess Elizabeth's Spy was a perfect dip into history. Susan Elia MacNeil makes the Princesses Lillibet(short for Elizabeth) and Margaret seem so real, mischievous, have a great sense of humor and already possess a stiff upper lip. Even the controversial Duke and Duchess of Windsor were in this book.

I highly recommend this enchanting book to all historical fiction and mystery fans.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Rose A on November 23, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The four star average review is inexplicable to me. The plot is both risible and predictable, the style is monotonous and simplistic - it reads like a Creative Writing class assignment - all telling, no showing. The dialogue is full of historical exposition - people who would already know something explain it to someone else who would already know it for the sole intent of giving the reader some historical background (and it's not always accurate either). The heroine is unlikeable but apparently irresistible to everyone else, man or woman none of whom can resist telling her everything they know and trust her immediately with really private information. She went years believing she had no parents and by the end of this book, can you guess how many she now has...? The love of her life spends most of the book missing presumed dead and she is griefstricken but the minute she is told to accept that he must be dead, she is ready to jump into bed with another man. And would you believe it? It's apparent from the first chapter of the next book in the series (which is provided at the end of this one) that he is alive after all! Wow! What an unexpected plot twist! Just awful.
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