For King and country
London during the Blitz of WWII is often depicted as a place where everyone came together for the common good. And for the most part, I think that history holds true. But people being people, there are factions and sometimes fractures within the factions. Those fractures are what drive people to make dangerous choices and choose sides. They also make great fodder for this debut mystery.
Though she was raised in the States Maggie Hope is British born. She's recently graduated from college and the inheritance of a house from her grandmother has brought her to London. Initially she plans to sell the house but with England just entering the war with Germany, her plans change. Maggie wants to help. Her plan is to put her expertise with mathematical theory to use working for the war effort in London. Her hopes of getting a job with British Intelligence are dashed. The only position available for a woman is that of typist. Though Maggie knows her skills could be better utilized in another way, she is heartened by the fact that she will still be helping the war effort. The typist job is at No. 10 Downing Street and she will be working, if only peripherally, with Mr. Churchill.
Life in the underground War Rooms is fast-paced and ever changing. It helps if you keep your gas mask handy. When Maggie learns that her predecessor was murdered (which is why there was a job available) she becomes curiuos and soon finds herself caught up in intrigues and espionage. As she delves deeper, Maggie may discover some of her own family secrets. Unfortunately, these secrets may be better left buried.
In her notes at the end of the novel MacNeal talks about gaining inspiration from the memoirs of a couple of Churchill's real-life secretaries. I'm happy she did. Her research shows on every page and adds depth to Maggie's experiences and adventures. Best of all? Maggie's next case has already been published and you can read all about it in Princess Elizabeth's Spy.