As I’ve talked about before. I love a good historical mystery. Most of the time, it’s pre-WWI mysteries, tend to be in Victorian times, sometimes pushed towards the Edwardian Era (did that make me sound smart?)
This series of books by Susan Elia McNeal takes place in the midst of WWII, mainly in London (although Scotland figures in greatly, and there is a lovely diversion trip to the US in the last book). Maggie Hope is an American who spent most of her time in London during the Blitz. She has become a Londoner by rights and is also one of the countries best intelligence agents (even if not everyone knows it). She spends her days since her return from America translating code from field agents, and trying to help women get a fairer shake during the war. Women agents were at a decided disadvantage. If they were caught, they were immediately executed, while men had the protections of the Government behind them. There was also the respect factor. Many women joined the service to help their country, but they were still treated as second class individuals by those in charge.
In this particular case, Maggie gets called by MI-5 to assist in a case involving crimes similar to Jack the Ripper. Young, unmarried, “working” women are kidnapped and then placed in a ritualistic fashion through London. Maggie works with a Scotland Yard detective, who learns that women are just as competent as men in the investigation field, and a budding friendship is developed.
The book also touches on several minor characters that we’ve met through the series (Starting with Mr. Churchill’s Secretary), and we learn more about the relationship between Maggie and the Royal Family (who we met in previous books as well.) Her relationship with her family gets further complicated. (Is her Nazi spy mother still alive? Will her German half sister accept her help? Will her father try to reconcile with his daughter?) So many questions!
My only regret about this book is the cliffhanger at the end! I cannot wait for the next installment!