cover image His Majesty’s Hope: A Maggie Hope Mystery

His Majesty’s Hope: A Maggie Hope Mystery

Susan Elia MacNeal. Bantam, $15 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-345-53673-0

Contrivances weaken MacNeal’s third Maggie Hope mystery set during WWII (after 2012’s Princess Elizabeth’s Spy). Maggie, who began the series as secretary to Winston Churchill, has evolved by 1941 into a top agent for Britain’s Special Operations Executive. At the request of Churchill himself, she embarks on a risky mission as “the first woman dropped behind enemy lines” since the start of the war. Besides delivering a radio part to a resistance group in Berlin, she must try to plant a bug at the home of Commandant Clara Hess, the German intelligence officer responsible for the nefarious Nazi plot in the previous book. That Hope keeps secret from the S.O.E. director her special connection to Hess adds an element of soap opera. A light spy thriller with thin characterizations and situations that never realize their full dramatic potential. Agent: Victoria Skurnick, Levine Greenberg Literary. (May)