cover image The King’s Justice: A Maggie Hope Mystery

The King’s Justice: A Maggie Hope Mystery

Susan Elia MacNeal. Bantam, $27 (368p) ISBN 978-0-399-59384-0

Set in war-torn London, bestseller MacNeal’s tantalizing ninth Maggie Hope mystery (after 2018’s The Prisoner in the Castle) finds Maggie helping conscientious objectors diffuse unexploded bombs. In December 1942, Maggie attends the sentencing of the serial killer known as the Blackout Beast, who once held her captive. In March 1943, just days before the killer is due to be executed, a suitcase containing human bones and a white feather is found floating in the Thames. As more suitcases with bones are discovered, it’s obvious that another serial killer is at work. Maggie wants no part of the investigation, but the victims may well be her friends on the bomb squad. When the Blackout Beast presents her with a proposal—a pardon from the king in exchange for the new serial killer’s identity—Maggie sets out to catch the killer before she has to accept his offer. Vivid descriptions of devastated London and distinctive, emotionally flawed characters enhance a plot that builds to a wicked twist. This enjoyable effort will inspire those new to MacNeal to seek out earlier entries. Agent: Agent: Victoria Skurnick, Levine Greenberg Rosten Literary. (Feb.)