cover image Mother Daughter Traitor Spy

Mother Daughter Traitor Spy

Susan Elia MacNeal. Bantam, $28 (336p) ISBN 978-0-593-15695-7

In this riveting standalone from Edgar finalist MacNeal (the Maggie Hope WWII mysteries), mother and daughter Violet (“Vi”) and Veronica Grace move from New York to Santa Monica in 1940 and encounter homegrown Nazis. Veronica is smarting from the fallout of a love affair that has derailed her budding journalism career, and Vi is looking for a new path after her husband’s death. Veronica begins to do typing for Bund member Donald Pierce McDonnell, who introduces her to an array of people spouting antisemitic and pro-Hitler sentiments, and Vi meets their associates at a gathering of the isolationist group America First, including a prominent female aviator. As the appalled Veronica and Vi find that their respective secretarial and needlework skills provide an entrée to learning about the group’s disturbing and violent plans, they join up with operatives Ari Lewis and Jonah Rose, who keep tabs on such activities since the FBI is preoccupied with hunting communists rather than Nazis. Featuring characters based on real people, MacNeal provides a sobering reminder that pernicious elements can lie very close to home. Agent: Victoria Skurnick, Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary. (Sept.)