Mr. Churchill's Secretary: A Maggie Hope Mystery
Susan Elia MacNeal
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
For fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Laurie R. King, and Anne Perry, Mr. Churchill’s Secretary captures the drama of an era of unprecedented challenge—and the greatness that rose to meet it.
London, 1940. Winston Churchill has just been sworn in, war rages across the Channel, and the threat of a Blitz looms larger by the day. But none of this deters Maggie Hope. She graduated at the top of her college class and possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence, but her gender qualifies her only to be the newest typist at No. 10 Downing Street. Her indefatigable spirit and remarkable gifts for codebreaking, though, rival those of even the highest men in government, and Maggie finds that working for the prime minister affords her a level of clearance she could never have imagined—and opportunities she will not let pass. In troubled, deadly times, with air-raid sirens sending multitudes underground, access to the War Rooms also exposes Maggie to the machinations of a menacing faction determined to do whatever it takes to change the course of history.
Ensnared in a web of spies, murder, and intrigue, Maggie must work quickly to balance her duty to King and Country with her chances for survival. And when she unravels a mystery that points toward her own family’s hidden secrets, she’ll discover that her quick wits are all that stand between an assassin’s murderous plan and Churchill himself.
In this daring debut, Susan Elia MacNeal blends meticulous research on the era, psychological insight into Winston Churchill, and the creation of a riveting main character, Maggie Hope, into a spectacularly crafted novel.
letter, revised and rewritten so many times, she knew it by heart. Wellesley, Massachusetts Margaret, I feel it is my duty to write to tell you how disappointed I am by your decision to stay in England. When I asked you to go, it was simply to oversee the details of the house sale, so that the money would offset the cost of M.I.T. It seemed a perfect opportunity for you to see something of the world before going back to your studies. However, now that war is beginning in earnest, I feel that
grills, and using buckets for toilets. They became used to seeing the endless processions of people dressed in black, coming to or from the constant funerals and memorial services. They learned to read the morning papers without weeping. But there were some things they couldn’t get used to. Didn’t want to. When yet another bomb dropped on their block, Maggie, Paige, and Sarah saw bodies—bodies of their friends and neighbors—pulled out from the rubble. Those weren’t the kinds of things they
gave it back to the man. “Thanks,” she said, trying to keep her tone light. “You’re welcome, luv,” he said, taking a long pull. “I think it’s going to be a long night.” The sounds of the bombs and their jolts on impact were getting stronger. They could now smell the smoke from above seeping in through the closed doors and windows, harsh and pungent, as the bombs continued their death drops. “They’re getting closer,” she whispered, and John put his arm around her. Their thighs and knees were
pressed together so tightly that Maggie could feel his bones and muscles beneath his wool trousers. She could feel his warmth and smell his neck. Bombs pounded down. They could only imagine the horror and the damage. Maggie squeezed her eyes shut and wondered what it felt like to be dying on this damp night. Would it be quick? Oh, please, God, just let it be quick. For what felt like days they sat there, pressed together, the impact from the bombs bruising their bones. We’re going to be stiff
minutes, there was nothing. The minutes turned to ten and then an hour and then more. The earth still spun on its axis. People went about their business. Mothers pushed babies in prams, an old grizzled gentleman walked an even more grizzled dog. A young boy holding a chocolate bar sprinted by at full speed, arms pumping, while a middle-aged shopkeeper with a round belly and short legs tried to catch him. “God damn it,” Murphy muttered, and left some coins on the table. Did he dare make his way