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Friday, July 28, 2017

Review - The Paris Spy

I have followed and reviewed each of the books in the Maggie Hope series:  #1 Mr. Churchill's Secretary (click here), #2 Princess Elizabeth's Spy (click here), #3 His Majesty's Hope (click here), #4 The Prime Minister's Secret Agent (click here), #5 Mrs Roosevelt's Confidante (click here), #6 The Queen's Accomplice (click here), and a wonderful interview with Ms. MacNeal (click here).  Today I review the newest addition to the series, which can be read as a stand alone, if you haven't read the six prior books.

Author: Susan Elia MacNeal

Copyright: August 2017 (Bantam) 320 pgs

Series: 7th in Maggie Hope Intrigue series

Sensuality: Medium on violence and adult themes

Mystery Sub-genre: Historical Amateur Sleuth, Historical Intrigue

Main Characters: Maggie Hope, a spy who started as Churchill's secretary

Setting: 1942, Nazi occupied Paris

Obtained Through: Netgalley - Publisher for honest review

From the book cover: "Maggie Hope has come a long way since serving as a typist for Winston Churchill. Now she’s working undercover for the Special Operations Executive in the elegant but eerily silent city of Paris, where SS officers prowl the streets in their Mercedes and the Ritz is draped with swastika banners. Walking among the enemy is tense and terrifying, and even though she’s disguised in chic Chanel, Maggie can’t help longing for home.

But her missions come first. Maggie’s half sister, Elise, has disappeared after being saved from a concentration camp, and Maggie is desperate to find her—that is, if Elise even wants to be found. Equally urgent, Churchill is planning the Allied invasion of France, and SOE agent Erica Calvert has been captured, the whereabouts of her vital research regarding Normandy unknown. Maggie must risk her life to penetrate powerful circles and employ all her talents for deception and spycraft to root out a traitor, find her sister, and locate the reports crucial to planning D-Day in a deadly game of wits with the Nazi intelligence elite."

Maggie, who originally started out as Churchill's Secretary and is now a Major.  She had already completed an assignment where she was air dropped into Germany...This one is just as dicey. She is looking for an agent she fears has been captured and her half-sister who escaped a prison camp in Berlin.  Sarah, Maggie's old roommate and former prima ballerina now spy is having her metal tested on her own extremely dangerous mission.  Hugh, an old flame of Maggie's now Sarah's love, is posing as Sarah's husband for their mission.  Jacques, Maggie's Paris contact for her dual mission, is a charming Frenchman.  Even Coco Chanel makes an appearance.  Then there are the various departent heads back in England that seem oblivious to glaring clues that the Paris spy network has been compromised.

No romantic Paris in Springtime glow fo the setting. As Maggie's contact described it: " 'It's the only rule you'll need while you're here,' he whispered, mirth gone from his eyes. 'Easy to remember: Trust no one.  Nothing is clear here. Everything is shadows.'"

I've heard much about England's suffering under the Luftwaffe bombing raids, but little about Paris.  Paris went from being like champagne, light and bubbly to a tripple-shot expresso, dark and nerve wracking.  But the author highlighted that many French collaborated with the Nazi's because of the continual lies spread that the real threat was the communists and convinced them to partner with Germans.  The propaganda is clear in hindsight, but in the midst of it so many succumbed to the lies.  It is such details woven into the story that makes the reader feel you have just witnessed history first hand as you read, I certainly did.

The plot is classic intrigue with rarely a safe feeling moment. One slip of a word can blow your cover.  Maggie's dual missions are one plot, but Sarah and Hugh's are another plot.  Eventually, they all converge.  This builds the tension like a Hitchhock thriller.

With such suspense through the story, it is hard to pull off a nail-biting climax.  Yet, it happens in this case.  Even the wrap-up ends with a major shock that took my breath away.

Another stellar addition to the Maggie Hope series. The plot has the very direction of the war at stake without the spies involved being aware.  The characters are real, in some cases you feel their anguish and pain.  Throw in some twists and a final surprise to have a powerhouse of a novel.  As always, I love the historical notes at the end to fix in my mind how much was based on fact - always an eye opener.

Rating: Near Perfect - Couldn't Put it down. Buy two copies, one for you and one for a friend. If you haven't read the prior books, buy all of them while you're at it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


The publisher has agreed to do a giveaway of The Paris Spy.

Giveaway entry lasts until Friday August 4 6:00 p.m. (MST).  U.S. entries only please.

The Publisher will be shipping the book to the winner.

How to enter:

*** First, you must be a member (follower) of this blog.***

All entries are to be in the comments for this post.

I shall notify each winner via the email address you provide to get your mailing address and have the prize sent directly to you.  If I don't hear from you in 3 days, I will select another winner and notify them.

** IF you are a member (or email subscriber) of this blog, you only need to leave a comment with your correct email.

BECOME a member (or email subscriber) of this blog if you aren't already and enjoy the celebration of all things mystery and suspense.

Good Luck!

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Jana Leah B said...

This is a fascinating time in history. Thanks for the giveaway.

Theresa N. said...

Sounds like a great story to read.
Theresa N

Linda Romer said...

The Paris Spy sounds great! I would love to read this book. Thanks for the chance.

Mystica said...

Thank you for a great review. Don't count me in for the giveaway though. Am overseas.

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