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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Review - The Hollywood Spy

 I'm behind in this series and starting to catch up.  I'm glad I didn't skip any of the books because this is a powerful addition to the series.  I began with the debut novel and have read and reviewed all these:

#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)

#7 The Paris Spy (click here),

#8  The Prisoner in the Castle (click here)

#9 The King's Justice (click here

Plus a wonderful interview with Ms. MacNeal (click here).

Let's join Maggie as she leaves England and travels to Los Angeles to help her former fiancee with a murder investigation.

Author: Susan Elia MacNeal

Copyright: July 2021 (Bantum) 369 pgs

Series: 10th in Maggie Hope Mysteries

Sensuality: Mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Historical mystery

Main Character: Maggie Hope, American now British Secret Service Fund

Setting: 1943, Los Angeles/Hollywood

Obtained Through: Library

Cover Blurb: "Los Angeles, 1943. As the Allies beat back the Nazis in the Mediterranean and the United States military slowly closes in on Tokyo, Walt Disney cranks out wartime propaganda and the Cocoanut Grove is alive with jazz and swing every night. But behind this sunny façade lies a darker reality. Up in the lush foothills of Hollywood, a woman floats lifeless in the pool of one of California’s trendiest hotels.

When American-born secret agent and British spy Maggie Hope learns that this woman was engaged to her former fiancée, John Sterling, and that he suspects her death was no accident, intuition tells her he’s right. Leaving London under siege is a lot to ask—but John was once the love of Maggie’s life . . . and she can’t say no.

 Maggie struggles with seeing her lost love again, but more shocking is the realization that her country is as divided and convulsed with hatred as Europe. The Zoot Suit Riots loom large in Los Angeles, and the Ku Klux Klan casts a long shadow everywhere. But there is little time to dwell on memories once she starts digging into the case. As she traces a web of deception from the infamous Garden of Allah to the iconic Carthay Circle Theater, she discovers things aren’t always the way things appear in the movies—and the political situation in America is more complicated, and dangerous, than the newsreels would have them all believe."

My Thoughts:  Maggie Hope is doing better emotionally in this addition to the series.  But she is now challenged with seeing her ex-fiance and working alongside him to investigate the death of his romantic interest.  She has come such a long way since the first book and this really shows the new Maggie.  The amazing and talented ballerina, Sarah Sanderson, is Maggie's closest friend and features prominently in this outing.  We see how she is lovely on the inside as well as the out.  RAF Flight Commander John Sterling, Maggie's ex-fiancée, is back after many books without him.  This is a changed John as well and he has some issues to face as they investigate the death of his girlfriend, socialite Gloria Hutton.  

As always, the plots are based in solid facts and this is no exception. Rampant prejudice was spreading like a California wild fire in Los Angeles while we fought the same in Germany and Maggie comes face-to-face with the ugliness as she digs into the death of Miss Hutton. The investigation uncovers so much with twists and turns.

The climax is gut-wrenching and tense, a real nail biter.  Excellent job all around.  This sets up for the further adventures of Maggie Hope as well.

A stellar addition to the series, in my opinion.  I couldn't put it down and devoured it.  This is not only an excellently crafted book but it is a look at the times showing the glitz and the ugliness.  Bravo.  I would love an autographed copy, which is rare for me.

Rating:  Near Perfect - Loved it! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list.  Buy a copy for everyone you know, it's that good. 

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