7 Compulsively Readable Mysteries (for the Crazy-Smart Reader)

In these intelligent, totally compelling new reads, savvy women detectives (and one exceptional man) not only save the day but also save themselves.
Princess Elizabeth's Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal

Princess Elizabeth's Spy

384 pages; Bantam
Maggie Hope, an American-raised Briton with outsized math skills and heaps of grit, has risen from her position as a typist at 10 Downing Street to a job as a spy for MI-5. Her first assignment is pretty grand—she's sent to Windsor Castle to root out a German spy who's planning to harm the young Princess Elizabeth. Maggie integrates into the palace rapidly, earning the clever young royal's trust and learning to deal with the surprising difficulties of living in a castle, which it turns out is: "like living in a very cold museum in the off-season." But there's not much time to focus on all the frozen finery: Dangers to the Princess proliferate rapidly, and Maggie races to find their instigator before it's too late. The ensuing chase is terrifying, but the true accomplishment of this book is the wonderfully complex Maggie, who is at once a brilliant heroine fighting against the Nazis; a young woman stuck in the middle of a painful love triangle; and an inexperienced professional trying to figure out her extremely difficult job. With deft, empathic prose, author MacNeal creates a wholly engrossing portrait of a coming-of-age woman under fire. Whether you read Mr. Churchill's Secretary, the first installment in this series, or you're just making Miss Hope's acquaintance, she'll draw you in from the first page. By the end, you'll be her loyal subject, ready to follow her wherever she goes—especially through the pages of a third installment.
— Nathalie Gorman

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