Women Sleuths in
Historical Mysteries

London, England - 1940


Mr. Churchill’s Secretary

by Susan Elia Macneal

Maggie Hope, a British citizen with advanced Math degrees from an American university, wants to help doing research and even decoding in these early years of the war. The female caste system in the War Department segregates women to typist work, however, so Maggie applies her skills there, ultimately becoming secretary to Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The author uses this device to bring the Prime Minister and other personalities of the day to life, and to include some of Churchill’s most stirring words in the novel.

Civilians are the new front line in early wartime London; their dangers and deprivations fill the pages of the story as incendiary bombs rain down from the skies. Maggie and her room mates attempt to build a backyard shelter, a shell-like hut called the Anderson, while at the same time try to forget the war by attending the Sadler-Wells Ballet, the Blue Moon club, and dinner dates at the Claridge hotel.

Maggie’s work soon takes her beyond the typing pool when she is swept into home grown dangers, including IRA instigated bombings and anti-British plots by the “Saturday Club”, a pro-German, anti Jew group. She also seeks clues about her own secretive past, while her growing love life provides a lead into the next three books in the Maggie Hope series.

Full Historical Note with information about Macneal’s first person sources.



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