Monday, October 3, 2016

Code Breaker and Spy...

 Maggie Hope is assigned to MI5 on a manhunt for a killer who is recreating Jack the Ripper. But this time the girls are SOE Trainees who have come into London for an interview. Several of them were trained by Maggie and that makes it personal. As the body count rises so does the tension in each page.

The grey of London penetrates our main story set in fog and war, built around an evil, sadistic predator who loves torturing and killing women at a time when England is fighting for its very survival. The Book opens with a chilly night scene. An elderly ARP Warden is walking the streets to find any chink of light that might lead the enemy toward a point to bomb. She comes across a young woman neatly laid out but is struck in horror as she sees the organs cut from her body.

The landscape of London, burnt out and shelled, during a blackout is beautifully recreated and the chill is enough to make your teeth chatter. There is a wonderful intertwining of SOE Agents and a second story about Maggie's half-sister who is in a German Camp and has been tortured to the point of death. She is on the run after being picked up for deliverance. There is also help in the form of the Queen of England who owes our heroine a favor. Several characters are revisited from former Books but this story will stand alone.

Susan Elia MacNeal is a New York Times best selling Author who won the Barry Award and was nominated for the Edgar among others.  She does a wonderful job in her descriptions of the characters, with all their failings and death defying bravery, during the harsh times of War. One in which Women took on many of the roles including working in the SOE.  I found the book fascinating and I read it in one sitting. I could not put it down until I finished the last page.