Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Prime Minister's Secret Agent

Winston Churchill during Second World War

Winston Churchill in the Second World War H10310

I was very young when WWII  broke out, so some of my first memories are of a world deep in conflict.  It was a scary time for children, especially once the Japanese entered the fray and the west coast of Canada was considered a target. Both my father and brother had joined up, so many a night my mother had to struggle to get up our blackout screens made of strong tar paper which would allow us to have a small light to read by. Then to sooth me to sleep, she would read to me my favorite books by A.A. Milne. I learned early that immersing oneself in a make believe world could compensate greatly for the sadness and fear that war brings to children of all nations.

Now several generations have gone by and we are greatly distanced from the horror of that era.  Books set in the time period are very much the fashion and so I have discovered a new series by author,  Susan Elia MacNeal. She is a New York Times bestselling author who lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York with her husband and son. However, she has done a great deal of research on the subject and has travelled throughout Great Britain.

I’m always excited when I find a new cozy mystery series, especially if the protagonist is a young woman of uncertain age. Sadly, I didn’t enjoy “ThePrime Minister’s Secret Agent” as much as I had anticipated. But I think this is not the fault of the author as I later explain.

Maggie Hope is a secret spy currently instructing young hopefuls in a clandestine training centre somewhere in Scotland. She is fighting her own personal demon of deep depression left over from a previous experience in Germany. One would have to have read that novel to get the full impact of why she is suffering this condition. 

There is no particular plot to this novel other than the escalation of WWII as the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbour suddenly thrusts the United States into the conflict. This volume is simply a continuation of the previous novels in the series. Therefore, although the story supposedly could “stand alone,” I didn’t find it an easy read. Throughout the entire book, there are references to earlier occurrences that I knew nothing about. Almost to the point that the reader sometimes feels a little out in left field. All the sub-plots pretty much require that one have knowledge of her earlier escapades. 

I think that for readers familiar with Maggie’s past adventures, the book would be quite satisfying because it is well written and the characterizations are well drawn. As this part of the story proceeds, one begins to get some feelings of compassion for the girl’s melancholia and rejoice with her as she  regains her equilibrium. I did become sufficiently fond of her to consider going back and reading the earlier tomes. If the idea of reading the whole series appeals to you, I would suggest you begin with the first one entitled "Mr. Churchill's Secretary."

Borrodale flats - - 300965

During WW2 and Arisaig House in the distance was the SOE's area HQ. | ...Category:Coasts of Scotland Category:Images by Jim Bain Category: ...

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.