The Prisoner in the Castle by Susan Elia MacNeal
Bantam, 2018. Hardcover, 336 pages.
As longtime readers of Amy’s Scrap Bag know, I’ve reviewed the first five books in the Maggie Hope series, but did not review books six and seven. That wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy them, but because of a story arc I could have spoiled. With that fear out-of-the-picture, I return to review book eight.
After completing a mission to Paris, Maggie Hope finds herself imprisoned in a remote Scottish island with a dozen other former SOE agents. After the addition of the most recent prisoner, people begin to die, one by one, in mysterious circumstances. Maggie soon finds herself as the de facto leader of the group and the lead investigator as a terrible storm prevents the arrival of assistance from the mainland. She is frequently assisted by two other former agents, Quentin Asquith and Dr. Sayid Khan, both of whom she forms a unique relationship with. As the storm continues, who will live and who will die?
As the hunt for the murder in underway, on the mainland several things add to the drama. First, the Blackout Beast from book six is set to go on trial. After the criminal pled not guilty, DCI James Durgin of Scotland Yard must find Maggie to serve as a witness. This lead to his teaming up with David Greene, Maggie’s longtime friend in the search to locate Maggie, who has now been missing for nearly six months. Will they be able to locate Maggie before it’s too late?
MacNeal brought suspense into this novel in high style with a plot similar to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. After the horror aspects incorporated into book six in the series, The Queen’s Accomplice, and the lackluster story but with series altering changes book seven, The Paris Spy, this was a nice change of pace. It also brought the series back to being a true spy mystery. As a whole, the novel kept me on the proverbial edge of my seat. MacNeal also kept me guessing who the culprit was all the way until the reveal. Outside of the suspense, the author did a wonderful job creating personalities for the key characters, including those new to this book, and situations in which the characters could interact. While I still think book three, His Majesty’s Hope, is my favorite, this is a close second.
Have you also been reading the Maggie Hope series? If so, what are your thoughts on the series thus far?
This novel will be released on August 7, 2018. Thanks to NetGalley for a digital advanced reader’s copy!