The King’s Justice by Susan Elia MacNeal
The latest installment of the Maggie Hope mysteries is a must read for fans of historical fiction and historical mysteries. This series started a few years ago with Churchill’s Secretary and MacNeal’s annual installments are books I always look forward to devouring. In The King’s Justice, Maggie diffuses bombs in London but is no longer with the SOE. The Blackout Beast is behind bars, but a new copycat killer is at large, targeting “Conscientious Resisters” and DCI Durgin is hoping to get Maggie back into the business of solving crimes. His teaser for Maggie is the case of a stolen Stradivarius and that, plus the virtuoso owner, is enough to intrigue Maggie and get her on the case.
Maggie is burnt from her brush with death in The Prisoner in the Castle, answering her restlessness with lots of smokes, booze and motorcycle riding. As the story progresses, the seemingly only hope for solving the copycat case is for someone to talk to the Blackout Beast. He will only see Maggie, so she takes courage and faces him.
I love these mysteries, set in London during World War II. The pace is just right, there is a little bit of romance on the side, and the characters are great, even when they aren’t acting like themselves. The King’s Justice is able to keep the story going in a fresh, less predictable manner. If you have never read MacNeal and happen upon a copy of The King’s Justice, read it! You will want to find the other 8 books soon after.