Publisher: Bantam Books (February, 2020)
A Maggie Hope mystery (Book 9 of 9)
Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel
In the spring of 1942, DCI James Durgin and Maggie Hope tracked down Nicholas Reitter, a vicious serial killer responsible for the deaths of five SOE agents. It was very personal for Maggie: she’d trained and worked with the young women. Six Metropolitan police officers were killed in the shootout when he was captured, and Maggie almost died. In December, Reitter received the death penalty, and Maggie hoped he was finally out of her life. Alas, that was not to be.
While working for Britain’s spy agency, Maggie had gone through a series of dangerous and high-stress events. She was almost killed by the Nazis in Paris, was imprisoned in Scotland, and came close to death during Reitter’s capture. Traumatized and exhausted, she left MI-5 and cut ties with the Metropolitan Police for a less stressful occupation: defusing unexploded German bombs in London. She was fearless, throwing caution to the winds, working tirelessly, racing through the London streets on her motorcycle, drinking and smoking to excess. Her friends feared for her health and her life, but she could not stop.
Reitter was given the death penalty. His reign of terror was over, but a new killer was spreading fear in the streets of London. The butchered bodies of young men were turning up along the banks of the Thames. The police had few clues to go on. The only common thread: each body was accompanied by a white feather, the symbol of cowardice first used in the Great War. With his execution day rapidly approaching, Reitter told DCI Durgin that he knew the identity of the murderer. He had one condition: he would only reveal what he knew to Maggie. She at first refused, but when she realized the young men she worked with might be potential victims, she agreed.
The following days were harrowing, as Reitter teased and taunted her, but she found the strength and courage she thought she had lost. And not so coincidentally, she also solved the mystery of a priceless missing violin.
Maggie Hope is a formidable protagonist, flawed but gutsy, fearless and fragile. She is brave and resourceful in the midst of the horrors of war. Through her eyes the reader can see the devastation of London and the resilience of the English people. This book, and this series, is highly recommended.
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