First Impression Friday: “Princess Elizabeth’s Spy” by Susan MacNeal

Welcome back to First Impression Friday, where I try to keep my life from going completely off the rails, and instead of staring at Reddit all day, I attempt to do something productive with my time.

This week’s book is Princess Elizabeth’s Spy, which is the second book in the Maggie Hope Mystery series by Susan MacNeal. I reviewed Mr. Churchill’s Secretary a few weeks ago, and yet for some reason I felt the need to read the next book in the series.

From GoodReads:

As World War II sweeps the continent and England steels itself against German attack, Maggie Hope, former secretary to Prime Minister Winston Churchill, completes her training to become a spy for MI-5. Spirited, strong-willed, and possessing one of the sharpest minds in government for mathematics and code-breaking, she fully expects to be sent abroad to gather intelligence for the British front. Instead, to her great disappointment, she is dispatched to go undercover at Windsor Castle, where she will tutor the young Princess Elizabeth in maths. Yet castle life quickly proves more dangerous—and deadly—than Maggie ever expected. The upstairs-downstairs world at Windsor is thrown into disarray by a shocking murder, which draws Maggie into a vast conspiracy that places the entire royal family in peril. And as she races to save England from a most disturbing fate, Maggie realizes that a quick wit is her best defence, and that the smallest clues can unravel the biggest secrets, even within her own family.

Princess Elizabeth's Spy (Maggie Hope Mystery, #2)So far, so good. The premise of this one is that Maggie Hope has decided that she deserves to be the best spy ever, but instead of being sent to training like she wants to be, she is instead assigned to tutor the two young princesses at Windsor Castle.

Unfortunately for me, I think I can already see the “twist” coming, which is a sign of lazy writing. There’s also the fact that our beloved author is once again falling back on stereotypes. There’s the overbearing/quintessential English butler, the injured RAF pilot, the suspicious young governess, and so on and so forth. I’m not holding out high hopes for this, but I think I’ve gone ahead and forced myself to finish out this series. There are eight books as of the writing of this preview, so I’m in for a long slog. I’ll let you know if I survive coming out the other side.

What are your opinions on “cozy” mystery series? Should I just go ahead and give up the ghost, or should I struggle through the bad writing to see how she wraps this all up? Let me know in the comments!

And as always, keep reading.


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