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 math. 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 defense, and that the smallest clues can unravel the biggest secrets, even within her own family.
After reading three books in this series, I have to confess they have become a sort of guilty pleasure. They are fast paced, adventurous, can be completed in a single sitting and make me like Maggie more. She is so feisty, courageous and intelligent. I love how gives back to anyone who thinks she is just a beauty without brains. In this book too, she goes undercover as a tutor to Princess Elizabeth at Windsor Castle, initially apprehensive because she thinks her talent isn’t being utilized; but readily agrees when made aware of the dangers lurking around the Royal family. As always, wherever she goes, murder follows. Now, it’s upon her to find out the truth and uncover the conspiracy. In between all this, she is also teaching the Princess to make codes, preparing for a performance of the Sleeping Beauty by the Princesses and finding out damaging information about her own family. She is also very upset because John is missing, presumed dead but she will not let it prevent her duties. She and her new beau Hugh show great bravery to prevent the catastrophe at the end and it was really thrilling till the end.
This book had some great dialogue which I loved – Maggie describes Schrodinger’s Cat and Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem to her friends who don’t understand a word – it just shows her level of intellect. It’s good to read about a female protagonist’s smarts rather than her beauty. I also loved a couple of references to Holmes; especially the new spy organization being called Baker Street Irregulars. On the whole, this is a fun read and has renewed my interest in reading the next books of the series.