As I have greatly enjoyed all the previous Maggie Hope stories, I was looking forward to this one–and it did not disappoint.
What a story! Or, what a bunch of stories–because there are several threads spun simultaneously by the author. There is the story of Maggie helping to solve the brutal case of a WWII-era Jack the Ripper type, identified here as “the Blackout Beast” as he targets young working women in London. But there is also the story of Maggie’s half-sister Elise, a prisoner in Nazi Germany, the story of her friend and her new adorable new baby, the preparation of a pair of Maggie’s colleagues for a dangerous mission in occupied France, and the varied appearances of Maggie’s mother, father, and stepfather.
This book held my attention from the start and I finished it in record time as I found it difficult to put down. There is much that in sobering in this story of brave people dealing with the terrible realities of World War II. It is not a story for the faint of heart, as suffering and brutality are as prominent as the heroism of some characters and the evildoing of others. We are made to feel some of the ambivalence faced by people trying to survive this awful period in our history.
I did give this book 5 stars, because it is so brilliantly plotted and excellently presented. But it certainly is not what I would call a “cozy” mystery, but rather one that is sobering and thought-provoking.