The Prisoner in the Castle (Maggie Hope Series #8)

The Prisoner in the Castle (Maggie Hope Series #8)

by Susan Elia MacNeal


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The Prisoner in the Castle (Maggie Hope Series #8) by Susan Elia MacNeal

A series of baffling murders among a group of imprisoned agents threatens the outcome of World War II in this chilling mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Mr. Churchill’s Secretary.

World War II is raging, and former spy Maggie Hope knows too much.

She knows what the British government is willing to do to keep its secrets.

She knows the real location of the planned invasion of France.

She knows who’s lying. She knows who the double-crossers are. She knows exactly who is sending agents to their deaths.

These are the reasons Maggie is isolated on a remote Scottish island, in a prison known as Killoch Castle, out of contact with friends and family.

Then one of her fellow inmates drops dead in the middle of his after-dinner drink—and he’s only the first. As victims fall one by one, Maggie will have to call upon all her wits and skills to escape—not just certain death . . . but certain murder.

For what’s the most important thing Maggie Hope knows?

She must survive.

Praise for The Prisoner in the Castle

“Another literary tour de force . . . From the book’s perfectly calibrated plot to its incisively etched characters, everything is handled with perfect finesse by the author.”Poisoned Pen Newsletter

“One pleasure of a mystery series is connecting with a character that changes and grows with each novel. . . . Maggie’s intelligence and loyalty to the war effort continue to evolve in [Susan Elia] MacNeal’s series. . . . Solid twists keep the plot of The Prisoner in the Castle churning until the surprise finale.”—Associated Press

“A mystery . . . tailor-made for readers in the post-election, #MeToo era. . . . If you love a tricky puzzle that requires you to keep track of multiple alibis over time, this is your summer read.”The Washington Post

“Evocative.”Publishers Weekly

“MacNeal uses [Agatha] Christie’s And Then There Were None as a framework for a character-driven mystery/thriller that successfully emulates the original.”Kirkus Reviews

“The colonel sums it up best on page ten: ‘If you take a pretty girl and teach her how to kill, it can cause problems.’ Not just problems—electrifying action and nonstop surprises. I loved this book!”—R. L. Stine, author of the Goosebumps and Fear Street series

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399593826
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/07/2018
Series: Maggie Hope Series , #8
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 37,329
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Susan Elia MacNeal is the New York Times bestselling author of the Maggie Hope mysteries. MacNeal won the Barry Award and has been nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, Agatha, Left Coast Crime, Dilys, and ITW Thriller awards. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and son.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Excerpted from "The Prisoner in the Castle"
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Copyright © 2018 Susan Elia MacNeal.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
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Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Prisoner in the Castle (Signed Book) (Maggie Hope Series #8) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Anonymous 9 days ago
Trapped on an island with other SOE agents, Maggie has to identify a German spy. Lots of red herrings!
CheliD 13 days ago
Maggie Hope knows too much about the plans of the Allied forces so she is being held on a remote Scottish island with other agents that also know too much. Little do they know that their ranks have been infiltrated by a German spy and that one by one this spy is killing them off while waiting to be pickup by a German U boat. Who is, how will they all protect themselves, will they survive until help comes? Fascinating change of pace for the series. Lots of plot twists and character changes. Loved it!
Anonymous 3 months ago
Maggie just gets better with each adventure.
Dismas 4 months ago
The copy I have is a pre-release copy, which as I understand it has no strings attached. The Prisoner in The Castle by Susan Elia MacNeal is a book set in Great Britain on an Island off the coast of Scotland; it is about the life of a number of special agents from various services of Britain and the events they went through in a time during World War Two. It’s a good and well written book, which held my attention from the first page. Apparently it is a novel that is a part of a series that the author has written focused on the main person of the story Maggie Hope; it is an historical fiction novel. This is the first of her books that I have read; but I’ll be looking for others as she writes them and go back to those she has already completed. I really like the book and highly recommend it; I’m reading history right now so an historical novel about WWII was a good way to take a break from actual history books. The characters are all interesting; and the plot seemed to me to develop well but not give away the ending so it was fun to read.
nhr3bookcrazyNR 4 months ago
Love the Maggie Hope series! I tore through this story, turning the pages as quickly as I could. I totally didn't expect the circumstances in which we find Maggie in this book. But, as always, I loved the Maggie character. The bad news is that I read it so quickly and now must wait for the next book in the series. Please hurry, Ms. MacNeal!
teachlz 4 months ago
My Review of “The Prisoner in the Castle” by Susan Elia MacNeal, Random House Publishing Group, Ballantine, August 7, 2018 Susan Elia MacNeal, Author of “The Prisoner in the Castle” has written an intriguing, captivating, suspenseful, riveting novel. The Genres for this Novel are Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, with a touch of Historical Fiction. This is the eighth Maggie Hope novel in the mystery series, but can be read as a stand alone. The author describes her colorful cast of characters as complicated and complex. Can you imagine that our Heroine Maggie Hope is imprisoned on a secret island, with other agents for knowing too much information? The powers that be are afraid that certain agents can change the course of World War Two by having too much information, and the solution seems to be to imprison them. Unfortunately one or more of these prisoners is a cold-blooded killer and possibly a spy. The name of the game for Maggie Hope is to survive, and somehow find help. But who can she trust? All the characters are seem suspect in one way and another, and her loved ones don’t know where she is. I highly recommend this novel for those readers that like a tense, and suspenseful story. I received an ARC from NetGalley for my honest review.
SherreyM 5 months ago
Through personal oversight, I didn’t realize that The Prisoner in the Castle was part of a series. Obviously, I’d never read any of Susan Elia MacNeal’s other books or others in the series about Maggie Hope. However, I can say I don’t think I missed too much as I found this a thrilling mystery and was hooked from the beginning. Approximately nine or ten agents capable of killing another human being with his or her hands have been sent to a remote Scottish island. MacNeal’s descriptive language paints for her readers a dreary, edgy landscape for the castle where these agents are held. True to the geographic area, the weather is stormy and blustery creating the right atmosphere for a dark tale of murders and suspicious minds. Everyone at the castle thinks he or she knows who the killer is and yet as the story unfolds no one seems to be correct. I enjoyed this development as it keeps the reader guessing as well as to who the guilty party might be. Perhaps MacNeal’s winning part of her craft is the development of her characters. Consider the number of characters in The Prisoner in the Castle. That’s a lot of characters to draw for your readers. MacNeal provides a rare set of characters who all, at one time or another, fear or hate someone else in the castle. Personalities are sharply contrasted to one another, and personal preferences are quite idiosyncratic. My Recommendation: There is no doubt I will be going back to read Books 1-7 of the Maggie Hope series, and I’m looking forward to the next installment already. If you love a good mystery set across the pond, check out Susan Elia MacNeal’s writing, especially the Maggie Hope mysteries.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Maggie Hope never disappoints
Etain 5 months ago
The Prisoner in the Castle is in the Maggie Hope series, and the first one I have read. It certainly won't be the last! MacNeal's descriptive writing puts you on the island, in the castle with all the smells, weather, and tension of this story. A perfect, albeit harrowing, escape to Scotland. Everyone looks guilty, except Maggie. The reveal is done in a 'perfect storm' fashion, and even with all the clues is a surprise!
DanieleK 5 months ago
THE PRISONER IN THE CASTLE, the eighth installment in the excellent Maggie Hope Mystery Series, is a worthy homage to Agatha Christie’s AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, and it deviates enough from the original work to stand on its own merits. Maggie Hope finds herself virtually imprisoned, though a somewhat comfortable prison, with other SEO agents who know too much, on an island off the west coast of Scotland. They are expected to ride out the rest of the war isolated, determined to be a danger to British national security and the greater war effort. When the commanding officer suddenly dies, everyone assumes it is of natural causes. Even when an “inmate” also dies shortly thereafter, it is not obvious that it is foul play. That is, until the body count continues to rise. In a castle full of secret agents, all trained to kill, who could possibly be behind the murders? Maggie and the other agents find themselves walking on eggshells waiting for the next offense to occur. As the tally rises, the danger is palpable, and Maggie does what she can to get to the bottom of things. Even though Maggie is not on the front lines of WWII in this installment, there is more than enough danger and plenty of intrigue to make a compelling read. There are a few clues, red herrings, and unexpected twists along the way to keep readers guessing. I do, however, wish there had been more active investigating for Maggie to do. Most of the information she came across seemed to be by accident. The agents are all interesting in their own rights, and I enjoyed learning a bit of their back stories as the story progresses. The plot moves along a steady pace, and the writing is descriptive and clean. I greatly enjoyed my time with Maggie and look forward to many more adventures with her. I received an ARC of this title through NetGalley from the publisher and voluntarily shared my thoughts here.
MugsyMae 5 months ago
The Prisoner in the Castle is a great spy thriller/murder mystery. The characters are, for the most part, quirky egocentric spies who have been derailed to the "cooler" during WWII. Maggie Hope seems like one of the few who can "stay calm and carry on." The story kept me on edge with lots of false starts and accusations, and interested with new information to apply at each turn. I really enjoyed it! This is the first book I have read by Susan Elia MacNeal, and I will definitely be reading the other Maggie Hope mysteries!
Anonymous 6 months ago
"The Prisoner in the Castle," in many ways, is a nice revamp of Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None" - Seclusion of few secret agents on an isolated island, the inhabitants are being murdered, their fear and the will to stop the killing and so forth. The only difference between the two books, plot wise, is the culprit in "The Prisoner in the Castle" was punished and the heroin survived. Bottom line, "The Prisoner in the Castle" is just as enjoyable as "And Then There Were None." Susan Elia MacNeal crafted a story that is based on a classic yet it stands out on its own. The vibe and the voice were strong by bringing the historical and political elements into the story. I thought the story was simply a good copycat at the beginning. As the plot progressed, however, the copycat I saw no more but noticed a great and engaging wartime mystery. Pacey, well written, suspenseful and even spooky sometimes, I have had a great time reading "The Prisoner in the Castle." It definitely could be read as a standalone. I encountered no confusion without reading any precedent books in the series.
Boohimdanno 6 months ago
A very interesting concept for a mystery. A group of highly trained agents (all capable of murder with their bare hands) being restricted to a remote Scottish island without any communication with the outside world. When they start being murdered, and dropping like flies, suspicion and mistrust abound amoung the survivors. Can Maggie Hope (also being detained) solve the mystery and survive? The book must be read to determine the outcome. I have rated this book 4 stars I received an ARC from Netgalley for my unbiased review. Thank you Frank for the Review!
Anonymous 6 months ago
*Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for providing me with an early copy in exchange for an honest review.* 2.5 stars The Story~It's basically a reimagining of And Then There Were None. It's even mentioned in the book. It felt very long and meandering at times. Maybe it's because I haven't read any of the previous books and didn't have enough invested for it to feel quick and intense. The culmination didn't fit the otherwise slow build and was simple yet too complex to be fully believable. And we never found out how the killer did it or anything. There was a side plot involving the island's history which didn't serve any real purpose to the murder plot. It could've been left out or made more vague so it remained a mystery at the end. I felt the need to finish not because it was so good, but because I have other books clogging my brain and I had to get this one out of the way first. It started with such promise too. The Characters~Having not read any of the other books I found it hard to keep everyone straight, especially all the people in the government. Maggie, while praised as a strong and brave woman in almost all the other reviews, came across as weak and indecisive. She had moments of mental strength at the end, but until that point she couldn't decide who to trust and never rationalized out who it could be. I expected her to do stuff to further the investigation and it never came. Most of the characters were timid and unresponsive to the threat. I thought they'd been trained to have backbone and guts and take action with a clear head. They were defined by a couple traits and since most of them died off fairly quickly I never got to know them. And as a result, I didn't care if they died or not. I know it's hard to juggle so many people in such a short time and with this plot, but I wish it'd been handled better. I also didn't care about anyone else, with the possible exception of Durgin. The Description and Dialogue~The weather was integral to the plot and yet I didn't feel fully immersed in the landscape. I don't know if it's because it's in the nineties where I am or if the writing was poor. Some of the dialogue seemed a bit modern and none of it was memorable. Overall I expected more sleuthing and less bumbling around and fortifying oneself with alcohol and tea. It should have been shorter with more time devoted to the ending. I don't think I'll go back to the beginning or continue with the series.
Jnnlbrd 6 months ago
The Prisioner in the Castle is the eighth and latest installment in the Maggie Hope series and author Susan Elia MacNeal has given us a compelling, captivating and cerebral tale. World War II British secret agent, Maggie Hope, finds herself banished to the remote Scottish island, Scarra, with other SOE agents. MacNeal’s attention to detail in her description of the remote island and the castle that Maggie and the others inhabit is superb and fascinating. She gives the reader a real feel of what each one of the spies is feeling on the island. What sets this book apart from the previous books is MacNeals use of the plot from Agatha Christie’s classic novel, “And Then There Were None”, as a way of eliminating characters one by one. Maggie finds herself in a race against time to save herself and others on the remote island from a murderer. Maggie must use all the skills and tools in her arsenal to outsmart a treacherous individual out to due harm to others as well as potentially changing the course of the war. While there are references to past stories and characters, Prisioner in the Castle, is enjoyable and certainly entertaining as a stand-alone book, though you may find yourself enticed to go back and read the previous books in the series. The Prisioner in the Castle will leave you anxious for the next Maggie Hope adventure. I received an advance copy of this book from Netgalley. My review of the book is unbiased. #netgalley #theprisionerinthecastle
anneinaz 6 months ago
"The Prisoner in the Castle" by Susan Elia Macneal is book number 8 in the Maggie Hope series, which is centered on Mr. Churchill and England during World War II. It is the first of this series I have read but I intend to remedy that situation. Maggie works for various British intelligence agencies, apparently personnel transfers around. In this case she finds herself on a remote Scottish island living in a hunting lodge with a commander and fewer than a dozen prisoners as well as three caretakers. She has been sent into isolation but she is not certain the reason. All she knows is she takes her oath seriously and share no part of her professional life, even with the psychiatrist who visits one a month. No outside contact is allowed-family and friends are simply told "...on a mission." People start dying. At first it is unclear if it is by accident or ill health but it quickly becomes obvious it is murder. Macneal's story is kind of homage to Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None," a type of locked room the case an isolated island mystery. Frightening things happen as people start to suspect one another. Surprises are around every turn. A truly enjoyable wartime mystery enticing one to suspect even their own government, as common theme these days, sadly. Maggie is a strong character who displays professionalism, common sense, and an empathetic heart. She relates to other characters no matter their lots in life and deals with them in the kindest possible ways. Quite a good book. I recommend it to anyone who loves mystery, historical mystery, or Agatha Christie. I was given a free ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. #netgalley
Dmaxtownsend 6 months ago
Just who is the Prisoner in the castle? Is it Maggie Hope who is sidelined from her wartime role on an isolated Scottish isle with fellow prisoners deemed dangerous to the cause by those in charge? Or is it the murderer who has been daily killing them off? Or the mysterious ghost who, having killed a dozen men, haunts the castle? Or a possible Nazi spy cleverly hidden amongst them? This latest Maggie Hope mystery is not at all what I expected. And I don’t mean this in a bad way. We have all the intrigue, heroics, and the elegant mystery we expect from this author, believe me. The setting Maggie finds herself in, an abandoned castle with other political prisoners is wildly different and so engaging, and based on an actual WWII scenario. MacNeal’s research is extensive; her ability to bring her stories to life among this rich, yet frightening historical background continues to amaze me. I took pause at one sentence in particular which traced the path of a Nazi spy’s message; how many hours of research went in to that one sentence? You’ll also find a bit of a homage to Agatha Christie which tickled me as well. Read this one! Figure out who the Prisoner is. And then impatiently away Maggie Hope’s next adventure. I just love this series!
Rhonda-Runner1 6 months ago
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is an Agatha Christy type murder mystery set off the coast of Scotland during World War II where British SOE agents are being kept against their will in Killoch Castle. This is my first Maggie Hope mystery series book and the eighth in this series. I don't usually read this type of book but it was well written and full of mystery and suspense. I did enjoy reading it and probably would have enjoyed it more had I read the previous seven books.
JeanK 6 months ago
I would like to thank Random House and NetGalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The Prisoner in the Castle is the latest entry in Susan Elia MacNeal’s Maggie Hope World War II mysteries. Maggie finds herself a prisoner at Killoch Castle on a remote Scottish island simply because she knows too much about the future invasion and intelligence activities. Her fellow prisoners were all working for the intelligence service in some capacity, imprisoned for the duration of the war and possibly beyond. Their routine lives are changed when one of the prisoners dies shortly after dinner, the victim of poison. A weekly supply boat is found drifting off shore and out of gas with the captain also poisoned. With no way off the island, it is Maggie who radios for assistance and uses her skills as an investigator to try and find the killer. However, severe weather causes delays in any assistance. In London, a murder trial’s outcome depends on Maggie’s testimony. As the only surviving witness it is crucial that she appear, yet Intelligence refuses to disclose her location. It is up to DCI Durgin and Peter Frain, working for Churchill, to discover the existence of Killoch Castle. If you are unfamiliar with this wonderful series, this is a perfect place to start. MacNeal provides enough background to acquaint the reader with her characters. As additional murders occur there is a suspicion that a German agent may be hiding on the island, leading to a fast-moving and surprising climax. This is Maggie at her best and if you are a fan of Christie’s And Then There Were None, you will be thrilled by MacNeal’s The Prisoner in the Castle.
Anonymous 6 months ago
This feels like It is a nod to the "murder on an island" that Agatha Christie did so well. Maggie has to figure out who is killing everyone before she’s next. Everyone on this island is a spy with their own secrets so who can she really trust. It's a great mystery, a who done it that absolutely works! While you don't have to read the other books in the series. I would suggest you do. It just gets better and better. Yea Maggie!!
SusanKC 6 months ago
Bravo! Another excellent addition to a popular series. Ms. MacNeal gives her own original twist to a plot reminiscent of Agatha Christie's And Then There were None. As her readers have come to expect, we have a story filled with danger, one of spies and espionage. Ms.MacNeal expertly spins a story that gains momentum at the end, leaving the reader unable to put the book down until the last page has been read. I loved the vivid descriptions of the Scottish island that appealed to the senses. Ms. MacNeal provides an eclectic cast that kept me guessing until the very end. As always, I can rely upon Ms. MacNeal to provide well-researched historic detail of the setting and the British SOE agents in WWII. I look forward to reading more of Maggie Hope's adventures in the future. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley and the author/publisher. I was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.
iiiireader 6 months ago
I’m a real fan of this series and have read all but one of the books. How I missed the last book is beyond me but I will be rectifying that shortly. A quick word to say that while this book can be read stand-alone, I suggest reading the series in order. The series follows events of WWII and provides a good history backdrop to the fictional account of Maggie Hope, English spy. Even missing the last book was enough to make me wonder about what had just happened to place Maggie where she is in this story. Maggie and some fellow English spies are being held (by their own government) on an island prison just off the coast of Scotland. When some suspicious deaths occur, the spies start turning on their own. Maggie keeps her head and tries to figure out the logical play of events. Since Maggie is a mathematician, logic plays a large part of her persona. The past looms large with the history of the island reasserting itself in current events. I will be looking forward to more books in this series in the future. I’ve enjoyed not only the progress of the stories but also the growth of the author as she has honed her skill from book to book. I was provided a digital advance reader copy of this book by the publisher via Netgalley.
dibbylodd 6 months ago
This is another total immersion into WWII. All the grit, danger, tensions, and boredom when waiting. The characters are marvelously drawn and pulled me right in. I was left a bit puzzled as to why she was being imprisoned. I couldn't remember enough details from the last story. I think my confusion was at least in part a result of the bureaucratic folly that put her there. It is amazing to step into these lives and see how they each cope with the isolation and, at least for some, the feeling of uselessness while the war goes on. It's a fine read and I , again, look forward to further adventures and more expansion of my WWII knowledge.
nfam 6 months ago
WWII Spies Held on an Island Die One-By-One Being a prisoner on the Island of Scarra on Scotland’s northern coast, was not the way Maggie Hope envisioned spending the end of WWII. The island was owned by an eccentric millionaire, and the castle where the spies are held is magnificent, if eerie. Maggie knows too much and the secret service no longer trusts her because she refused an assignment that would have required her to send unsuspecting recruits to their deaths in the war zone. She and the other spies are being kept on the remote island to assure they keep their secrets. The captivity is just boring in spite of the amenities offered by the castle, until one-by-one the spies begin to die. As the deaths mount, the island is cut off by a raging storm and Maggie must find the murderer to save the other prisoners. This is a take off on Agatha Christie’s “And The There Were None.” The plot works very well on a remote island cut off from help. It will keep you guessing who the murderer is. Maggie’s character is well developed. She starts the book enclosed and upset because of being incarcerated, but as tension mounts her skill at organizing the prisoners and keeping them as safe as possible comes to the fore. I highly recommend this book. If you have read other Maggie Hope books, you’ll enjoy this one. If you’re an Agatha Christie fan, you will find the plat engaging. I received this book from Net Galley for this review.
wjane 6 months ago
The Prisoner in the Castle #8 in this Series is historical mystery fiction worthy of Agatha Christie. Maggie Hope is an American who has family in both England and Germany. Her loyalties are firmly with England serving during World War II in many capacities and lately as a Intelligence agent in special operations. I highly recommend this book and the entire series if you like thrillers, spies, unusual murder mysteries and military action. I have read every book in the Maggie Hope series and enjoyed them all. I wish to thank the author, publisher and netgalley for making this book available for me to read and review.