A British spy walks the fine line between brave and foolhardy in Nazi-occupied Paris.
Maggie Hope has played many roles in war-torn Britain, from Churchill’s secretary to Special Operations Executive spy (The Queen’s Accomplice, 2016, etc.). Now she’s in Paris waiting for forged identity papers and hoping to find her half sister, Elise Hess, a Resistance fighter who'd escaped from Germany, and learn the whereabouts of SOE agent Erica Calvert, who’s been collecting sand samples to help determine where the invasion forces should land. When the documents arrive, Maggie checks into the Hôtel Ritz posing as neutral Irishwoman Paige Kelly, who’s shopping for her trousseau. But tending to the wounds of a German knocked down by a bike as she’s on her way to the Ritz brings Maggie to the highly consequential attention of Generaloberst Christian Ruesdorf. At the Ritz, Maggie’s befriended by Coco Chanel, who introduces her to high-ranking Germans she’d rather avoid. Chanel invites Maggie to the ballet, where Sarah Sanderson and Hugh Thompson, two of Maggie’s fellow agents and close friends, are working, posing as a dancer and a cellist, respectively. Erica, it turns out, was captured and tortured by the Germans but kills herself before confessing anything. Her bag of samples is now in the hands of Sarah, who passes them on to Maggie. On the home front, SOE and MI6 continue to battle each other. Despite many warnings, SOE’s head ignores the fact that radio reports are coming from France without the code that’s supposed to guarantee their authenticity. As Maggie finds her sister hidden in a nunnery along with a wounded English pilot, the Germans back in Paris capture Sarah and Hugh, seriously endangering their plans. The secret of the invasion landing is the most important in the war, and Churchill will do anything to protect it. Can Maggie pull off a great escape and save the day?
Though the heroine’s latest adventure is far from her best, it’s packed with just about every plot device you’d expect from a World War II thriller, from horrifying plans to destroy the Jews to clever ploys to fool the Germans about Allied intentions.