It has been well over thirty days and nights since my Human Girl, the one they call “Maggie Hope,” unceremoniously dumped me at this place they call “Number 10 Downing Street.”
It’s all right. A bit drafty. Lots of mice.
She was concerned I would be a nuisance. As if! Her friend David, the one who needs more cat hair on his trousers, assured her it would not be a problem. “We’re British,” he said. “We love animals. It’s children we can’t stand. That’s why we invented boarding schools.”
And thank the Goddess Bastet there are no children here. But.
There is a dog. Rufus. He seems to belong to the Alpha Human. They call him Churchill. The alpha human, not the dog. The dog is Rufus. He’s a poodle. He’s such a Rufus. He often sulks.
I loathe him.
And then there’s Nelson, a small cat. He’s afraid of everything. It’s embarrassing, really.
Apparently he’s named after someone important, a “Lord Nelson” who was very brave.
Cat Nelson is not.
Whenever something scary happens, Alpha-human Churchill says, “Summon the Spirit of the Tiger Nelson! No one named Nelson ever hid under furniture!”
And yet, under the sofa he goes.
I am embarrassed for the British Empire, really I am.
He’s very nice, though, this Winston Churchill. Always say, “Good morning, Cat!” Sometimes I twine around his ankles during dinner and he slips me bits of fish or chicken. He pets me and says, “Good Cat. Marvelous Cat.” Obviously a man of excellent taste and judgment. He’s even apologized to me that there is no cream in wartime. I don’t know what “wartime” is, but I prefer the salmon. But if he would like to feel guilty, I will let him. More salmon that way.
I wonder what Maggie, my human, is doing. I spend long hours missing her—and then how I will punish her when she returns.
I will turn my back on her, no matter how much she pleads and uses soft voices.
I will not respond to pets.
I will pin my ears back and possibly hiss.
I will show my delightful belly, then nip if she tried to touch.
If, and I say if, she shows sufficient remorse, I will let her back into my good graces.
In the meantime, I count the days. And wait.
The Queen’s Accomplice is the sixth book in the Maggie Hope mystery series, published by Bantam Books, October 2016.
England, 1942. Great Britain and the U.S. have joined forces to fight the Nazis. The relentless Blitz may have paused, but London’s nightly blackouts continue.
Under the cover of darkness, a madman is brutally killing and mutilating young women in eerie and exact re-creations of Jack the Ripper’s crimes. What’s more, he’s exclusively targeting women about to serve as Winston Churchill’s spies and saboteurs abroad.
The officers at MI-5 quickly realize they need the help of special agent Maggie Hope to find the killer dubbed “the Blackout Beast.” A trap is set. But once the murderer has his sights on Maggie, not even Buckingham Palace can protect the resourceful spy from her fate.
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Meet the author
Susan MacNeal is the Barry Award–winning and Edgar, ITW Thriller, Dilys, Agatha, Macavity, and Lefty Award–nominated author of the New York Times bestselling Maggie Hope mysteries, including Mr. Churchill’s Secretary, Princess Elizabeth’s Spy, His Majesty’s Hope, The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent, and Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante. She lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with her husband and child. She’s hard at work on the next Maggie Hope novel, The Paris Spy, which Bantam Books will publish in hardcover in August 2017.
All comments are welcomed.
Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of The Queen’s Accomplice. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends October 2, 2016 at 12 PM (noon) EST. Good luck everyone!