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Publisher's Summary

Maggie Hope is off to California to solve a crime that hits too close to home - and to confront the very evil she thought she had left behind in Europe - as the acclaimed World War II mystery series from New York Times bestselling author Susan Elia MacNeal continues.

Named One of the Best Books of the Year by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“A swift, vibrant novel that peels back the asbestos curtain on the complex history of Los Angeles, home to heroes and villains.” (Steph Cha, author of Your House Will Pay)

Los Angeles, 1943. As the Allies beat back the Nazis in the Mediterranean and the United States military slowly closes in on Tokyo, Walt Disney cranks out wartime propaganda and the Cocoanut Grove is alive with jazz and swing every night. But behind this sunny façade lies a darker reality. Up in the lush foothills of Hollywood, a woman floats lifeless in the pool of one of California’s trendiest hotels.

When American-born secret agent and British spy Maggie Hope learns that this woman was engaged to her former fiancée, John Sterling, and that he suspects her death was no accident, intuition tells her he’s right. Leaving London under siege is a lot to ask - but John was once the love of Maggie’s life...and she can’t say no. 

Maggie struggles with seeing her lost love again, but more shocking is the realization that her country is as divided and convulsed with hatred as Europe. The Zoot Suit Riots loom large in Los Angeles, and the Ku Klux Klan casts a long shadow everywhere. But there is little time to dwell on memories once she starts digging into the case. As she traces a web of deception from the infamous Garden of Allah to the iconic Carthay Circle Theater, she discovers things aren’t always the way things appear in the movies - and the political situation in America is more complicated, and dangerous, than the newsreels would have them all believe.

©2021 Susan Elia MacNeal (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“Maggie Hope and her adventures continue to be charming and absorbing.” (Seattle Times)

“The 10th Maggie Hope historical mystery by Susan Elia MacNeal is a particularly distinctive one.... MacNeal’s brisk plotting and efficient dialogue propel a mystery cloaked in some universal truths: History is determined to repeat itself, no front is ever united and Hollywood, despite its glamour and sparkle, is a hall of mirrors.” (The New York Times

“Stellar.... Susan Elia MacNeal expertly braids the glitz and glamour of Hollywood with the chilling reality of the rise of American Nazis and blatant racism.... Maggie notes that ‘it’s the same war, different country,’ and, sadly, one we’re still fighting.” (Arizona Daily Star

What listeners say about The Hollywood Spy

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California centered

I’ve enjoyed all the Maggie Hope books because life during WWII has always fascinated me, drawing me to both historical fiction and nonfiction books centered on that period. Maggie Hope books are among the best because they combine excellent history lessons alongside vivid, appealing characters and compelling plots. We see how people can grow during wartime but shattered by the violence, cruelty and duplicity. This book shows us a Maggie whose confidence soars as she brilliantly solves a complicated mystery while confronting fascism, racism and fanaticism in wartime California.

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Acknowledgement

The author credits the book, ‘Memories of Ciro’s’ by Lauren Scibelli Mullen. That book is about an Italian restaurant, Ciro’s, in Springfield, Massachusetts. It has nothing to do with the Ciro’s in Los Angeles! Makes one question much.

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Not the best

I have all the other Maggie Hope books but this one just didn’t interest me. The performance was all right. I found the story just flat despite the number of historical entertainers introduced. Disappointed in this one.

1 person found this helpful

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Maggie Hope matures

Maggie really comes into her own as an intelligent and powerful woman. The story was quite complex and very well researched. Historically interesting.

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Ruined by the Narrator

Earlier books in this series had a different narrator who presented Maggie as plucky and likeable. This particular narrator presents her in a way that is overbearing and obnoxious. Every thought is a breathy soliloquy. The story itself was good but the topic was especially painful given the background of current events and the inability of Americans to separate themselves from inherent racism. Tough listen, made tougher by the narrator's presentation of the main character.

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Great!

the best one of the series! Thank you! Loved the author's note. It made the book more real.

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The best one so far

I am so happy this book told the truth about America in the 1940s. It was all a facade, as is the American dream for many many Americans. Unfortunately many of these groups and ideologies have survived and pose a very real threat.

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The story line and plot were painfully slow.

The subject matter was very hard to listen to. Did not care for this book.

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Brilliant and informative

Brilliant book and so informative. Can’t wait for the next one. The narrator is great too.

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Love the series even if it's predictable!

This wasn't my favorite book of the series. I enjoyed the London based ones more.