The Prisoner in the Castle

A Maggie Hope Mystery
Narrated by: Susan Duerden
Series: A Maggie Hope Mystery, Book 8
Length: 10 hrs and 10 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (358 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 best-selling author of Mr. Churchill’s Secretary. 

November, 1942. World War II is raging, and former spy Maggie Hope knows too much: what the British government is willing to do to keep its secrets, who is lying, 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. 

When one of her fellow inmates drops dead in the middle of his after-dinner drink - 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:

“The colonel sums it up best on page 10: ‘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) 

"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)

"Evocative." (Publishers Weekly)

©2018 Susan Elia MacNeal (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"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)

"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)

"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)

What listeners say about The Prisoner in the Castle

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Best one yet?

I read the whole series finishing just in time to listen to this addition when it was released. I think it might be my favorite yet! I am now sad to have to wait another year for the next one. It was different than the previous novels, being much more a mystery and taking cues from classic Agatha Christie. The social justice themes were a little lighter in this book than previously in the series as well, as well as coinciding historical events.

I don't understand the hate for this narrator. She does a fine job. I actually thought the narrator for the first book, Mr. Churchill's Secretary was hard to listen to/understand and was glad that a new narrator was picked up for the rest of them.

3 people found this helpful

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Annoying narration

Why do I keep forgetting how much I don’t care for this narrator? Maggie deserves a better voice. The author deserves a better presentation. I will try to remember to read the next book rather than listen to it.

The book was just missing “It was a dark and stormy night.” This was Agatha Christie-like and, frankly, I expected better. I’m glad so many liked this book because Susan MacNeal puts a lot into each book.

Maggie is trapped on a Scottish island with other agents before murder and mayhem ensue á la Ms Christie. This was not my favorite.

1 person found this helpful

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Not up to Maggie Hope standards

Really, Ms. MacNeal? Such a blatant remake of Agatha Christie's "And then there were none." You are better than that, Ms. MacNeal.

1 person found this helpful

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Love this narrator

Susan Duerdon’s narration is masterful. At a couple of points inthe book I found myself marveling that this was only one person reading. I’m writing this review because I read other reviewers low rating this narrator. I’m pretty picky and I can’t imagine why they didn’t like her.


2 people found this helpful

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Not one of the best Maggie Hope books..

I have loved this series so much, but this one with a much used plot, definitely nit so great.

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Love this series

Everyone needs a Maggie Hope in their life! This series is a great cozy mystery with likable characters.

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Great historical mystery

I have greatly enjoyed every book by Ms MacNeal. This was no exception and it came even more alive narrated by Ms Duerden!

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The best one so far!

I really enjoyed this book. The narrator is great. The story line, characters and plot were exciting and suspenseful and hard to stop listening.

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Another Maggie Hope mystery

Beautiful Scottish setting- Maggie does it again. This sort is probably trite and predictable, but I loved it and was on the edge of my seat!

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Maggie in prison for doing her job well and not talking.

I was disappointed in the ending as it was the same as two of her other books. One being a plane and the other a boat. O surprise. As to how she was going to get out this.

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  • helena
  • 03-24-19

Not as good as previous books

Have listened to all the others in the series and really enjoyed them. Found this to be a complete let down going nowhere and so far fetched it was unbelievable