Susan Elia MacNeal

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Susan Elia MacNeal
Buffalo, New York, United States
Years active1991–present
(m. 1999)

Susan Elia MacNeal (born 1968) is an American author, best known for her Maggie Hope mystery series of novels, which are set during World War II, mainly in London, England.


Early life and education

MacNeal attended Nardin Academy in Buffalo, New York, then graduated cum laude with special honors from Wellesley College in 1991 with a degree in English. [1] She cross-registered for classes at MIT and attended the Radcliffe Publishing Course at Harvard University.


MacNeal's background is in publishing, working as an assistant to novelist John Irving and then as an editor at Random House, Viking Penguin, and Dance Magazine. She started her writing career with two nonfiction books and articles on ballet, modern dance, and puppetry.

Her first novel, Mr. Churchill’s Secretary, was named as Best Paperback Original of 2012 by Deadly Pleasures, won a Barry Award [2] [3] and was nominated as Best First Novel by Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Award [4] It was also nominated as Best First Mystery Novel for Mystery Readers International's Macavity Award in 2013 [5] and for the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association's 2013 Dilys Award [6]

Her next book, Princess Elizabeth's Spy, was nominated for Macavity Award’s Sue Federer Historical Memorial Award in 2013 [7] [8] Âudiofile, and was included on the New York Times Bestseller List on October 29, 2012. [9]

MacNeal's third novel, His Majesty's Hope, also appeared on the New York Times Bestseller List [10] and was named on's Book of the Week and Seven Compulsively Readable Mysteries (for the Crazy-Smart Reader). [11] It was also nominated for an ITW Thriller Award.

This was followed by The Prime Minister's Secret Agent, another New York Times Bestseller, [12] and Lefty nominee, and, in 2015, by New York Times-bestseller Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante, which was nominated for an Agatha Award.

The Queen's Accomplice was a USA Today bestseller, a semi-finalist in the Goodreads Choice Awards, and nominated for a Barry Award.

The Paris Spy, the first of the series published in hardcover, then trade paperback, was a New York Times bestseller, Washington Post bestseller, Publishers Weekly bestseller, and nominated for an Agatha Award.

The Prisoner in the Castle was published on August 7, 2018.

All her books include historical figures in her plots, for example, Winston Churchill, Eleanor Roosevelt, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Princess (later Queen) Elizabeth II, etc. In Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidant the character John Sterling is based on the author Roald Dahl. The heroine, Maggie Hope, was inspired by the real life heroines who worked as secretaries and spies for the SOE during WWII and in The Paris Spy (2017) large parts of the plot have to do with Vera Atkins' experience as a senior SOE figure.


Non-Fiction Books

Maggie Hope Mystery Series

Personal life

She married puppeteer Noel MacNeal on November 6, 1999 at the Union Theological Seminary. [14] They live in Brooklyn, New York with their son. [15]

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  1. "English/Alumnae/Susan Elia MacNeal". Wellesley College. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  2. "List of Barry Awards from 1997". Barry Awards. Deadly Pleasures. Archived from the original on 23 April 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  3. "MR. CHURCHILL'S SECRETARY". Kirkus Reviews
  4. "Edgars Database". Mystery Writers of America. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  5. "List of Macavity Awards". Macavity Awards. Mystery Readers International. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  6. "List of Dilys Awards Since 1996". The Dilys Award. Independent Mystery Booksellers Association. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  7. "List of Macavity Awards Since 1987". Macavity Awards. Mystery Readers International. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  8. "Princess Elizabeth's Spy ". November 6, 2012 Bookpage
  9. "Paperback Trade Fiction Bestsellers for 29 October 2012". Best Sellers List. The New York Times. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  10. "Paperback Trade Fiction Best Sellers for 27 May 2013". Best Sellers List. The New York Times. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  11. "7 Compulsively Readable Mysteries (For the Crazy-Smart Reader)". Oprah Winfrey. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  12. "Paperback Trade Fiction Best Sellers for 14 July 2014". Best Sellers. The New York Times. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
    • "The Queen's Accomplice" [Bantam, 2016]
    "Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante: A Maggie Hope Mystery". Historical Novel Society.
  13. Smith Brady, Lois (14 November 1999). "Weddings: Vows; Susan Elia and Noel MacNeal". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  14. "His Majesty's Hope". Story Circle Book Reviews, Reviewed by Laura Strathman Hulka April 30, 2013