Susan Elia MacNeal

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Susan Elia MacNeal
Susan Elia

Buffalo, New York, United States
ResidenceBrooklyn, New York
OccupationBook author
Spouse(s)Noel MacNeal (m. 1999)
ChildrenMatthew MacNeal

Susan Elia MacNeal 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[edit]

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 real people as some of the movers of her plots. Besides Winston Churchill, this includes Eleanor Roosevelt, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Princess (later Queen) Elizabeth II, etc. In her book "Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidant" the character John Sterling is based on the life of author Roald Dahl. The heroine, Maggie Hope, was inspired by the real life heroines that worked as secretaries and spies for the SOE during WWII.


Non-Fiction Books[edit]

  • Wedding Zen: Simple, Calming Wisdom for the Bride [Chronicle Books, 2004]
  • Infused: 100+ Recipes for Infused Liqueurs and Cocktails [Chronicle Books, 2006]

Maggie Hope Mystery Series[edit]

  • Mr. Churchill's Secretary [Bantam Dell/Random House, April 2012]
  • Princess Elizabeth's Spy [Bantam Dell/Random House, October 2012]
  • His Majesty's Hope [Bantam Dell/Random House, May 2013]
  • The Prime Minister's Secret Agent [Bantam, 2014]
  • Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante [Bantam, October 2015][13]
  • The Queen's Accomplice [Bantam 2016]
  • The Paris Spy [Random House 2017]
  • The Prisoner in the Castle [Random House 2018]


She married puppeteer Noel MacNeal — a television performer, writer, director, and author — on November 6, 1999 at the Union Theological Seminary.[14] They live in Brooklyn, New York with their son.[15]


  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.
  13. ^
    • "The Queen's Accomplice" [Bantam, 2016]
    "Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante: A Maggie Hope Mystery". Historical Novel Society.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ "His Majesty's Hope". Story Circle Book Reviews, Reviewed by Laura Strathman Hulka April 30, 2013

External links[edit]