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Thursday, June 3, 2021

Review - A Peculiar Combination

 I love starting at the beginning of a series, so I am tickled to introduce a new series.  This is a historical intrigue series set in WWII with a safe-cracking thief as the heroine.  The author has written the Amory Ames Mysteries that I have reviewed (#1 Murder at Brightwell click here) and the author did a guest post here (click here.)

Author: Ashley Weaver

Copyright: May 2021 (Minotaur Books) 304 pgs

Series: 1st in Electra McDonnell Intrigue series

Sensuality: n/a

Mystery Sub-genre: historical Suspense, amateur Sleuth

Main Characters: Electra McDonnell, a safe-cracking thief aiding the war effort 

Setting: 1942 London during WWII

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest opinion

Book Blurb: "Electra McDonnell has always known that the way she and her family earn their living is slightly outside of the law. Breaking into the homes of the rich and picking the locks on their safes may not be condoned by British law enforcement, but World War II is in full swing, Ellie's cousins Colm and Toby are off fighting against Hitler, and Uncle Mick's more honorable business as a locksmith can't pay the bills any more.

So when Uncle Mick receives a tip about a safe full of jewels in the empty house of a wealthy family, he and Ellie can’t resist. All goes as planned―until the pair are caught redhanded. Ellie expects them to be taken straight to prison, but instead they are delivered to a large townhouse, where government official Major Ramsey is waiting with an offer: either Ellie agrees to help him break into a safe and retrieve blueprints that will be critical to the British war effort, before they can be delivered to a German spy, or he turns her over to the police.

Ellie doesn’t care for the Major's imperious manner, but she has no choice, and besides, she's eager to do her bit for king and country. She may be a thief, but she's no coward. When she and the Major break into the house in question, they find instead the purported German spy dead on the floor, the safe already open and empty. Soon, Ellie and Major Ramsey are forced to put aside their differences to unmask the double-agent, as they try to stop allied plans falling into German hands."

Electra, orphaned and raised by her uncle, is witty, smart, and has a caring heart. Uncle Mick is willy, smart, and a survivor. Felix Lacey is a life long friend of the family who is home from war due to an injury and wants a relationship with Electra.  Major Ramsey is military stiff and regimented who softens a teensy bit with Electra.  Nacy is their housekeeper who has a nurturing nature. She is a great character and I look forward to more of her. 

I really liked this concept and the author did a great job of the intrigue.  The characters are wonderfully developed and the plot kept me engaged.  This has a lighter feel than you might expect for an intrigue novel, since it is partly a cozy mystery too.  I am looking forward to seeing where this series will go.

Rating:  Near Perfect - Buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend.

Here is an interview with Ashley Weaver on the book:

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Mystica said...

Vintage mystery and detection is a favourite of mine. Making a note of this one. Thanks for the review.

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