Saturday, May 8, 2021

ARC Review: A Peculiar Combination by Ashley Weaver

A Peculiar Combination

Ashley Weaver
Series: Electra McDonnell Series (Book 1)
Publication: Minotaur Books (May 11, 2021)

Description: The first in the Electra McDonnell series from Edgar-nominated author Ashley Weaver, set in England during World War II, A Peculiar Combination is a delightful mystery filled with spies, murder, romance, and the author's signature wit.

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.

My Thoughts: Ellie McDonnell is drafted into the British Intelligence effort when she and her Uncle Mick are caught trying to break into a safe in a supposedly empty house. British Intelligence in the person of Major Ramsey has a need for a safecracker. 

There is a scheme to substitute false plans and false intelligence to send to the Germans but first they need to recover the papers. Ellie is willing to do her bit for king and country but she really doesn't get along with Major Ramsey who seems unnecessarily rigid and secretive. 

The original plan goes awry when they find the safe empty and the body of the suspected traitor with his throat cut. Now they have to discover where the papers went and who is involved in the possible treason. Ellie finds herself attending a society party potentially filled with traitors along with Major Gabriel Ramsey. She's supposed to be his new girlfriend which is an uncomfortable situation since his old girlfriend is also at the party and is also one of the suspects. 

This was an enjoyable mystery with an interesting World War II setting. Ellie is an interesting character and so is Gabriel Ramsey. I look forward to further adventures.

Favorite Quote:
For not the first time since this dreadful war had started, I had the sensation that I was bound to people who might otherwise have been perfect strangers, that we were all connected by some invisible strings that pulled us together in ways we might never have imagined. 
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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