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.
“Filled with wry humor, tight suspense, and a delightful cast of characters.”—Alyssa Maxwell, author of the Gilded Newport mysteries
FIRST RULE: DON’T LOSE YOUR CONCENTRATION.
Electra McDonnell and her family earn their living outside 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 with World War II in full swing, Uncle Mick’s locksmith business just can’t pay the bills anymore.
SECOND RULE: DON’T MAKE MISTAKES.
So when Uncle Mick receives a tip about a safe full of jewels in an empty house, he and Ellie can’t resist. All is going as planned—until the pair is caught red-handed. But instead of arresting them, government official Major Ramsey has an offer: either Ellie agrees to help him break into a safe and retrieve blueprints crucial to the British war effort, or he turns her over to the police.
THIRD RULE: DON’T GET CAUGHT.
Ellie doesn’t care for the major’s imperious manner, but she has no choice. However, when they break into the house, they find the safe open and empty, and a German spy dead on the floor. Soon, Ellie and Major Ramsey are forced to put aside their differences to unmask the double agent, and stop Allied plans from falling into enemy hands.
A gifted lock-picker is called upon to serve her country during WWII in this superb series launch from Edgar finalist Weaver (the Amory Ames series). After business slows down for locksmith Mick McDonnell, Electra "Ellie" McDonnell helps her uncle crack a safe at a posh home in London, only to find it is a setup. The arrogant Maj. Gabriel Ramsey has a job for her: steal secret plans from a traitor's safe, and Mick will walk free. When Ellie and Ramsey enter the traitor's house, however, they find him dead and the safe empty. Ramsey thinks likely suspects belong to a group of Chinese porcelain devotees with potential ties to Germany, and takes Ellie to one of their parties to break into the host's safe. Suspicion swirls around a former girlfriend of Ramsey, setting Ellie, Ramsey, and their associates on the trail of spies in the town of Torquay. A thorny relationship between Ellie and Ramsey, a cast of colorful characters, a brisk pace, and an ironic message about the identity of true patriots enthrall. Readers will look forward to the next mission for the smart, feisty Ellie and her circle.
Excellent mystery and characters
What a wonderful story and I hope there are more to come. The characters are engaging and you come to care about them. I do hope that Ellie, Major Ramsey, Uncle Mick, Felix and Nacy have more adventures to tell.
It was ok, but rather redundant. To many mental questions posed by the main character, and they were often repetitive. I just didn’t enjoy these people., so can’t say I enjoyed the book. It would have been a much better read without the attempt at romance. If you are going to write a spy novel, then write a good spy novel. If you want to write a romance, then do it with gusto, not this lukewarm drivel. But don’t combine them when you can do neither very well. That earns you a lukewarm rating and a meh. I’ll pass on this author in the future.