Skip to main content

A Peculiar Combination (An Electra McDonnell Mystery #1) by Ashley Weaver: A Book Review

A Peculiar Combination (An Electra McDonnell Mystery #1)
Author: Ashley Weaver
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery & Suspense
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: 2021
Pages: 300
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Synopsis: 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.

     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.


      My Review: Ellie McDonnell and her uncle Mick are thieves. One night, they break into a house to crack a safe. However, it turns out to be a set-up, and they are caught red-handed. In order to get out of prison, Ellie makes a deal with a government official, Major Ramsey, to break a safe filled with German secrets. Once she arrives at the safe, she finds nothing but a dead German spy. Ellie goes on an investigation to find out who killed the German spy and uncover what secrets the Germans hold.


     I found Ellie to be a very annoying character. When nothing goes her way, she would complain. Even though she was an adult, she acted like a spoiled teenager. Therefore, while she was a genius at code-breaking, independent, and tough, I could not like her character. I did not find her charming. Her sassy remarks came off as whiny. Therefore, she was not an appealing character.


      Overall, this novel is about loyalties, secrets, and spies. A Peculiar Combination is more of a spy thriller than a cozy historical mystery. Even though I disliked Ellie, I still found a few decent characters that I liked. I thought Ellie’s uncle was the most interesting character in this series. The love triangle was unnecessary and distracting. Still, this was a very fast-paced novel that is filled with political intrigue, action, danger, and humor! A Peculiar Combination is very well-written and is full of vivid details about World War II! Thus, this novel did pique my interest in reading the sequel. I hope that Ellie becomes more mature and likable in the next novel. I recommend this to those interested in World War II spy novels. A Peculiar Combination is perfect for fans of The Rose Code, In Farleigh Field, and Louise’s Chance!


Rating: 3 out of 5 stars


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki: A Book Review

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post Author: Allison Pataki Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Ballantine Release Date: February 15, 2022 Pages: 381 Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review. Synopsis: Mrs. Post, the President and First Lady are here to see you. . . . So begins another average evening for Marjorie Merriweather Post. Presidents have come and gone, but she has hosted them all. Growing up in the modest farmlands of Battle Creek, Michigan, Marjorie was inspired by a few simple rules: always think for yourself, never take success for granted, and work hard—even when deemed American royalty, even while covered in imperial diamonds. Marjorie had an insatiable drive to live and love and to give more than she got. From crawling through Moscow warehouses to rescue the Tsar’s treasures to outrunning the Nazis in London, from serving the homeless of the Great Depression to entertaining Roosevelts, Kennedys, and Hollywood’s biggest stars, Marjorie Merriweath

Tituba: The Intentional Witch of Salem by Dave Tamanini: A Book Review

Tituba: The Intentional Witch of Salem Author: Dave Tamanini Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy Publisher: David F Tamanini Release Date: 2020 Pages: 317 Source: Publisher/Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Synopsis: If you love historical fiction... come revisit Salem's terror in this provocative new telling of enslaved Tituba, no longer a caricature, but a fully human woman with magical powers.      Come! Let Tituba cast its spell with a unique and tantalizing tale that explores the wild emotions driving accusations of witchcraft in 1692.      A Promise and a Hope      Enslaved Tituba has been faithful to a promise to her dying mama in Africa. She has appeased the masters from Barbados to Boston to Salem and waited for her magic.      A Mother’s Agony      When Tituba’s only son dies trying to escape slavery, her life changes forever. After enduring the crush only a mother can feel, she rages and turns to vengeance.      Witches Tear into Salem      The villagers see wi

The Seven Sisters (The Seven Sisters #1) by Lucinda Riley: A Book Review

The Seven Sisters (The Seven Sisters #1) Author: Lucinda Riley Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance Publisher: Atria Release Date: 2015 Pages: 463 Source: My State Public Library Synopsis: Maia D’Apliese and her five sisters gather together at their childhood home, “Atlantis”—a fabulous, secluded castle situated on the shores of Lake Geneva—having been told that their beloved father, who adopted them all as babies, has died. Each of them is handed a tantalizing clue to her true heritage—a clue which takes Maia across the world to a crumbling mansion in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Once there, she begins to put together the pieces of her story and its beginnings. Eighty years earlier in Rio’s Belle Epoque of the 1920s, Izabela Bonifacio’s father has aspirations for his daughter to marry into the aristocracy. Meanwhile, architect Heitor da Silva Costa is devising plans for an enormous statue, to be called Christ the Redeemer, and will soon travel to Paris to find the right sculptor to