Monday, May 24, 2021

A Peculiar Combination by Ashley Weaver

First Line: London. August 1940. We were going to get caught.
Electra "Ellie" McDonnell's cousin Colm is off fighting in the war. Her cousin Toby is missing after the debacle at Dunkirk, and Uncle Mick's skills as a locksmith can no longer pay all the bills, so he and Ellie resort to their other talents as cat burglars and safecrackers to break into the houses of the rich to take what they need to keep body and soul together. 
Despite the precautions they always take, they are caught red-handed and, instead of being taken to prison as Ellie expects, they are taken to a large townhouse where a tough-as-nails government official, Major Ramsey, gives them an ultimatum: break into a house, open the safe, and steal blueprints crucial to the war effort... or go to prison. 
It's not a difficult choice to make, but what surprises Ellie is the fact that she's willing to do as Ramsey orders because she wants to do her part for the war effort. If only things would go according to plan! When she and Ramsey break into the house, they find the thief dead on the floor and the blueprints gone from the safe. There's a double agent on the loose, and Ellie finds herself working with the imperious Major Ramsey to find the traitor before the blueprints can get into enemy hands.


One of these days, I'll tire of reading historical mysteries set during World War II, but I don't show any signs of slowing down-- especially when books like Ashley Weaver's A Peculiar Combination are being published. If you're a fan of series like Susan Elia MacNeal's Maggie Hope or Allison Montclair's Sparks and Bainbridge, you're going to enjoy adding this new series to your reading list.

Ellie is smart, brave, and definitely a quick thinker. Her reasons for distrusting law enforcement give her character more depth and will definitely have readers on her side. Once Ellie begins working with Major Ramsey, she likes the feeling it gives her; she feels that, for the first time in a long time, she's doing something good. Ellie gets stubborn when anyone tries to intimidate her, and I really appreciated the fact that, although there are times she doesn't want to tell the irritating Major Ramsey everything she knows, she's smart enough to realize that keeping things from him will only cause her grief in the long run.

Naturally, the major with a titled background, Hollywood good looks, and ramrod down his back is there to provide a hint of impending romance as well as a source of annoyance. Normally, I don't care for romance in my mysteries, but Weaver has such a light touch with it that I enjoyed the sparks, and she makes the major's backstory so intriguing that I have to know more. 

The mystery is a good one in A Peculiar Combination, the story flows smoothly, and with the main characters so skillfully introduced, I'm looking forward to more burgling, safecracking, and romantic sparks in the books to come.

A Peculiar Combination by Ashley Weaver
eISBN: 9781250780492
Minotaur Books © 2021
eBook, 288 pages
Historical Mystery, #1 Electra McDonnell mystery
Rating: B+
Source: Net Galley


  1. This sounds intriguing, Cathy. Ellie sounds like an interesting character, and the premise - that dilemma - is engaging. I'm not surprised you enjoyed the book. I'm trying sooooooo hard not to get tempted into another series, but....


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