Book Review: Playing it Safe #AshleyWeaver #Minotaur #WWII

I did this review for the May edition of Historical Novels Review, the magazine of The Historical Novel Society.

Electra “Ellie” McDonnell, a former safecracker who is now working for the British government during World War II, is sent off on a mission by Intelligence to the port city of Sunderland. She is given an assumed identity and few instructions from her boss, Major Ramsey, and soon finds herself investigating a murder on her own. When she is finally joined by Major Ramsey, new concerns arise. Are the Germans counterfeiting IDs right under their noses?

This is the third book in the Electra McDonnell series, which just keeps getting better. I love that Ellie is from a family of former safecrackers, and her relatives show up or are alluded to throughout the book. Her Uncle Mick is the head of the family, and Ellie often recalls his lessons as she is breaking into a safe, a building, or a residence. Ellie uses her skills quite effectively, and it remains clear that criminals and spies have a lot in common. For example, Ellie says the following: “We hadn’t pulled a job of our own since getting involved with Major Ramsey, and I found that these dalliances with espionage were providing me with more than enough danger and excitement to quell my less legal impulses.”

There are plenty of twists and turns in this compelling mystery/thriller, and the plot is so clever that it will keep readers on their toes. The characters Ellie meets in Sunderland are well-written and quite intriguing. As Ellie turns her charms on friend and foe trying to find a killer, the reader is drawn in too. This series is both fun and thrilling, with just a touch of romance. Highly recommended.

I received a free copy of this book from Minotaur Books via The Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.


Ashley Weaver is the author of the Amory Ames Mysteries and the Electra McDonnell series. She is also the Technical Services Coordinator for the Allen Parish Libraries in Louisiana. Weaver has worked in libraries since she was 14; she was a page and then a clerk before obtaining her MLIS from Louisiana State University. She lives in Oakdale, Louisiana.



10 thoughts on “Book Review: Playing it Safe #AshleyWeaver #Minotaur #WWII”

  1. I haven’t read this series but this book sounds good. It’s nice to find a series where the books are all good.


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