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Playing It Safe

I loved the third book in Ashley Weaver's fantastic Electra McDonnell historical mystery series!

Set during WWII, Electra "Ellie" McDonnell and her family are safe-cracking thieves who avoided jail by going straight and assisting the British government with the war effort. This mission sees her and Major Ramsey traveling to the port city of Sunderland, taking on assumed identities to investigate a dangerous German counterfeit operation and figure out an unexpected death.

This is one of my favorite historical mystery series! Exciting and fun to read, with tight plots, perfect pacing, and memorable characters. Ellie is a compelling MC, flawed but brave, headstrong, intelligent, and resourceful. It's interesting to see how a former thief, raised in a family of them, approaches certain aspects of an investigation and uses what she learned in her former life to inform her current one. Detailed enough to immerse you in the time and place but fast-paced enough to keep the story suspenseful, these books are very well-written!

If you want a thoroughly entertaining historical mystery with witty dialogue, a fabulous female sleuth, a touch of romance, and some WWII espionage, this is one to try!

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press Minotaur Books for the opportunity to review this ARC.

My steep was Earl Grey Creme Vanilla Black Tea from Upton Tea Imports.


As the Blitz continues to ravage London, Ellie McDonnell—formerly a safecracking thief, but currently determined to stay on the straight and narrow to help her country—is approached by British Intelligence officer Major Ramsey with a new assignment. She is to travel under an assumed identity to the port city of Sunderland and there await further instructions. In his usual infuriating way, the Major has left her task as vague and mysterious as possible.

Ellie, ever-ready to aid her country, heads north, her safecracking tools in tow. But before she can rendezvous with the major, she witnesses an unnatural death. A man falls dead in the street in front of her, with a note clutched in his hand. Ellie's instincts tell her that the man's death is connected in some way to her mission.

Soon, Ellie and the major are locked in a battle of wits and a race against time with an unknown and deadly adversary, and a case that leads them to a possible Nazi counterfeiting operation. With bombs dropping on the city and a would-be assassin shadowing their every move, it will take all of Ellie's resourcefulness and Major Ramsey's fortitude to unmask the spymaster and avert disastrous consequences—for England and for their own lives.

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