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The Key to Deceit

Updated: Jul 27, 2022

A page-turner of a historical mystery featuring safe-crackers gone straight

The Key to Deceit is the second in the WWII-era Electra "Ellie" McDonnell historical mystery and heist adventure series by Edgar-nominated author Ashley Weaver. Ellie and her family are criminals turned patriots with locksmith and safe-cracking skills they now use to covertly assist the British Military Intelligence to help thwart the Germans as WWII has begun and air raids are imminent. After a woman's body is found in the Thames River, it is believed the victim was involved in espionage. Ellie and the crew work to find out who the victim was working for and who wanted her dead. Not your typical murder mystery, this also encompasses a high-stakes operation as World War II rages on, and countless lives are at risk. It's a well-written, fun read with espionage, a heist adventure, history, a murder mystery, and a hint of romance all rolled into one.

Ellie is a strong, pragmatic, and resourceful protagonist, with an engaging and witty group of supporting characters around her. The pacing was fast and the plotting clever, with multiple subplots that will likely run throughout the series. I have not read the first book in the series, and there is enough backstory that I wasn't lost, but I will go back and see how this all began as I eagerly await book three! I enjoyed this even more than I expected and could not put it down. Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books, for the opportunity to read this ARC.


My steep was a traditional English Breakfast Tea with a bit of sugar. Tea was viewed as a sign of British unity during WWII, and the British government bought all the black tea in Europe to keep up morale.




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