What We Are Reading!

The key to deceitMary Jo: I just read the second of Ashley Weaver's Electra O'Donnell historical mystery series, set in London right at the beginning of WWII, and the books are narrated by Ellie, who was taught the skills of a safe cracker by her Uncle Mick.  The family runs a legitimate locksmith business, but when money is tight, Ellie and Uncle Mick quietly break into unoccupied houses of the rich for a spot of burglary. 
      The first book, A Peculiar Combination, begins when Ellie and her uncle break into a house and are ambushed by Major Ramsay, a British army intelligence officer who needs a skilled safe cracker and is quite willing to blackmail the O'Donnells into helping him. 
       Ellie is happy to use her nefarious skills and is reluctantly attracted to the rigidly controlled Major Ramsay.  She also has a possibly developing relationship with a talented forger friend of the family, Felix Lacey. She's smart, stubborn, and determined, and in the first book, she finds that she enjoys the danger and satisfaction of  risking her life for her country. And she wants to do it again.
       In the second book, The Key to Deceit, Major Ramsay turns up again needing her skills.  The body of a well-dressed young woman with no identification has been found in the Thames, and she has an unusual bracelet locked around her wrist.  Ellie unlocks the bracelet, and soon she and Major Ramsay and her friends are chasing a Nazi spy ring around London.  
      The advancing war is palpable, and at the end of the book, the Blitz has begun as masses of German bombers begin pounding London.  It only makes Ellie, her friends, and her fellow Londoners more determined to remain unbroken.  Clearly there is much more that can be done with this series and these characters, and I look forward to the next installment!

Read more