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A Peculiar Combination

(Electra McDonnell #1)

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  80 ratings  ·  49 reviews
The first in the Electra McDonnell series from Edgar-nominated author Ashley Weaver, set in England during World War II, A Peculiar Combination is a delightful mystery filled with spies, murder, romance, and the author's signature wit.

Electra McDonnell has always known that the way she and her family earn their living is slightly outside of the law. Breaking into the homes
Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: May 11th 2021 by Minotaur Books
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Average rating 4.35  · 
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Anna Lee Huber
Oct 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A cracking good mystery! A Peculiar Combination, the first in a new series, proves that Weaver’s writing chops are as strong as ever. She introduces readers to a smart and gutsy new heroine, and takes them on an adventure filled with clever twists, flourishes of romance, and her signature sparkling wit.
Rachel McMillan
Nov 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
From my endorsement:

A wonderfully unique take, A Peculiar Combination is a standout in the historical fiction genre with its dash of romance and adventure, its winsome narrator in the irrepressible Ellie and the marvellously detailed rendering of London during the Blitz. Destined to stand-out in a sea of World War II era fiction, Weaver’s intelligent banter and pitch-perfect research make for an utterly immersive story certain to thrill fans of Kate Quinn and Susan Elia MacNeal.

This was a fun start to a new historical mystery series from Ashley Weaver. Set during the Second World War, Electra McDonnell is a young woman who’s part of a colorful and not altogether law abiding family. Her uncle is a safecracker and she’s learned the trade from him. When they’re both caught in the act, Ellie and her uncle are drafted into service for the military. They need to open a safe and swap some papers so that misinformation can be passed onto the Nazis. Unfortunately that mission g ...more
Mar 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
To have the ears of a CEO and the fingertips of an angel is the dream of any safecracker. Producing product is the ultimate goal.

Electra "Ellie" McDonnell has been groomed by the best. Uncle Mick is an Irish locksmith who's been working the streets of London for many years leading up to August of 1940. But his talents often lead him to the backstreets as well. It's wartime in England and there's many an abandoned house of the wealthy with a safe behind a cultured work of art.

Ellie is a crackerj
Sarah Jayyn

🔓🔓🔓 (three stars as rated in locks picked by deft hands and finely honed skills)

I was given a free review copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Electra McDonnell does her best to avoid attention —as a career thief and a lock-pick, her livelihood depends on it. It's not the ideal profession, but with World War II raging around her and most of her family off fighting the Germans, Electra is left with few other options. While following a tip about an
Feb 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A Peculiar Combination by Ashley Weaver is an excellent WWII era historical mystery that has it all: history, wonderful narrative, mystery, suspense, wit, humor, intrigue, and amazing cast of characters. This is the first book in what I expect to be an amazing series: An Electra McDonnell Novel.

I loved the premise of a feisty, smart, fiery, and unique woman, Ellie, being caught up in the act of working with her uncle in the “family side business” of picking locks, safes, and a bit of “light” th
J Lewis
Mar 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book wondering if it would be just as excellent as Ms. Weaver’s Amory Ames series. I’m excited to tell you that it is.

Set during World War II just before The Blitz, a mystery unfolds. The Germans are on the offensive, and London is a hotbed of uncertainty. Electra McDonnell is our heroine and for lack of a better word a thief. Caught in the act of stealing jewelry, she is pressed into government service by Major Ramsey. They must usurp a spy ring and keep allied information from
It's 1940 in wartime England. Ellie & her Uncle Mick are part-time thieves. They get caught one night breaking into a safe. But instead of going to jail, they're consigned into helping the British secret service (ie. spies). Unfortunately, on their first assignment, a dead body is found instead of the contents of the target. So of course, off they go to investigate as well as try to complete their mission.

I wouldn't consider this classified as a historical mystery but more of a spy/thriller with
Mar 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021
I started this book almost against my will. I love the Amory Ames series, and this seemed like it was going to be as different as could be (which is more or less true). But I received an ARC from NetGalley and I felt duty-bound to read and review it.

To my (very pleasant) surprise, I absolutely loved “A Peculiar Combination.” I have found it extremely difficult to concentrate on books during the last year- I literally cannot remember the last time I enjoyed a book as much as I did this one. That
Apr 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
"A Peculiar Combination" by Ashley Weaver is the first of the Electra McDonnell historical fiction mystery series. This riveting novel is set during the second world war and introduces a fiery mixture of romance, adventure, and thriller. Despite the time period, Weaver offers a light-hearted read about how a motley crew can come together to protect their country.

Ellie McDonnell comes from a family with a less than savory reputation for being on the wrong side of the law. When Ellie and her Uncle
Feb 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
What a refreshingly fun, twisty and delightful book! I adored it and did not put it down even for a minute until the very last word. How exciting that it is the first in a new series called Elctra McDonnell series. I've made a note in my book review notebook to request subsequent books by this author and highlighted it in pink The story made me smile from the premise, apt title, clever and quirky characters, WWII England setting, plots and humour.

Electra McDonnell and her Uncle Mick do not share
Joanne Hurley
Apr 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
hank you to #NetGalley and #StMartinsPress for the opportunity to read and review the Uncorrected Proof copy of "A Peculiar Combination", the first in a series by Ashley Weaver featuring Electra McDonnell.

Set in WWII England, "A Peculiar Combination" features Electra McDonnell and her uncle Mick - two petty thieves whose specialty is housebreaking and safecracking; when they are apprehended one night, a new adventure begins as they are co-opted by the British Government to help stop state secret
Feb 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Fiery Ellie and sly Uncle Mick are accomplished safecrackers. In 1940 wartime London, darkened streets with many empty homes make it advantageous to slip in and remove a few valuables. That is, until they get caught in the act. Confusingly, law enforcement escorts them to an elegant home in the elite Belgravia neighborhood where they are brought before Major Ramsey, a ramrod straight military intelligence officer. He needs their skills. They have little choice. Well, prison is an option.

Nichole Carrier
Feb 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Ellie McDonnell isn't your average young woman, she's a safe cracker, living and thieving in London during the early years of WW2. Ellie isn't alone in her escapades. Her Uncle Mick is the leader of the group which once included her two cousins, Colm and Toby who are away at war. Their loving housekeeper, Nacy, knows just enough to know she doesn't want to know any more.

After a job goes wrong, Ellie and her Uncle Mick are brought into the world of espionage by Major Ramsey. They are tasked with
Apr 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
Thank you to NetGalley for the digital ARC.

This book is a work of historical fiction that falls into the sub genre of a cozy mystery. I really like this style of story and I had a difficult time putting this book down!

Ellie and her Uncle are living in London during WW2. Times are tough and they are having a hard time making ends meet through their locksmith business, so they turn to theft to help make enough money to live on. They break into vacant houses, open the safes and take the things tha
Addie BookCrazyBlogger
Apr 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-s
Electra ‘Ellie’ McDonnell lives with her uncle Mick and his two boys Colm and Toby in London, during 1940. With the two boys deployed to the war service, Ellie and Mick’s legitimate business has suffered, leading them to begin picking up side work, as robbers. When they begin robbing a house, Ellie realize it’s a set up. Unfortunately for the two of them, it appears this set up is far more complicated than the local police station, when they are taken to a high-end home and forced to meet with M ...more
marita lazarus
Mar 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Thank you Netgalley for allowingme to review this book

So wow, a new series by an established author that I like and follow. You know I had to read this book.

A Peculiar Combination is the first book in a new series by Ashley Weaver (the Amory Ames novels). The book features Ellie (Electra) McDonnel and Major Ramsey, who together must flesh out a german spy ring in London set in WWII.

The book started out slow for me.... Very slow... but then more than half way through it really picked up and tota
Kathleen Buckley
Mar 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I spent a delightful afternoon and evening with Ashley Weaver’s historical novel, A Peculiar Combination, set in London shortly after the beginning of World War II. The characters are quirky and likable, so much so that I’m going to be looking for the next book in Ms. Weaver’s Electra McDonnell series, of which A Peculiar Combination is the first.

My only quibble, the one bit that stopped me for a second or so, was the use of an anachronistic phrase by one of the characters: “…lose your cool…”,
Natalie  Hales
Mar 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I know many early reviewers were big fans of Ashley Weaver’s previous series, the Amory Ames novels. I have not read any of Weaver’s other works, but can say that I am definitely a new fan after reading A Peculiar Combination! Weaver gives us a heroine to root for in the form of Electra “Ellie” McDonnell. She’s no wartime damsel in distress, instead she spends her days breaking into the safes of wealthy London families with her Uncle Mick. When a heist goes wrong, she’s given a choice: help the ...more
Apr 02, 2021 rated it liked it
I think that I could've liked this book more if I was more into the story (obviously) and the relationship between Ellie and Major Ramsey (I wasn't). I mean, I know that there was tension and whatever, but I just felt like it wasn't needed. Ellie is clearly a strong independent woman and I really loved that about her, but I would have loved to have seen her just go completely rogue and make it happen because she wanted it to happen, not because she was blackmailed and convinced to make it happen ...more
Mary Gessay
Apr 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A Peculiar Combination is, in fact, a Perfect Combination!

A Peculiar Combination perfectly combines intrigue, romance, and suspense. Intrepid Ellie and her irascible uncle Mick are locksmiths by day and burglars by night. The book is set in London in the early days of the second world war as London is bracing for the blitz. Mick and Ellie set out to rob a home but something seems off to Ellie. Her instincts prove spot on and, for the first time in their careers, they are caught. But, instead of
Mar 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021
Excellent! Ellie McDonald is from a family of safe-crackers in 1940s England. Caught while on a job, Ellie and her uncle Mick are forced to help the government against German spies or face jail time. Once they fulfill their end of the bargain, though, Ellie and Mick want to see the mission through to the end and help in whatever way they can.

This story masterfully grips you from the beginning and doesn't let go until the end. Though the main force of the novel is the plot, it doesn't fall into
Mar 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
First, can I just say I ❤️ this cover!?!! And it’s always such a thrill when a favorite author (Amory Ames mysteries) starts a new series! So excited!

This one is set in 1940 London (WWII). Electra (Ellie) McDonnell and her beloved uncle are caught robbing a house and forced to assist in a clandestine government German spy ring investigation. She works for the stoic, by-the-book Major Ramsey, and there are a whole colorful cast of secondary characters that I fell in love with. But Electra is the
Feb 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
1940s, London. When Uncle Mick and Ellie are apprehended coming out of a house they have just robbed, Ellie thinks for sure they are headed to jail. Instead they are "invited" to assist with the war effort by cracking a safe so some top secret papers can be switched out before being handed over to the Germans. When Major Ramsey and Ellie find a dead body instead of the top secret papers, their plans change and Ellie finds herself right in the middle of a bit of intrigue.

I really enjoyed this bo
Feb 28, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This is a fast paced, fun read with a cast of interesting characters. When Ellie and her Uncle Mick are caught attempting to rob a safe they are forced into government service during WWII. What starts out as a one time job to recover stolen plans turns into a romp through London and Ellie wondering which man in her life she wants more. The premise seems unlikely but who knows what tactics the "spies" used during the War. Ellie is a fun character to follow as she is smart and brave but also has m ...more
Mar 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
A new historical mystery series featuring an independent and intelligent female lead - why of course I can’t help but request it!

Set in 1940 England, we meet Electra (Ellie) McDonnell and her Uncle Mick, safecracker extraordinaire, who end up assisting in the war effort to stop the Nazis. What ensues is a mystery filled with spies, secret codes, and double dealings. Of course, it also has a dash of romance.

I loved Ellie and her ability to not only clearly see situations but remain calm in the mi
Laura Pal
Mar 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
A Peculiar Combination
--An Electra McDonnell Novel.
By Ashley Weaver

Set in England during World War II, this riveting mystery novel is a fine delight for your eyes. This is a story about a strong woman, raised by men, who knows exactly how to carry herself in and about in the dangerous situations she gets entangled in. Ellie, the narrator of the story, we find out, was born in prison and was raised by her Uncle and two male cousins. She goes on to have one interesting spy adventure that has the
Pat Dupuy
Mar 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is a fun, suspenseful first book in a new series taking place in WW2 England. Ellie McDonnell was raised by her uncle alongside two male cousins after the deaths of her parents. Uncle Mick is a locksmith who can also pick locks and crack safes and does so when the legitimate business isn't paying the bills. Ellie has learned his skills and helps on the jobs while her cousins are serving their country in the military. One fateful night they are caught and are given the choice of helping crac ...more
Apr 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, netgalley
I have found a new series!! A Peculiar Combination has British Intelligence using the skills of a safe cracking family to help thwart German spies in WWII. Electra "Ellie" and her Uncle Mick have been cracking safes for years when they stumble into a trap set by British Intelligence to find safe crackers. They are needed to find some weapons plans that are being passed to the Germans. This book is witty and intelligent. The characters are well written, relatable and fun to spend time with. The r ...more
Apr 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A Peculiar Combination by Ashley Weaver

A perfectly delightful tale of a young safe cracker, Ellie, and her mismatched “boss,” Major Ramsey. Caught mid-heist, Ellie and her Uncle Mick must agree to help the major and British army or go to jail. What choice was there, really? It was war time after all.

A series of successes, mishaps and subterfuge have Ellie and the Major butting heads, yet accomplishing a great deal in the end. A peculiar combination indeed!

Humorous and well written, this romp wi
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