Review: Playing It Safe by Ashley Weaver

Description (from cover): “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 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.

My Thoughts:

Ellie McDonnell, a former thief and safecracker, has quickly been making a name for herself using her nefarious skills to aid the British Intelligence during World War II. She has been involved in two previous missions and when her handler, Major Ramsey, sends her off on another mission, she is eager to use her skills to disrupt the Nazi’s and their plans. Major Ramsey sends her off to Sunderland without much detail other than she has an assumed identity. Without much knowledge about the mission, she is surprised when a man dies right in front of her under mysterious circumstances in the street upon her arrival to the city. In his hand is a note that sets Ellie’s curiousity aflame.

Learning more from Major Ramsey after her arrival, she is to infilitrate a group of friends that included the murdered man. It seems one of the group might be an undercover German spy and murdered their friend to keep their secrets safe. With Ellie not being able to trust anyone in the group and Major Ramsey keeping her in the dark about the mission, she soon finds herself scrambling to learn everything she can. Can she find out who the secret spy is without anyone else being eliminated? Ellie must use her smart wits and her powerful observation skills to prevent herself from becoming the spy’s next victim.

I am really starting to come to enjoy this series. This mystery series sets itself apart from other of its ilk by being enjoyable and engaging from the very first page. I really like Ellie’s character and how the author uses her criminal family’s past to aid the British Intelligence Service during a terrible war. Another fantastic installment in a truly remarkable historical mystery series set in England during World War II. This book holds a lot of promise for the future of the series and I am anxiously awaiting to see what Ellie gets herself involved with in the future.

Overall Rating: 4.5 stars

Author: Ashley Weaver

Series: Electra McDonnell Mystery #3

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Publication Date: May 9, 2023

Pages: 267

Genre: Historical Mystery

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

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