cover image The Key to Deceit: An Electra McDonnell Novel

The Key to Deceit: An Electra McDonnell Novel

Ashley Weaver. Minotaur, $27.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-78050-8

Set during the early days of the Battle of Britain, Edgar finalist Weaver’s excellent sequel to 2021’s A Peculiar Combination continues the adventures of Electra “Ellie” McDonnell and her uncle Mick, who have eschewed safe cracking in favor of more legitimate work. When a young woman’s body washes up on the banks of the Thames with a bracelet locked to her wrist, Ellie is recruited by Major Ramsey, an impassive and exceedingly handsome British intelligence officer, to remove the bracelet from the corpse’s wrist. Together, Ellie and the major soon realize the dead woman was working as a spy for the Germans. Meanwhile, Ellie works with Felix Lacey, a longtime friend and possible romantic partner, to undercover the secrets behind Ellie’s mother’s decades-old conviction for murder. Weaver does a sensational job of evoking 1940 London and populates the story with endearing characters, none more so than Ellie, who’s gutsy, smart, and completely unwilling to be outmaneuvered or left behind when danger presents itself. Readers will hope to see a lot more of Ellie. Agent: Ann Collette, Rees Literary. (May)