cover image Locked in Pursuit: An Electra McDonnell Novel

Locked in Pursuit: An Electra McDonnell Novel

Ashley Weaver. Minotaur, $28 (272p) ISBN 978-1-250-88590-6

The animated fourth installment in Weaver’s Electra “Ellie” McDonnell series (after Playing It Safe) opens in 1941 England during the blitz. When Ellie, a former thief now working for British military intelligence, reads a newspaper account of a robbery at a diplomat’s dinner party, she suspects it may be connected to one of her previous missions. She brings her suspicions to her handler, Major Gabriel Ramsey—one of her two love interests—and together they discover that the Nazis are tearing through London and Portugal in search of a map that identifies the location of a tungsten mine they need to manufacture munitions. To foil the Germans’ plans, Ellie joins forces with her second love interest, forger Felix Lacey. Meanwhile, in a subplot that carries over from previous series entries, Ellie works to prove that her late mother did not murder her father during WWI. Weaver’s prose sometimes gets bogged down in verbosity (“I was caught in a sort of quagmire of indecision”) and superfluous underlining (“We need to find out what they’re looking for before someone else is killed”). Still, with many well-deployed historical mystery tropes on offer, including a juicy love triangle and a host of elegant gowns, it’s an enjoyable, fast-paced lark. Fans of Susan Elia MacNeal and Rhys Bowen will have fun. (May)