Playing it Safe by Ashley Weaver (Historical Mystery)

A light, historical, cozy with likable characters, this is just what I needed to cleanse the palate from all the dystopic SciFi I’m in the middle of.

Book two in the Electra McDonnell series taking place in England (London and Sunderland in this episode) in late 1940. Electra (Ellie) is the (young, pretty) safe cracker / thief who has turned her skill to serve King and country, working with the tough-as-nails (but also handsome with undertones of patrician) Major Ramsey. A possible Nazi counterfeiting ring, a few unnatural deaths, and a focus on bird watching pepper this episode.

Intelligent, stubborn, and delightfully non-conformist, Ellie is fun to accompany on this adventure. Major Ramsey is a bit of a stereotype, but a very enjoyable one: heroic and competent with “an aristocratic heritage underneath the military bearing.” Weaver includes just the right amount of romancy bits between the two (how could you not?) but doesn’t overdo it (need to leave something for future installments!)

My favorite part: Ellie goes to the movies in chapter one and sees “Bachelor Mother” with Ginger Rogers — one of my favorite movies and not very well-known. I got a real kick out of that. If you’ve never seen it, stream it!

Thank you to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book was just published on May 9th, 2023