Friday, August 4, 2023

Reivew: The Key to Deceit by Ashley Weaver

by Ashley Weaver
Release Date: June 21, 2022
2022 MInotaur Books
Kindle Edition; 272 Pages
ISBN: 978-1250780508
Audiobook: B09V9K6QVG
Genre: Fiction / Historical / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publsiher

4 / 5 Stars

London, 1940. After years of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor—well, to themselves, anyway—Ellie McDonnell and her family have turned over a new leaf as they help the government’s war effort.

So when Major Ramsey turns up unannounced with another job, she can’t say no. A woman’s body has been found floating in the Thames, with a bracelet locked onto her wrist, and a cameo locket attached to it. It’s clear this woman was involved in espionage, but whose side was she on? Who was she reporting to? And who wanted her dead?
My Thoughts
The Key to Deceit is the next book in the series and it definitely doesn't suffer from second-book syndrome. I thought it was delightful and well-plotted, with an interesting cast of characters.  I did read the first book and I liked how the author wove necessary information into the narrative without beating you over the head it with every few lines.  
Major Ramsey, Ellie, and Uncle Mick are the main characters and they could not be more opposites in character. The major is rather stiff and formal, but as we get to know him, there is definitely a softer side to him, one that is whimsical as well as funny.  He definitely likes his rules,  but we are in the middle of a war, so the seriousness of his tasks do lay on his shoulders, especially as we get into the Blitz era.  Ellie can be quite serious as well, and wants to be known for her skills. She takes chances because she wants to be treated as an equal and this can put her into danger at times as she can be impulsive and rash.  I love the family atmosphere and the way they all support each other, even when they are being chastised for doing something idiotic, and Ramsey is slowly being included in this family.
The story line was interesting and moved along a rather fast pace, with one thing happening after another.  I like how the author has included some secondary plot lines that I think will grow into major plot lines later on, but it all works as you are not really left hanging, just left rather curious.  And while the hunt for spies was rather fun, it was actually one of the secondary ones that I particularly enjoyed, the hunt for information about Ellie's mother.  There was a lot of historical information included in this book and it was evident the author did a lot of research. I have always been fascinated by the whole spy business during this time period, so this was something I particularly enjoyed. 
The Key to Deceit had a lot of elements that kept me interested: an interesting plot, fascinating characters, great historical details, and even some twists and turns to keep me guessing.  Although I figured out the mystery early on, I was still entertained by what was happening and I enjoyed the banter between the characters.  I recommend this series to anyone who has an interest in mystery during WWII featuring a sassy heroine.