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Monday, April 08, 2019

Fourth Installment in Delightful Victorian Mystery Series My Favorite So Far

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Note:  While this review will not contain spoilers for A Dangerous Collaboration, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from earlier Veronica Speedwell mysteries.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.

With her increasingly complicated feelings for Revelstoke "Stoker" Templeton-Vane clouding her normally rational judgment, Veronica Speedwell feels the need for some time away from the close quarters she and Stoker share as they work together in London.  When Stoker's older brother, Tiberius, offers the lepidopterist an opportunity to travel to a remote island to study an almost extinct butterfly, she jumps at the chance.  Even if it means posing as Tiberius' fiancée for a two-week house party.  It's worth it to collect larvae for her vivarium—and get an up-close look at a regal Cornish castle that boasts its very own ghost.

Before long, it becomes apparent that their host, Malcolm Romilly, has ulterior motives for gathering guests to his home.  Everyone in attendance, save Veronica, is connected to Rosamund, Malcolm's bride, who disappeared on their wedding day three years ago.  Still tormented by grief, Malcolm is determined to find out what happened to his wife once and for all.  He enlists the help of all present to solve the mystery, even though all but Veronica are suspects. 

The shadowy castle, always the center of superstition and fairy tales, is the perfect setting for an intriguing ghost hunt.  Veronica will do anything to help the grieving groom end his torment, even putting her life on the line to discover Rosamund's fate.  As she fends off the attention of two ardent men, sorts idle village gossip from crucial clues, and scours the mysterious castle for answers, Veronica creeps ever closer to becoming the next victim of a cold-blooded murderer who will not hesitate to kill again.

The Veronica Speedwell mystery series by Deanna Raybourn is one of the most delightful I've ever read, so it's no surprise that I loved A Dangerous Collaboration.  In fact, I think this fourth installment is my favorite.  It's clever, it's fun, it's twisty, and it's entertaining.  Veronica is, as always, a refreshingly forthright narrator.  She's also a smart, spunky heroine who's brave, loyal, and compassionate.  With its Gothic setting, ghostly happenings, and a surprise guest who keeps Veronica on her toes, this novel is simply a whole lot of fun.  I adored it.

(Readalikes:  Other books in the Veronica Speedwell series, including A Curious Beginning, A Perilous Undertaking, and A Treacherous Curse.  Also reminds me a little of the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, and sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of A Dangerous Collaboration from the generous folks at Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!
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