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Monday, March 16, 2020

Speedwell/Stoker Always an Entertaining Combination

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

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

While Veronica Speedwell and Revelstoke "Stoker" Templeton-Vane have a paying job as organizers of a gentleman's specimen collection, they've become better known for their ability to solve mysteries.  So well known in fact that their newest client is none other than the Queen of England.  Her son, Prince Albert Victor, has given a valuable jewel—inscribed with his famous initials—to his lover, the proprietress of a "high-class" brothel.  If his frequent visits to the illicit venue are discovered, let alone his close relationship to Madame Aurore, it could be disastrous for the crown.  Veronica and Stoker are tasked with the job of removing the incriminating gem from the club's premises before its presence is discovered by anyone else.

Worse, there is some disturbing evidence connecting the risk-taking prince to a series of brutal murders being attributed to a serial killer nicknamed Jack the Ripper.  When Veronica and Stoker's investigation at the brothel leads them to Madame Aurore's corpse, a shame-faced prince, and a group of thugs bent on harming them all, their undercover adventure turns into something much, much more dangerous.  Will Veronica and Stoker escape with their lives?  Can they save the queen's family from humiliation?  Or is the prince in a lot more trouble than anyone could have imagined?

I've loved the Veronica Speedwell series by Deanna Raybourn since it started.  The pair at its center is lively, fun, and always entertaining.  It's delightful to watch their relationship evolve, as their magnetic attraction to each other has been evident from the beginning.  Besides the enjoyable characters, A Murderous Relation features an intriguing mystery, humorous repartee, and a plot that's both engaging and engrossing.  I could have done without the brothel scenes, but overall, I enjoyed this fifth installment in the series.  I'm very much Team Veronica/Stoker and I can't wait to see what they get up to next!

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of other books in the Veronica Speedwell series, including A Curious Beginning, A Perilous Undertaking, A Treacherous Curse, and A Dangerous Collaboration)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), disturbing subject matter, violence, and sexual content

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