Oh, how I love Deanna Raybourn’s mystery-solving pair Veronica and Stoker! I am a fan of historical mysteries, and this series is one of my absolute favorites. Books one and two, A Curious Beginning and A Perilous Undertaking, are absolutely delightful! There are so many things to admire in this series. Raybourn’s tone is playful, irreverent, and deliciously English in the old-fashioned sense. Still, she incorporates modern ideals and themes into the Victorian-set VERONICA SPEEDWELL series. Here’s a summary of the third book, A Treacherous Curse, from Goodreads:
As colorful and unfettered as the butterflies she collects, Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell can’t resist the allure of an exotic mystery—particularly one involving her enigmatic colleague, Stoker. His former expedition partner has vanished from an archaeological dig with a priceless diadem unearthed from the newly discovered tomb of an Egyptian princess. This disappearance is just the latest in a string of unfortunate events that have plagued the controversial expedition, and rumors abound that the curse of the vengeful princess has been unleashed as the shadowy figure of Anubis himself stalks the streets of London.
But the perils of an ancient curse are not the only challenges Veronica must face as sordid details and malevolent enemies emerge from Stoker’s past. Caught in a tangle of conspiracies and threats—and thrust into the public eye by an enterprising new foe—Veronica must separate facts from fantasy to unravel a web of duplicity that threatens to cost Stoker everything. . . .
As the summary indicates, Veronica Speedwell is a counter-cultural character—an adventurous lepidopterist with an unconventional perspective on love and romance. Her partnership and close friendship with Stoker, a sort of pirate-esque taxidermist in the extreme sense (read: elephants not cats), defies cultural mores and is as down-to-earth as it gets. Their developing relationship is one of the best parts of these books. There’s the inevitable “will they” question, but Raybourn really focuses on the friendship and how they come to understand each other. I appreciate a slow burn, myself, so I love the way she handles the relationship.
This book had the added benefit of an Egyptology connection, which is a subject that has always fascinated me. I took a community education class on Egyptology as a kid, and it made a huge impact on me. My ears immediately perk up at the word. I find the whole culture and subject fascinating!
I’m not going to say too much about the plot apart from the description above, because it would spoil the first two books. So, without further ado, my VERDICT: I loved this book! It is exactly what I want in a good historical mystery. With hints of humor, impropriety, and scandal, this is a great page-turner that I read in just two sittings.
READALIKE: I recommend this series to those who enjoyed Lauren Willig’s PINK CARNATION series, because of the powerhouse female heroine, light tone, intrigue, and bits of espionage.
***My thanks to Netgalley and to Berkley Publishing Group for providing me with an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.***
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