ARC Review: A Murderous Relation

a murderous relationTitle: A Murderous Relation
Author:
Deanna Raybourn
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery
Version: ARC – ebook
Page Count: 320
Publisher: Berkley
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: Victorian England setting, sex-positive protagonist
Recommended Readers: Anyone who wants to start reading mystery
Rating: ★★★★★

Thank you, Net Galley and the publisher, for offering this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Once again, Deanna Raybourn returns with a Veronica Speedwell mystery that is unabashedly fun and a sheer delight to read. I flew through A Murderous Relation with a speed I regret, because I think this might be the last book? I heard a rumor that more mysteries might be in store for Veronica, but until that Goodreads page updates, I will consider this series has ended on a satisfyingly high note.

This time, Veronica and Stoker are drawn into an investigation involving her half-brother, Prince Albert Victor. He’s given a diamond to Madame Aurore, the female owner of the most exclusive club in London known for its anonymity and offerings of sexual freedom. The diamond must be reclaimed before it can be traced back to the prince and erupt scandal within the monarchy and across the country. The timing couldn’t be worse, for London is also gripped in terror over the gruesome attacks of Jack the Ripper, and Lady Wellington, a friend of Veronica and a protector of the crown, suspects that the prince might be responsible. As Veronica and Stoker investigate the brothel, secrets surrounding the royal family and Veronica’s place in it begin to present themselves—along with another dead body.

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Book Review: A Dangerous Collaboration

a dangerous collaboration

Title: A Dangerous Collaboration
Author:
 Deanna Raybourn
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Version: ARC – eBook
Page Count: 336
Publisher: Berkley
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: Victorian setting, Sex-positive protagonist
Recommended Readers: Anyone who wants to start reading mystery
Rating: ★★★★★

Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher, for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The mystery and adventure continue with A Dangerous Collaboration, the fourth novel in the Veronica Speedwell series. It’s rare to find a series that maintains its charm, fun, intrigue, and accessibility, but Deanna Raybourn has done exactly that. I love that I gave this series and new author (for me) a chance.

After the almost-revelation that Veronica and Stoker had in A Treacherous Curse, Veronica takes a few months to go on her own excursion without Stoker. When she returns, she finds she’s struggling with dissatisfaction, and there’s a distance between her and Stoker that she doesn’t like but doesn’t know how to bridge.

Her slump is broken with the arrival of Tiberius, Stoker’s half-brother and the Lord Templeton-Vane, who invites Veronica to attend Lord Malcolm Romilly’s house party with him on a remote island off the tip of Cornwall. Sensing a new adventure, Veronica jumps at the chance, even as Tiberius convinces her to pose as his fiancée, to Stoker’s annoyance (oh, hello, trope I absolutely love with all my heart). But there’s more behind this invitation than just a house party, and Veronica and Stoker find themselves investigating the party-goers and their connection to Rosamund, Romilly’s missing wife who disappeared from her own wedding three years ago.

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Book Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper

stalking-jack-the-ripper
Title: 
Stalking Jack the Ripper
Author:
 Kerri Maniscalco
Genre: Young Adult/Historical Fiction
Version: Hardback
Page Count: 326
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: Yay, feminism!
Recommended Readers: Gothic readers and fans of mystery with a dash of horror
Rating: ★★★☆☆

I have been on such a journey with Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco. When I first cracked open the book, I had low expectations, but it managed to surprised me with its keen heroine, Audrey Rose Wadsworth, and how delightfully descriptive it was with Victorian England’s way of handling cadavers. Throw in the Jack the Ripper mystery, and this was set to be a magnificent choice for Halloween-time reading.

But then things took a turn for the disappointing, and it all started with the introduction of Thomas Cresswell.

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Book Review: If We Were Villains

If We Were Villains9781250154958
Title: 
If We Were Villains
Author:
 M. L. Rio
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Version: Hardcover
Page Count: 368
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: LGBTQ+ Characters
Recommended Readers: Fans of Shakespeare and murder mysteries
Rating: ★★★★★

One thing I’m sure Colborne will never understand is that I need language to live, like food—lexemes and morphemes and morsels of meaning nourish me with the knowledge that, yes, there is a word for this. Someone else has felt this before.

This was an unexpectedly amazing find! All my love and thanks to my friend Colby for making me aware of such a fantastic book.

M. L. Rio delivers a debut novel that is both thoughtful and mesmerizing, blending the works of Shakespeare with the lives of seven student actors at Dellecher Classical Conservatory. If We Were Villains delves into the beauty and manic competition of Shakespearean theatre and the sharp edges that come with becoming too much like the roles you play. At what point does art separate itself from life and vice versa?

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Book Review: A Treacherous Curse

A-Treacherous-Curse-Veronica-Speedwell-3-Deanna-Raybourn

Title: A Treacherous Curse
Author:
 Deanna Raybourn
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Version: ARC (Uncorrected Proof)
Publisher: Berkley
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: Victorian setting, Sex-positive protagonist
Recommended Readers: Anyone who wants to start reading mystery
Rating: ★★★★★

 

Thank you, NetGalley and Berkley, for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I think, in terms of mystery, A Treacherous Curse is now my favorite of the series.

Immediately, Veronica and Stoker meet up with a sick Inspector Montgomerie, who warns them about a storm about to break, one that will dredge up Stoker’s past and destroy beyond repair what reputation he’s built back up for himself. John de Morgan, a former expedition partner of Stoker’s, has gone missing along with a priceless diadem belonging to an Egyptian princess, leaving behind a wife too distraught to answer any further questions.

Signs point to foul play with Stoker as the likeliest culprit since de Morgan had no known enemies save for Stoker. Worse, that wife he left behind? Meet Caroline de Morgan, formerly Caroline Templeton-Vane, Stoker’s ex-wife and the woman responsible for leaving Stoker for dead and destroying his reputation in the first place.

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Book Review: A Perilous Undertaking

a perilous undertaking

Title: A Perilous Undertaking
Author:
 Deanna Raybourn
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Version: eBook
Page Count: 352
Publisher: Berkley
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: Victorian setting, Sex-positive protagonist
Recommended Readers: Anyone who wants to start reading mystery
Rating: ★★★★★

I had an unexpected snow day today, so this review gets to go out earlier (mostly because I was able to write it earlier). Yay!

When we meet Veronica Speedwell and Stoker again in this sequel to A Curious Beginning, they are eagerly preparing for an expedition to Fiji—only for their plans to be tragically foiled when their benefactor trips over his prized tortoise and injures himself. With the expedition cancelled, the two take consolation in cataloguing their benefactor’s collection, but adventure still manages to find them, and not a moment too soon.

Lady Sundridge summons Veronica and implores her to solve a seemingly impossible case, one the police have already put to rest. She must save Miles Ramsforth from hanging after he was accused of murdering his mistress, Artemisia, but she must do so discreetly. The information that could prove Miles’ innocence could also ruin lives in the process, not to mention throw unwelcome light onto Veronica’s own family history.

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Book Review: A Curious Beginning

A-Curious-Beginning-Deanna-Raybourn-Book-Cover

Title: A Curious Beginning
Author:
 Deanna Raybourn
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Version: eBook
Page Count: 352
Publisher: Penguin / NAL
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: Victorian setting, Sex-positive protagonist
Recommended Readers: Anyone who wants to start reading mystery
Rating: ★★★★★

 

I wound up getting into this series a little backwards. After winning an ARC off NetGalley, I was excited to begin my foray into mystery, led by a lady detective.

Until I realized that the ARC was actually book 3, and you can’t just jump in anywhere and be all caught up. This is a character-led mystery series more than a circumstance-led one. I read the first lines of book 3, featuring Veronica Speedwell and her companion Stoker, when I realized that these two characters have a world of history behind them, and I wanted to know every little detail.

So here I am, frantically attempting to get through all three books and post reviews before A Treacherous Curse comes out on January 16th. Whoops! Wish me luck.

Fortunately, reading A Curious Beginning was not at all a chore, proving instead to be a quick, fun read. Read More »