A Dangerous Collaboration
Veronica Speedwell, Book #4
By Deanna Raybourn
Author Website: www(.)deannaraybourn(.)com/theauthor(.)html
Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell is whisked off to a remote island off the tip of Cornwall when her natural historian colleague Stoker’s brother calls in a favor. On the pretext of wanting a companion to accompany him to Lord Malcolm Romilly’s house party, Tiberius persuades Veronica to pose as his fiancée–much to Stoker’s chagrin. But upon arriving, it becomes clear that the party is not as innocent as it had seemed. Every invited guest has a connection to Romilly’s wife, Rosamund, who disappeared on her wedding day three years ago, and a dramatic dinner proves she is very much on her husband’s mind.
As spectral figures, ghostly music, and mysterious threats begin to plague the party goers, Veronica enlists Stoker’s help to discover the host’s true motivations. And as they investigate, it becomes clear that there are numerous mysteries surrounding the Romilly estate, and every person present has a motive to kill Rosamund… (Goodreads)
With A Dangerous Collaboration, author Deanna Raybourn, with her strong characters, trademark banter and a well paced mystery, once again proves that she is one of the best historical mystery writers out there.
A Dangerous Collaboration begins with adventurers, friends and investigating partners Veronica and Stoker somewhat at odds with each other and spending time apart. Fortunately, their separation is short lived, and readers quickly find Veronica, Stoker, and his older brother Tiberius together, guests at Tiberius’s childhood friend’s house party. The true nature of the gathering is soon revealed as host Malcolm implores his guests to discover the truth of his wife Rosamund’s disappearance on their wedding day several years ago. The case is definitely cold, but Veronica and Stoker have plenty of people from whom to source information, including Malcolm’s socially awkward sister, a financially struggling sister-in-law, an entitled nephew, and a loyal housekeeper. Even Tiberius is closely tied to Rosamund’s story. The sleuths face secrets and their own mortality to find out the truth.
It is no secret that I am a huge Deanna Raybourn fan. That said, this is not my favorite book in the Veronica Speedwell series though it is still very good. A Dangerous Collaboration has a different feel than the other books. There is less adventure and more introspection, less playful banter and one-upmanship (usually my favorite aspect of the books) between Veronica and Stoker and more angst. The pair really struggle with their feelings and how their relationship should move forward, if it should change at all. This wears a bit thin by the end of the tale. However, there are some wonderful moments within the book’s pages, including a swoon worthy declaration and intimate conversations between Veronica and Stoker, as well as with Tiberius. We learn a great deal about Tiberius and what has shaped him into the man that he is. I hope he is featured in the next installment.
Surprisingly, I identified the “bad guy” pretty early on. This did not, however, deter my satisfaction in reading, following Veronica and Stoker’s steps as they solve the mystery. The castle and moody island setting provide plenty of ominous atmosphere, fitting for a séance and missing person case full of heartbreak. I enjoyed learning about the menacing plants grown in the castle’s poison garden, and the glasswing butterflies add a touch of whimsy to an otherwise serious story. Though the mystery is prominent, the focus is more on relationships and the love, trust and respect they demand.
A Dangerous Collaboration will no doubt land on my “best books of the 2019” list. Highly recommended.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*