A Murderous Relation
Veronica Speedwell #5
By Deanna Raybourn
Author’s website: deannaraybourn.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Veronica Speedwell and her natural historian colleague
Stoker are asked by Lady Wellingtonia Beauclerk to help with a potential
scandal so explosive it threatens to rock the monarchy. Prince Albert Victor is
a regular visitor to the most exclusive private club in London, known as the
Club de l’Etoile, and the proprietress, Madame Aurore, has received an
expensive gift that can be traced back to the prince. Lady Wellie would like
Veronica and Stoker to retrieve the jewel from the club before scandal can break.
Worse yet, London is gripped by hysteria in the autumn of 1888, terrorized by what would become the most notorious and elusive serial killer in history, Jack the Ripper–and Lady Wellie suspects the prince may be responsible.
Veronica and Stoker reluctantly agree to go undercover at Madame Aurore’s high class brothel, where another body soon turns up. Many secrets are swirling around Veronica and the royal family–and it’s up to Veronica and Stoker to find the truth, before it’s too late for all of them. (Goodreads)
My favorite amateur sleuths are at it again in this fifth Veronica Speedwell adventure. With a scandal big enough to upend the monarchy, London on high alert with Jack the Ripper wreaking havoc, and plenty of romantic strife, A Murderous Relation is a fast paced, sparkling Victorian romp.
Veronica and Stoker are called to back to London after the events of the previous book, A Dangerous Collaboration, by Lady Wellington Beauclerk, the pair’s employer’s great-aunt. Lady Wellie has devoted her life to protecting the royal family and strategically meddling in their affairs to keep them safe and successful. It appears that Prince Albert “Eddy” has developed quite the attachment to Madame Aurore and her exclusive, posh private club. His attendance alone is enough to cause a scandal, but he has gifted a diamond star to Aurore that easily traces back to the monarchy. The Princess of Wales (Veronica’s step-mother of sorts) tasks Veronica and Stoker with stealing the jewelry. Though they initially refuse, when they learn of Eddy’s potential entanglement with Jack the Ripper, Veronica and Stoker agree to help and find themselves in an ever more dangerous mess than they anticipated.
It is no secret that Deanna Raybourn is my favorite author or that I adore Veronica and Stoker. The mere mention of Jack the Ripper had me salivating and eager to read A Murderous Relation. My beloved Veronica and Stoker matching wits and brawn with the enigmatic Jack? Yes, please! To my disappointment, this is not the tale Raybourn tells. That said, it is the only disappointment of the book. Jack’s victims are mentioned – Veronica, Stoker, and Eddy even interact with one of them – and I appreciate Raybourn’s emphasis on them not being solely prostitutes.
Back to Veronica and Stoker…these two, after finally expressing their feelings, are still pussyfooting around each other, hesitant to cement or consummate their relationship. However, congress is definitely on Veronica’s mind, and some of the funniest moments come from Stoker’s painful resistance to Veronica’s proximity. Their ever present quick-fire repartee is as fabulous as ever, and I do think fans of the series will be pleased with them by the conclusion of the book. Surprising to me is how much I enjoyed Veronica and Eddy together. Eddy might not be the brightest light and a little naïve, but there is real sweetness in his reaction to learning of his half-sister. Veronica, as independent as she is, seems to relish the fleeting relationship with her little brother.
With A Murderous Relation, Deanna Raybourn maintains her place at the top of my “must read” list, and I hope there are many more adventures featuring Veronica and Stoker to come. I highly recommend A Murderous Relation to any historical mystery/fiction reader and who appreciate lively protagonists and smart writing.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*