An Impossible Imposter
Veronica Speedwell Mystery, Book #7
By Deanna Raybourn
Author Website: deannaraybourn(.)com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
While investigating a man claiming to be the long-lost heir to a noble family, Veronica Speedwell gets the surprise of her life in this new adventure from the New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-nominated author Deanna Raybourn.
London, 1889. Veronica Speedwell and her natural historian beau Stoker are summoned by Sir Hugo Montgomerie, head of Special Branch. He has a personal request on behalf of his goddaughter, Euphemia Hathaway. After years of traveling the world, her eldest brother, Jonathan, heir to Hathaway Hall, was believed to have been killed in the catastrophic eruption of Krakatoa a few years before.
But now a man matching Jonathan’s description and carrying his possessions has arrived at Hathaway Hall with no memory of his identity or where he has been. Could this man truly be Jonathan, back from the dead? Or is he a devious impostor, determined to gain ownership over the family’s most valuable possessions–a legendary parure of priceless Rajasthani jewels? It’s a delicate situation, and Veronica is Sir Hugo’s only hope.
Veronica and Stoker agree to go to Hathaway Hall to covertly investigate the mysterious amnesiac. Veronica is soon shocked to find herself face-to-face with a ghost from her past. To help Sir Hugo discover the truth, she must open doors to her own history that she long believed to be shut for good. (Goodreads)
Intrepid partners in business, love, and sleuthing, butterfly enthusiast Veronica Speedwell and natural scientist Stoker find themselves embroiled in family politics, theft, and devastating secrets within the pages of An Impossible Imposter. Book 7 is one of my absolute favorite series and is a must read.
Veronica and Stoker have just returned to London from their last adventure when Sir Hugo Montgomerie from Special Branch summons them, asking a personal favor concerning his goddaughter. It seems long lost, presumed dead eldest son Jonathan Hathaway has returned with no memory and little more than his identifying possessions. Would Veronica and Stoker investigate to see if he is the real deal? Veronica knew Jonathan prior to his death and thinks this will be an easy task. However, when they arrive in Dartmoor, they find an utterly dysfunctional family, each with a great deal riding on Jonathan’s identity. Veronica does indeed recognize Jonathan, and he is a shocking blast from her past. Burdened with the secrets associated with Jonathan and her former travels, she struggles to do the right thing for both the Hathaway family and her future with Stoker. The sleuthing pair have quite the adventure on the moors facing mortal danger before all is said and done.
I am a huge Deanna Raybourn fan and am always excited to join Veronica and Stoker on their exciting exploits. An Impossible Imposter is a great addition to the Veronica Speedwell series. There is no murder to investigate within these pages, but there is quite a precarious puzzle to unravel. How silly of me to think readers have learned all of Veronica’s secrets! The one revealed here is indeed a doozy, and I did not see it coming…at all. I understand her trepidation in sharing the truth with Stoker, but I was peeved with her throughout the book at her resistance and uncharacteristic meek hesitance to break the case wide open. It is all selfish yet quite the act of love from Veronica. Of course, there are ramifications of her actions that are heartbreaking for Stoker, and I can only hope that they resolve their issues in the next book.
Veronica and Stoker are a well established couple at this point, and though their chemistry is palpable, the delightfully sizzling banter present in previous books is mostly lacking here. Surely, they are not becoming too settled, but I greatly miss this element of their relationship (and my favorite part of every book in the series). Veronica continues to be an abrasive know-it-all, but I love her for it. Stoker continues to be my favorite character, and his childlike enthusiasm about obtaining a certain animal specimen here made me love him all the more. I hurt for his hurting and wish the emotional strife could have been dealt with differently. Members of the Hathaway family are almost universally unsavory, especially the new heir’s wife Mary. “Jonathan” is indeed quite the cad, but I can see his charmingly manipulative appeal.
An Impossible Imposter gets off to a humorous start and then slows a bit as Veronica and Stoker settle in at Dartmoor. It does quickly pick up in pace and intensity once a priceless diamond, belonging to the Hathaway matriarch, is stolen. The action and adventure continues to build as the dynamic duo faces dangerous adversaries and possible death. An unlikely ally steps up. Some aspects of the story require a bit of suspension of belief, but it is all great fun and wildly entertaining.
I impatiently wait for the next book in the Veronica Speedwell series. I highly recommend An Impossible Imposter to Deanna Raybourn’s fans and any reader who enjoys highly spirited Victorian characters.