An Unexpected Peril

Veronica Speedwell Mystery, Book #6

By Deanna Raybourn


Author Website: deannaraybourn(.)com

Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele


January 1889. As the newest member of the Curiosity Club—an elite society of brilliant, intrepid women—Veronica Speedwell is excited to put her many skills to good use. As she assembles a memorial exhibition for pioneering mountain climber Alice Baker-Greene, Veronica discovers evidence that the recent death was not a tragic climbing accident but murder. Veronica and her natural historian beau, Stoker, tell the patron of the exhibit, Princess Gisela of Alpenwald, of their findings. With Europe on the verge of war, Gisela’s chancellor, Count von Rechstein, does not want to make waves—and before Veronica and Stoker can figure out their next move, the princess disappears.

Having noted Veronica’s resemblance to the princess, von Rechstein begs her to pose as Gisela for the sake of the peace treaty that brought the princess to England. Veronica reluctantly agrees to the scheme. She and Stoker must work together to keep the treaty intact while navigating unwelcome advances, assassination attempts, and Veronica’s own family—the royalty who has never claimed her. (Goodreads)


An Unexpected Peril is the satisfying sixth installment in the Veronica Speedwell Mystery Series.  Veronica and Stoker find themselves wrapped up in another murder when a mountain climber’s death that seemed to be accident is in fact murder.  There are connections to a princess, who goes missing, and Veronica comically steps into her royal shoes to save the day.

Deanna Raybourn is one of my favorite authors, and An Unexpected Peril is thoroughly enjoyable but not as brilliant as the earlier books in the series.  There is still loads of chemistry between Veronica and Stoker, and their banter still bites, sizzles, and amuses.  Their relationship is progressing but not without hiccups.  I have always admired Veronica’s fierce independence and intelligence, but here she gets in her own way.  At times, she comes across as selfish and supremely insensitive.  Bless Stoker for putting up with her at all.  Of course, readers can expect friction from two such strong personalities, but Veronica grates this time around.  I do still adore them, though, and hope that Veronica shows some growth going forward.

The mystery of climber Alice’s death is ultimately a sad tale.  Her story is interesting, and I was surprised by the extent of the princess’s involvement, but it is never edge-of-your-seat exciting.  The story moves along at a good pace, but even with some threats of danger, the overall feel of the book is quite cozy.  I did not feel the peril that the title suggests and wanted more adventure and thrills.  The mystery is well thought out with clues sprinkled throughout and several suspects to consider.  Veronica’s impersonation of the princess feels a bit like filler, but it is entertaining and provides some much needed levity.  Readers must suspend reality for it all to work.

An Unexpected Peril is not the best book of the series, but it is still quite good.  I have just developed a deep love and high expectations for the books.  It can be read as a standalone, but I suggest reading this series in order to fully appreciate the characters’ histories and dynamics.