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Veronica Speedwell #4

A Dangerous Collaboration

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Veronica Speedwell returns in another adventure filled with secrets and betrayal from Deanna Raybourn, the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey Mysteries.

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 partygoers, 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...

333 pages, Kindle Edition

First published March 12, 2019

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About the author

Deanna Raybourn

31 books6,678 followers
New York Times and USA Today bestselling novelist Deanna Raybourn is a 6th-generation native Texan. She graduated with a double major in English and history from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Married to her college sweetheart and the mother of one, Raybourn makes her home in Virginia. Her novels have been nominated for numerous awards including two RT Reviewers’ Choice awards, the Agatha, two Dilys Winns, a Last Laugh, three du Mauriers, and most recently the 2019 Edgar Award for Best Novel. She launched a new Victorian mystery series with the 2015 release of A CURIOUS BEGINNING, featuring intrepid butterfly-hunter and amateur sleuth, Veronica Speedwell. Veronica has returned in several more adventures, most recently AN IMPOSSIBLE IMPOSTOR, book seven, which released in early 2022. Deanna's first contemporary novel, KILLERS OF A CERTAIN AGE, about four female assassins on the cusp of retirement publishes in September 2022. (Please note: Deanna is not active on GR.)

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,686 reviews
Profile Image for Chelsea *Slowly Catching Up* Humphrey.
1,390 reviews77.2k followers
March 4, 2019
I'd say the first 50% of this book was a 3 star read, but then it picked up and the final 25% was an easy 5 stars for the veronica/stoker progression. I'll settle on a 3.5 rounded to 4 stars!

I was a bit nervous wading through the beginning of this one, because it was completely different from the rest of the previous novels in the series. Veronica and Stoker are indifferent towards each other, they spend 6 months apart with no contact, which is followed by a lack of cheeky banter/flirting. *gasp*

I felt so lost, but thankfully Raybourn finds a way to get everyone together on one island, and after a drawn out slow burn, the reader reaps their reward, complete with a tinge of mysterious set up for the fifth installment. This was probably my least favorite case solved by our dynamic duo, but I really adored the risk that the author took to bring an extra element of emotion and characterization to our main characters, as well as Stoker's eldest brother. Definitely still a beloved, favorite series, and I can't wait to see where Raybourn takes us next!

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*Thanks Berkley for my review copy!

Buddy read with Irina!
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,057 reviews30k followers
March 13, 2019
4 stars! Another engaging Veronica Speedwell mystery! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

I’m a self-admitted unusual and irregular series reader. I have a hard time sticking with them and sometimes wait until multiple books are out so I can read them in a row. Not so with the Veronica Speedwell mysteries, or at least, partially not so. I started with the first book and devoured the second. Somehow I missed the third, but I was ecstatic for the opportunity to read the fourth, and here I am! Ah-may-zing, and there’s a reason why this series has so many devoted fans!

In A Dangerous Collaboration, our capable sleuth, Veronica Speedwell is back, and this time, she’s off to Cornwall, to a remote island off the coast.

She’s been asked to accompany a friend to Lord Malcolm Romilly’s house party, and moreover, she’s been asked to pose as this friend’s (Tiberius’), fiancé.

Of course, this isn’t just any innocent party. Romilly’s wife, Rosamund, disappeared three years prior, on their wedding day, and every guest at the party is connected to Rosamund. Why were they all invited?

Veronica takes on the mission of finding out the why and begins her investigation with Stoker’s help. What do they uncover? There are several mysteries regarding the Romillys, and any one of the guests could have been her killer.

Veronica and Stoker are their witty selves here, and it’s always so much fun to read the dialogue between these two. A Dangerous Collaboration has a gothic feel with some ghosts and tons of atmosphere on the remote island. Our two main characters have evolved in this installment, just a little, and that kept me engaged and wondering what will happen next for these two. There was the tiniest hint at the direction of the next book, for which I cannot wait! Overall, another solid installment in this well-loved and entertaining series!

I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
Profile Image for Adina.
781 reviews2,956 followers
January 1, 2021
I like this series although I have to suspend disbelief many times, mainly because women here seemt to be too modern in their believes. It has the right amount of mystery and humor to balance the romance which is not usually my cup of tea. The setting is Late Victorian London and the heroine is a very modern young woman, an adventuress, a hunter of butterflies and a murder investigator in her free time. Together with the noble, mysteries and obviously hot naturalist, Stoker, they get in all sorts of trouble. This time they get to solve a house mystery when they are invited to join Stoker's brother to a grand mansion on a remote island. Unfortunately, The mystery was easy to predict but I still enjoyed the novel for the other aspects, the gothic feel, the humor and yes, even the restrained romance between those two.
Profile Image for Cindy ✩☽♔.
951 reviews769 followers
November 20, 2019
Another delightful addition to one of my favorite series.

This book follows our heroes and my low-key bias Tiberius on the journey to a small island off the coast of England. Malcolm, their host and Tiberius' long-time friend, brings them to the island with one goal in mind. To solve the mystery behind the disappearance of his bride years earlier.

As usual, nothing is as it seems. And everyone has a secret they wish to keep. But as the saying goes, nothing is a secret forever.

Stoker & Veronica
"You are the fool, Tiberius, because you still do not understand. I do not love her enough to kill for her."

"I love her enough to die for her."

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Tiberius did a lot of manipulating in this book, but I'm so grateful he finally gave Stoker the push he needed to admit his feelings. Because this book was a torture of Stoker and Veronica dancing around their issues, keeping their true hearts hidden. But their breakthrough at the end was well worth it.

Tiberius & Veronica
Veronica is so good with both Templeton-Vane brothers. Honestly, if Stoker did not exist I think these two would probably be together. Because the chemistry and understanding are there.

As I have come to expect with these books, it was an interesting mystery to entertain. Also, I am proud to say I did figure it out quite early this time. So I think I'm getting better at this. I know this book technically is not even out yet, but I already can't wait for the next one.

I received a free ARC copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Also, a huge thank you to Berkley Publishing for providing me with a hardcopy ARC as well.
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,337 reviews1,822 followers
January 10, 2019
I have been feeling a slump coming on.. so what better way to combat that terrible disease than by diving into a new instalment of favourite series, guaranteed to be a winner, a little earlier than planned? Well.. about that..

A DANGEROUS COLLABORATION is easily my least favourite of this series. Everything I loved about the mysteries, the characters, the potential for romance, the jokes, everything from the previous books, was either beat about like a dead horse, exaggerated, or put-off for very thin reasons. Nothing about this was working for me. After some skimming (yes, gasp, I confess..), I did eventually find myself at a place where there was a little bit of a brighter outlook on things for the future of the series, and the characters within it. But it took a hell of a long time to get there.

A series that taunts readers with an extended will-they-won't-they-okay-they-will-it's-just-when doesn't bother me. I love it. When it's done well. But I feel like.. it's not that this was stretched too long, I've waited longer, I just felt the obstructions and obstacles in book four were not believable or realistic for the characters. But, in general, I just felt everyone, and everything, was a little off in this one.

Because it would hurt too much to rate this beloved series too low, and I am hopeful for where things go in book five, not to mention the fact that I am happy to have read something to combat said aforementioned slump, I'm going to round up on this one. At least for now. I don't want to come back and drop it down but.. it might happen.

2.75 "he had adopted an attitude of Arctic hauteur. I blamed his aristocratic upbringing for that. and his nose" stars


** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
Profile Image for Sara (sarawithoutanH).
439 reviews2,880 followers
July 13, 2019
Okay, so apparently I never put this on Goodreads when I read it. Forgive me, father, for I have sinned.

This was a perfect book and I loved it and that's about all I have to say.
Profile Image for Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard.
1,144 reviews243 followers
April 9, 2019
Omg YASSSSS THIS WHOLE STOKER SIBLINGS AND VERONICA SITUATION IS DAMN GOLD! I loved all the characters development Stoker's brother got in this book rather than just being an under development potential side piece. I snort laughed (as always) continuously throughout and I CANNOT WAIT until we get the fifth book. Now I gotta try her Lady Julia series soon
Profile Image for Katie Colson.
604 reviews5,293 followers
February 17, 2022
Reading Vlog: https://youtu.be/2vf4HqIG5z4

I AM IN LOVE!! This book had every trope I adore. I was fanning my face at the post office while listening to this book. People thought I was deranged. I couldn't get out of my car because I was so overwhelmed by the scenes between Veronica and Stoker. Gals, I'm in love.
Profile Image for Jacob Proffitt.
2,856 reviews1,497 followers
July 8, 2021
This is fourth in a series that builds character arcs over time. So I definitely recommend reading in order.

I really hated the beginning of this one. It starts with a reset of the relationship between Veronica and Stoker, walking back all the progress made in the previous book. Plus, author manipulation to prevent Veronica from making an important declaration by drawing it out irrationally for no reason (bearing in mind that Veronica isn't a ditherer by nature, it was particularly out of character for her).

Add that the central mystery they're working on is disjointed and unimportant (to our main characters) and you have a plot that dragged at times. Also, I've never been a fan of Stoker's brother, Tiberius and there's an attempt to make him sympathetic in this story. In particular, what he admits with his wife was abhorrent and Veronica giving him any kind of sympathy just made me mad.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate everything and I kept going without ever intending to stop. The setting was interesting and unique and I really like what Raybourn does with some of those characters (particularly the sister with the really unlikely name that I can't remember because I keep thinking "Morticia" but that's not it). Plus, the ending was deliciously horrifying, so there's that.

And the three stars was clenched (as opposed to a really disappointing two stars) with the relationship developments once we got over the stupid reset in the beginning. So I'm happy for that, at least. I'll definitely be picking up the next, though I really hope that a relationship reset isn't going to be a pattern.

A note about Chaste: There's still a lot of frank talk about sex but nobody actually does anything salacious. Okay, that's not entirely true, there's a hot kiss that pissed me off (because it wasn't with Stoker), but it didn't go anywhere explicit. So I consider this chaste, though it's borderline, as has been the case with most of the books of this series so far.
Profile Image for Maja  - BibliophiliaDK ✨.
1,055 reviews597 followers
February 27, 2020
I WILL NEVER STOP LOVING THIS SERIES! 🤍🤍

I am so in love with this series - the characters, the mysteries and the tension between the two MC's Veronica and Stoker. This is my ultimate 'will they, won' they' series and I love it so much!

"It was very easy to look down on someone with a nose that would have done a Roman emperor justice."


🤍 WHAT I LOVED 🤍

Veronica and Stoker!: I was falling so hard in love with the development in Veronica and Stoker's relationship, I really cannot wait for the next book to see where they go from here!

Tiberius: Stoker's brother Tiberius has been a sort of constant background figure that you could never really figure out. I loved that he got a larger part in this book because it offered some understanding of him, his past and his person, but certainly also of Stoker!

Veronica: Veronica is, as ever, witty, smart and self sufficient. And I still love her so much.

Stoker: To me, Stoker seemed sort of matured in this book as if he was more aware of what he really wanted in life. He was still surly and reserved but he was also more calm, laid back and affectionate. I really enjoyed that side of him.

👎 THE ONE THING I DIDN'T LOVE 👎

Mystery: Unfortunately, this wasn't all love for me. Usually I really get into the mystery of these books, but with this one I had a feeling that it took a backseat to the personal things. The plot didn't feel as well thought out as the previous books.
Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,639 reviews449 followers
March 25, 2019
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I had a fabulous time with this book! I can't even tell you which book from this series is my favorite because they have all be consistently good. I think that my favorite just ends up being whichever book I am reading at the time or just finished. After finishing the previous book in the series, I was pretty eager to get started with this installment and I was not disappointed. The book grabbed me from the beginning and held me until the final page had been turned. I really enjoyed the time that I spent with this wonderful story.

This book is the fourth book in the Veronica Speedwell series. While this book does focus on its own mystery, I do recommend reading this series in order since the relationships between the characters are an important part of the story and have progressed throughout the series. This book picks up shortly after the events of the previous book and quickly finds the characters dealing with a new situation.

I really liked the fact that the bulk of this book takes place on a small island. There are a limited number of characters but the characters that do play a role were all really interesting and sometimes colorful characters. Most of the story occurs in a castle on the island which really made things interesting. The castle had a lot of great features such as a poison garden. I enjoyed discovering all of the things the castle had hidden right along with Veronica and Stoker.

I thought that the mystery in this book was really well done and kept me guessing which is always a big plus. The mystery was very complex and I was quite impressed by how everything ended coming together. I think that Veronica and Stoker make a wonderful team when they are working together on a crime. I also really liked the developments in their relationship in this installment. There were some really great moments between these two that has left me eager to read more as soon as I can.

I would highly recommend this series to others. This is a series with fantastic characters who are smart and able to solve any puzzle thrown at them. I found this to be quite the page-turner and I cannot wait to read more of this wonderful series.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
I really liked this installment in the Veronica Speedwell series. Almost the entire book takes place on a small island with a small cast of characters. There is a mystery from years before that is tied to Stoker's brother and a newer mystery before the book is over. Stoker and Veronica are both wonderful characters especially when they are working together.
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
2,976 reviews361 followers
March 12, 2019
Is there truly anything better than a tantalizing mystery and a slow burn romance all set in England during the 19th century?

Maybe but you would be hard pressed to find it!

The Veronical Speedwell series is just so much fun. It has been a favorite of mine since the very first book and the stories, the mysteries, the characters and the romance aspect, just keep getting better and better.

Raybourn is an amazing writer with the ability to create a heroine that rivals any era but her headstrong, smart, ambitious and very determined and sometimes sassy heroines of the 19th century, are by far my favorite. Add in her thrilling mysteries that keep you on your toes and a romance/friendship that is every bit as delicious and you have an irresistible read that is so very hard to put down.

Her latest set in a castle on a very secluded island shrouded with forklore, legends, and mysteries in and of itself and you truly have a mouthwatering read that will keep you eagerly turning the pages and refusing to put it down.

Add in a touch of sexual tension, murder, and the shenanigans that Veronica always manages to find herself in, the sexy gruffness that is Stoker, and this was truly my favorite yet. So stinking good and it just made me want the next book that much more.

*ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Caz.
2,622 reviews993 followers
April 5, 2019
I've given this a B+ at AAR, so that's 4.5 stars

Like many a fan of Deanna Raybourn’s series of Victorian-set historical mysteries starring the intrepid lady lepidopterist, Veronica Speedwell, I’m as much drawn to the complicated relationship established between Veronica and her delicious partner-in-crime, Revelstoke Templeton-Vane (Stoker), as I am to the mysteries the pair is called upon to solve in each book.  We’ve watched the couple circle around each other in what has sometimes been a most frustrating push-forward-pull-back dance; the sexual tension between them is incendiary, even though they’ve shared little more than one drug-induced kiss throughout three books, and the author has done a terrific job of developing a relationship between them that is based on far more than their obvious mutual lust.  But there comes a time when even a relationship built on incredibly strong foundations of admiration, respect and trust is no longer enough, not between two people who are so very clearly soul-mates in every sense of the term.  And Veronica and Stoker appear to have reached that point, their good-natured, teasing banter and ease in one another’s company having largely disappeared in this book and been replaced by awkwardness and – sometimes – verbal sparring that has crossed the line from affectionate to keenly barbed.

A Dangerous Collaboration, book four in the series, opens just hours after the previous book concluded.  Right at the end of  A Treacherous Curse , it seemed that Veronica and Stoker were on the verge of declarations, but they were interrupted – and within hours, Veronica is packing for an expedition to Madeira. Stoker is – not surprisingly – angry and hurt at Veronica’s sudden decision, but after making an offhand suggestion he shouldn’t bother writing if it’s too much of a bore, and Stoker’s impassive response that he’s quite used to managing alone – she leaves.

Veronica is away for six months, during which time she hears nothing from Stoker – for which she knows she has only herself to blame – but instead of being energised by her expedition, she’s listless and unable to concentrate on her specimen hunting and the articles she’s supposed to be writing.  She wanted time apart from Stoker to try to sort out her tangled feelings and emotions;  she’s always taken pride in not needing anyone, on being her own woman and on not wanting to conform to the ideal of Victorian womanhood and get married and have children.  So she’s struggling to come to terms with the fact that she has, finally, come face to face with the prospect of commitment to one man – and it scares her.

Men were a joy to sample, but a mate would be a complication I could not abide.  At least, this is what I told myself…


Only two days after her return to England, Stoker’s eldest brother, Tiberius, Viscount Templeton-Vane, pays them an unexpected visit.  There’s no love lost between the brothers and Tiberius certainly knows exactly how to push all Stoker’s buttons; yet for all Veronica recognises him for exactly what he is – clever, devious and manipulative – she likes him. Tiberius invites her to accompany him on a journey to a small island off the Cornish coast where she will be able to collect the larvae of an all-but extinct butterfly for her vivarium, which provides the perfect antidote to her former lethargy . She accepts with alacrity, knowing also that the trip will enable her to once again put off facing up to the truth of her feelings for Stoker.

Of course, Tiberius has an ulterior motive in inviting Veronica to St. Madden’s Isle, and knew without a doubt that telling Stoker he wasn’t invited was a sure-fire way to get him there as well.  What transpires is something of an homage to those classic country house mysteries of the 1930s and 40s; a family tragedy and unsolved mystery haunt the Romilly family, the owners of the island and inhabitants of the castle atop it; and amid an unsettling and unsettled family gathering, Veronica and Stoker find themselves once again embroiled in a mystery that poses significant danger for them and those around them.

The mystery is as gripping as ever, the island setting is vividly described and atmospheric, and the supporting characters and their relationships are all extremely well-drawn.  Tiberius is a terrific addition to the cast; a compelling, complex character whose motivations are deeply hidden and whose relationship with Stoker is severely fractured yet somehow strong at the same time.  They don’t like each other very much and their history is complicated, yet they’re so similar in many ways – ways that Veronica can see but which escape both of them:

Stoker and Tiberius were wounded things, both of them still carrying the barbs and venom of the attacks they had suffered at the hands of others.  Stoker was marked in ways he could never escape, both physically and mentally. But for all his wealth and polish, Tiberius was just as damaged.


A Dangerous Collaboration brings the romantic relationship between Veronica and Stoker to the foreground of the story and it’s about time, because I don’t think my nerves could have taken much more of their continual advance-and-retreat!  Ms. Raybourn has done a terrific job in all the books of showing that Stoker is well-and-truly smitten with Veronica, and that she’s strongly physically attracted to him, but of also showing the depth and strength of their friendship, a “mutual understanding beyond anything we had shared with others.”  I must confess, however, that I do sometimes find Veronica a difficult heroine to like.  I admire her – her quick mind, her independent spirit, her life choices and her determination –  all are admirable traits, but sometimes she’s a little too uncompromising to be truly likeable.  And that’s fine – if every character in a book was likeable, chances are it would make for a pretty dull read!  But I didn’t much care for the way Veronica treats Stoker for quite a bit of the book – even though her motivations are very clear and she’s obviously terribly conflicted – and I can’t deny that I was more than a little bit pleased when Stoker started to get some of his own back, because of course, he knows exactly what Veronica is doing and isn’t above playing the game.

A Dangerous Collaboration is certain to entertain and, if you’ve been following the series since the beginning, cause a widespread sigh of relief at certain developments 😉 I hope Stoker gets to bring his “plans” for Veronica once they return to London to fruition before they get drawn into another mystery – which, given the hints dropped, may well be their most challenging one yet!
Profile Image for Blackjack.
414 reviews133 followers
February 27, 2019
It's always a bittersweet reader's dilemma to want to race through a book to get to the end and to want to prolong such a good book for as long as possible. This fourth installment in the Veronica Speedwell series is a winner for me from start to finish, but now the wait begins for the fifth (and final?) book in the series in 2020. Right now, that seems terribly far away.

A Dangerous Collaboration picks right up where A Treacherous Curse ends with Veronica and Stoker pondering their possible future together as more than just friends and sleuthing partners. Veronica is feeling edgy though and unsure of her emotions and so she wants time away from Stoker to get a firm grasp on what her romantic feelings will mean for her life. As a lifelong footloose and fancy free woman, she is suddenly faced with dreams of permanence and commitment with one man. Stoker is more secure in his feelings and therefore the more emotionally stable of the two, but Veronica's slipperiness does lead him to feel the need to play games with her to get her to realize that she can't live without him. Thus, nearly the entire book is filled with romantic push and pull, with intense sexual tension interspersed with their trademark banter and one-upmanship. It's all so much fun to read, especially for those who like slow burn romances. And the ending is just swoon worthy with enough left unsaid and unrealized that Book 5 is seriously anticipated.

Happily, the mystery here is nearly as gripping as the romance and perhaps my favorite of the series, though I am a fan of A Perilous Undertaking. Here, a dinner party in a castle on a secluded island off the coast of Cornwall brings to mind Du Maurier's Rebecca, as Veronica and Stoker race to solve the mystery of a missing wife amidst a group of suspects, all with secret motivations. Tiberius, Stoker's older brother, plays a significant role too as a possible suspect, and is in his own right a fascinating and complex character who I hope reemerges in the next book. Of particular delight, the setting is just wonderful, featuring a poison garden, an island teeming with clear-winged butterflies, a castle built around secret passages, and a village of eccentric villagers - some of whom may or may not be actual witches and mermaids. It was fun to see Veronica, the pragmatic scientist, get caught up in the lore.

The best thing about this entire series has been the development of a loving friendship between Veronica and Stoker. Both are independent outcasts of society and skeptics of conventional institutions like marriage. It's hard to imagine a different life partner for either of them aside from each other, and the books all do a fabulous job of showing how important trust and respect is as a foundation to love. I had some slight misgivings in the first book that Veronica was too brash and too much of a caricature to be a satisfying protagonist, but she has grown steadily on me. In this fourth book, she is nuanced and her iconoclastic beliefs feel more believable because of her complexities as a character.

Onward to the fifth book, which sounds frankly thrilling as Veronica and Stoker get pulled into the mysterious Whitechapel murders of prostitutes and an unknown serial killer. How will Veronica and Stoker handle Jack the Ripper?
Profile Image for Mei.
1,879 reviews404 followers
April 9, 2019



That said, I love both Veronica and Stoker, but sometimes I also want to slap Veronica!

Yes, yes, we DO know that she's an emancipated woman, but she exaggerates!

Yes, yes, we DO know that she will not be a doormat for anyone!

But, for God's sake, loose it a little!!!

Their banter is fantastic as always and I enjoyed it. That push and pull game they're playing with each other is fun, but towards the end... Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh... *swoon*

The mystery is well played and I loved how each secondary character was given voice. Obviously, pulling the truth from each of them is like pulling a tooth! They do not straitforward lie, but they prevaricate, dither...

So, Veronica and Stoker have to string little bits of truth like perls on a nacklace, but even they're surprised with who did it and why! Lovely!

I also liked to find out that the relationship between Stoker and his (half) brother Tiberius is not completly destroyed!

And let's not forget the ambiance: a lovely little island with the castel perched upon its top filled with secret passages and priest-holes and poisonous gardens!!! Who wouldn't love it!

I'm so looking forward to what will happend next!!!!
Profile Image for Cindy Burnett (Thoughts from a Page).
547 reviews966 followers
March 5, 2019

4.5 stars

Veronica Speedwell is one of my very favorite heroines, and her adventures in A Dangerous Collaboration do not disappoint. The witty dialogue between Veronica and Stoker always entertains, and this installment is set on a remote island adding a gothic element to the tale. Each guest has been invited to the island under false pretenses, and as ghosts begin appearing and mysterious events start happening, Veronica and Stoker work to discover what happened to the host’s wife years ago and who is currently stirring up trouble. I think this is the best book to date in the series, and I have really enjoyed them all.
Profile Image for Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede.
1,913 reviews764 followers
March 18, 2019
Veronica Speedwell is back in a new adventure where she has to solve the mystery of a bride that disappeared after the wedding. Together with her colleague Stoker and his brother are they guests on a remote island off the tip of Cornwall. And, all the other guests on the island where there when the bride disappeared three years before. Could it be that one of the guests is a killer or did she disappear of her free will? If so why?

READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!
Profile Image for Melki.
5,589 reviews2,310 followers
July 10, 2021
For most people, a potentially murderous viscount, a missing host, and a vengeful ghost might seem out of the realm of petty irritations. But then, most people have not led my life.

Our plucky heroine, and her dear Stoker travel to a private castle located on an island. Sounds romantic, but their host has ulterior motives for inviting them to his private paradise. It turns out, he wants the pair to investigate a long-ago disappearance. On the plus side, it seems that Veronica has definitely found her calling.

To be engaged in an investigation once more, sparring with Stoker, was to be more myself than at any other time. I felt a rise of excitement and a sudden ferocious joy as heated as that of any butterfly hunt. Even taking a Kaiser-i-Hind on the wing had not afforded me as much pleasure as this.

Beware of those who promise butterflies, but offer up murder instead . . .

description



Profile Image for Sophia.
Author 5 books325 followers
March 3, 2019
The Delight:

At the close of the last book, things were left in an interesting place for Veronica and Stoker. I was eager to proceed and see what came of them next as they faced another exciting murder adventure together while exchanging acrimonious quips. A Dangerous Collaboration took them away from London to the atmospheric Cornish coast where they must solve a cold case mystery and perhaps discover something more.


Review:
A Dangerous Collaboration is the fourth Veronica Speedwell mystery, but it doesn't make a good standalone or place to jump into the series. There has been a long, sizzling slow burn relationship building through the books along with other series developments making sense only when got in order.

A Dangerous Collaboration jumps in a little over six months after the finish of A Treacherous Curse. It is six months because Veronica pulled a panic when emotions happened and ran off with her ladyship to go hunt butterflies on Madeira. Naturally, she would die before admitting as much and she is in desperate straights when she returns knowing that she hasn't purged Stoker from her system or found her mojo to go back to her butterfly hunts like what was supposed to result from the trip. Life is decidedly flat particularly when her absence doesn't spark even one letter from the person she desires to forget. In fact, she knows she has no right to feel hurt when it was her choice and when she comes back and he treats her the same as he did before, but seeing right through her like he always had.
Fortunately, Stoker's brother saves her with the dangling of a new mystery in the form of an old disappearance case involving his friend and the possibility of a new butterfly for her collection out on the Cornish coast so long as she poses as his fiance. Stoker wasn't invited, but he tags along as well for the houseparty in an atmospheric castle on the remote Cornish island with the Romilly family. Malcolm Romilly is determined to discover once and for all what happened to his disappearing bride the day they married.

I always anticipate each new release of this series for this pairing who drive me nuts and pull me in, all the same. But, I let myself believe things were a certain way between this pair at the end of the last book and this book snatched that away in the first pages and I had to reset and change my expectations. As a result, I will probably be going the unpopular opinion route for a good portion of this review. No worries, if you had a different experience when reading it.

Veronica and Stoker have been in denial since day one. I remember saying in my review of the first book that she is terrified of commitments, relationships, and, most of all abandonment and rightly so, but hides it behind her independent, highly intellectual, equal in all ways including sexually, outrageous persona. I call it a persona because it is something she has deliberately cultivated like her own version of armor. Until Veronica met Stoker, this was adequate, but over the course of these books she has slowly, bit by bit had it proven to her that all that is a brittle and hollow thing, but she is too scared to try for more and then when she slips in the last book and cops to feelings, she runs in fear.


I bothered to say all that because I really thought Veronica had made it through the last hurdle by the end of the last book and this would be the start of them trying to build something deeper. She's a fierce, brilliant woman who will never be like the typical women of her day- Stoker never once expects her to nor does he ever disparage her mind or anything else. He likes her as is and treats her as a partner and equal. She knows all this on one level and revels in it, but then that sticky fear from the past takes over and she is right back where she started pretending she is an island and doesn't want love or marriage or wanting a man for more than a night.

In this one, I skimmed and drifted through a book I felt dragged after the opening pages until around the fifty percent point when the suspense plot really kicked in and big things were happening. It's not that I minded the long set up of the situation or what was happening among the larger cast of characters, but with the focus, stronger than ever, on Veronica and Stoker while they churned up the same patch of earth with each other...sigh. I couldn't even get into the atmospheric setting and gothic overtones (that were great by the way) without being distracted.

Let's just say, I'd had enough. At this point, she's a tease and an emotional coward. Harsh, yes, but with Veronica, it's always Stoker being juvenile with his brother or Stoker being ridiculous and sentimental because God forbid a person have feelings for you or feelings about his brother cutting in and Veronica letting him. She knows what his wife did to him in the past and that his family was torn since he was a child and he's just now tentatively starting things with his brother. But hey, let's rile the guy up emotionally and pull back and then play coy while involving the brother. On purpose or not, she did it. I was honestly to the point where I wanted Stoker to back away and leave her with his brother. Yep, I was just that exasperated, but then I held in there for that precious solid gold moment when Stoker shines with a heroic inferno that burned away all the petty shirking she was doing. That scene was almost worth putting up with everything before it.

The mystery was a gothic style and that was the bright and shining bit. Even while the romance end was driving me batty, seeing them in action as a detecting pair, sparring and being witty while getting to the bottom of matters, I was as dazzled and thrilled as always. This is where this pair has always shone for me. I actually had my finger on the right answer, but then thought that I was wrong when the second disappearance happened. Loved the setting of foggy, isolated Cornish island shrouded in legend and lore with a castle full of hidden passages, a possible ghost, a definite disappearance and a house full of suspects.

Now, I did yammer on for some time about something that got my dander up and it probably seems I didn't like this book. But in truth, aside from my wild hare about that relationship, everything else was stellar. And, I would even go so far as to say that many people will have more patience and generosity than I did and not mind so much what got to me. This was a solid historical romantic suspense in a shining, witty series that I can recommend to those who enjoy the genre and strong willed characters.

I rec'd this book via Net Galley from Berkley to read in exchange of an honest review.
Profile Image for Amanda.
221 reviews18 followers
December 20, 2019
6/5 stars. 115% fantastic. I will never, ever have my fill of these characters and their adventures. May Ms Veronica Speedwell continue on for a long time to come
Profile Image for Lady Wesley.
925 reviews311 followers
December 31, 2019
Review of the Audible Audio edition.

A castle on a secluded island off Cornwall. Hidden tunnels and priest holes. A poison garden. The vanished bride. And one of my favorite tropes—the house party where every guest has a secret.

I totally enjoyed this book, and while I may agree with some of my friends’ criticisms, I’m still giving it five stars.

My only complaint is about the narrator’s voice, because all the men sound alike—pompous, gruff, and posh.
Profile Image for Lisa Wolf.
1,593 reviews171 followers
March 18, 2019
The house party with a twist is such a trope in old-timey feeling mysteries... and with good reason. Take a remote location, preferably in a house with some grandeur or mystique, add in a motley assortment of house guests, all invited for a variety of reasons, most of which end up being pretenses, maybe mix in some gothic family secrets... and bam! You're all set up for a slightly claustrophobic, atmospheric whodunnit.

In the case of A Dangerous Collaboration, while the set-up is reminiscent of Agatha Christie, with perhaps a hint of Rebecca too, it's a trope that works extremely well. We pick up with our plucky heroine Veronica Speedwell, already a world-famous lepidopterist despite being only in her mid-20s, and her dark and dangerous colleague Revelstoke Templeton-Vane, known as Stoker. The two have chemistry galore. When we last saw them in A Treacherous Curse , Veronice and Stoker had just solved a mystery involving plundered Egyptian tombs and Stoker's notorious past... and were on the verge of a long-awaited lip-lock and possible confession of feelings, when they were interrupted by Stoker's older brother, the Viscount Tiberius Templeton-Vane.

In A Dangerous Collaboration, we continue mere moments later. Tiberius arrives with a proposition for Veronica -- to accompany him to a gathering at his friend Malcolm's Cornish island castle, where she'll be able to collect specimens of a rare butterfly previously thought extinct. Naturally, Veronica jumps at the chance, despite Stoker's objections. So also naturally, Stoker shows up at the island too, where the two brothers and Veronica join Malcolm, his spinster sister, his widowed sister-in-law, and his nephew for a social gathering. At which point Malcolm informs them all that he needs their help -- he wants to learn the truth of what really happened to Rosamund on their wedding day. Did she flee? Did she die? Was she murdered? There are some dark and disturbing possibilities, and all of the assembled guests, apart from Veronica and Stoker, seem to have much more at stake than is initially apparent.

The Veronica Speedwell books are utterly delightful, with their arch humor, constant sense of adventure, and layered mysteries to solve, all of which are enhanced a thousand times over by the sparks continually flying between Veronica and Stoker. While A Dangerous Collaboration felt at first a little tamer than the previous three books, probably because Veronica and Stoker did not appear themselves to be in mortal peril this time around, soon the danger grows and before long they're once again risking life and limb to learn the truth.

Along the way, we get to know Tiberius better and understand what makes him tick, as well as gaining insight on the highly charged relationship between the brothers. For me, the most delicious part of the reading experience was the mounting tension between Veronica and Stoker, as they creep closer and closer to the point where they'll just have to finally admit their feelings and declare their intentions toward one another. Like I said, these two -- chemistry, sparks, fire, passion... you name it. (But no, there's no graphic physical stuff, just tension and attraction galore.)

As always, the language and dialogue in these books is so much fun. A little sampling:
"What in the name of seven hells do you mean you want to 'borrow' Miss Speedwell? She not an umbrella, for God's sake."


Her doglike devotion was appalling; any woman with spirit or strength could only feel revulsion at the notion of offering oneself up like a sacrificial lamb to the slaughter of one's own independent thought and feeling.


Men were a joy to sample, but a mate would be a complication I could not abide.


"Does this mean you will stop torturing me by displaying yourself in various states of undress?'

"Not a chance."


At the end of A Dangerous Collaboration, we get a hint about what Veronica and Stoker's next adventure will be in book #5. And now I'm jumping out of my skin, dying to read it NOW. This is really a terrific series, and I encourage everyone to start at the beginning and dive in!

Review copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley. Full review at Bookshelf Fantasies.
Profile Image for ♥Rachel♥.
1,804 reviews831 followers
April 9, 2019
4.5 Stars

I’ve been having fun with the Veronica Speedwell series, but I have to say these last two books (3 & 4) have been my favorite to date. I do love the mysteries, and the modern clever woman Veronica presents, but I love the last two because we are finally getting somewhere with the romance between Stoker and Veronica!

In A Treacherous Curse (the previous book) Stroker’s tumultuous past is revealed and mostly settled. Veronica is still skittish about getting involved with Stoker, worried that he still carried feelings for his ex-wife, and sort of sabotage’s herself in the process. Fear not, Stoker seems to know Veronica better than she knows herself. Their relationship is the highlight for me! These two are close and united even when they’re in a bit of a snit with each other. There’s a begrudging possessiveness, they don’t want to feel jealous but can’t help it, even when there’s no serious competition. I love the obvious passion and intensity between them, their cheeky banter is a wicked delight! Cementing their connection is their shared zeal for science. I was over the moon with how things turned out by the end!

There is a tragic romance within the current mystery (no, not Veronica and Stoker) and I have to say that while my heart broke for the injured male, I felt worse for the woman that bore the effects of his heartbreak more! It was a tragedy all around.

I can’t wait for the next book, as a Jack the Ripper type seems to be the villain, and I’m eager to see how Veronica and Stoker will take on this evil as they settle into a new understanding.

I alternatively read and listened to this book, and I can’t recommend the audio narration more! Angele Masters’ performance was perfection!

A copy was kindly provided by Berkley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for ☕️Kimberly  (Caffeinated Reviewer).
2,965 reviews631 followers
March 12, 2019
Tiberius, Stoker's brother invites Veronica to a house party on a remote island off the tip of Cornwall. He promises her larva from a rare butterfly and the temptation is too great. Well, that and the chance to ruffle Stoker's feathers. Stoker of course isn't invited. To keep up appearances, Tiberius introduces Veronica as his fiance' and I couldn't help but grin when Stoker appeared!
Lord Malcolm Romilly, has invited everyone who had a connection with Rosamund, his bride. On their wedding day she disappeared from the island and no one has seen her since. I love a good mystery and the island is the perfect place for it. An old castle, superstitious people who believe in merfolk and witches. Aye, good times to be sure.
I loved the twists, the reveals and the manor itself. The gardens, island and its history were completely atmospheric. Raybourn does a splendid job with pacing, red herrings and in allowing the reader to feel as if they are a member of the house party.
The characters added to the tale, including the sister who grows poisons in her garden, the sister-in-law with a spoiled son and then there is Tiberius with his own secrets.
Stoker and Veronica seemed at odds. Their chemistry is off the charts, but instead of just giving in, they both think too much. I want to lock them both in the conservatory until they lose their blood minds! We see movement but not before some climatic moments.
I thought the mystery was clever and in my humble opinion this series just continues to get better. The author developed both threads, allowed for character growth and has set up the mystery for the next book. Honestly, I cannot wait!  This review was originally posted at Caffeinated Reviewer
Profile Image for Ari.
745 reviews173 followers
January 24, 2023
This was my least favorite of the books in this series so far. Not only was the mystery itself watered down, but the usually delicious banter between Stoker and Veronica was fairly muddled. That is not to say, however, that the few moments of tantalizing intimacy between those two were not highly appreciated because believe you me they certainly were...and then some. The last few chapters were entertaining enough, but we've seen better (and hope for better in the next few books).

I will say, Tiberius is delightful. He deserves his own book.
Profile Image for Sarah.
508 reviews22 followers
February 22, 2020
I just adore this series so much, I truly hope that the next book will not be the last in the series because that would break my heart. I love Veronica and Stoker so much and all their banter and arguments.
I was a bit disappointed at the start of the book when there was so much fighting and distance between the two and the vague details of her trip. But it was all worth it in the end because I think that distance and time apart, the time to think, is part of what enabled them to get to where they now are.
I tried so hard to pace myself with reading this book so that I wouldn't have to face an entire year waiting for the fifth in the series, but I couldn't stop myself from reading or ration my reading enough! I felt that this book, had the most complex mystery in the series this far and I just had to keep reading to find out how it all came together.
I was nervous that we wouldn't truly discover what had ultimately happened to Rosamund before the close of the book. After everything with Malcom, Mrs. Trenrouse was settled and still there was no final answer past what her fate had been, I thought I woudd have to make my peace with always wondering where she was. But in the very last pages, she is found and the mystery is drawn to a close, the door to a new mystery is left ajar for the next book, and now? Now I must wait.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
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