Veronica Speedwell navigates a dark world of scandal and murder in this new adventure from New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award nominated author Deanna Raybourn.
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 proprietess, 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.
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.)
Veronica and Stoker are back for a new thrilling adventure to face their old demon Jack the Ripper. Are you ready for another smart, entertaining, sexy, twisty ride with this fantastic couple to witness how their abilities, intelligence to solve the crimes, bringing the criminals to the justice and also reading their sizzling, undeniably growing chemistry? ( They’re historical version of Castle and Beckett, David and Maddie and less weird, more lovely version of Scully and Mulder) You know what, this is kind of fascinating series you want to binge read and then discuss all the details with tour buddy readers ( I actually don’t have one! One of my buddies escaped for urgent spa session and other one prefers to binge watch Walking Dead, chasing me at the streets while she’s walking like zombie. As you can imagine with her slowness, she never catches me!)
In the meantime Veronica not only has to face with one of the most dangerous criminal of the history but also has to meet with her stepmother dearest for helping her prevent a probable scandal about Prince Albert Victor. An expensive gift has been received by Madame Aurore can be traced back to the prince. So they have to get rid of the evidence by stealing it. So two mysteries intertwine and the story takes a surprising turn but don’t worry, unconventional and smart methods, unique approach of Veronica and charming, problem solver, calm and patient manners of Stoker will help them to work as compatible couple and give us an memorable, heart throbbing, exciting new adventure.
I love their shared sarcastic, straightforward, smart dialogues and of course the fast pacing, straight to the point kind of development force us read this book at one sit but the worst part about finishing this so fast is quiet big problem. You want more stories and find yourself grumpier, whining about why you read so fast, now you gotta wait too long for the upcoming sixth book’s release.
Overall: Fast, enjoyable, exciting, thrilling, humorous page-turner! If you haven’t read the other book, I could say you’re so lucky because you got four more adventures to get invested.
Special thanks to probably my second best fairy Godmother Netgalley sending amazing books to my library and making me learn more dance moves every day to celebrate and of course Berkley Publishing for choosing me to send this wonderful ARC COPY in exchange my honest review. And let’s not forget to congratulate gifted Deanna Raybourn for creating this remarkable and one of my favorite historical crime thriller series.
As this is the fifth book in the series, I encourage any new readers to start at the beginning of Veronica Speedwell's story, in A Curious Beginning. After getting to know our titular character and her sidekick/love interest Revelstoke "Stoker" Templeton over the past 4 books, I've come to adore them as a team, and as individuals as well. This installment really digs into Veronica's murky heritage, while also focusing on Raybourn's fictional version of the Jack the Ripper murders. As always, this was a fun romp full of witty banter and hilarious antics, and I highly encourage fans of the series to snatch A Murderous Relation up in March when it releases.
*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.
The book deserves 3* but I am being generous. I seem to really like this series despite giving all the separate novels 3*.
"There was nothing more promising than the first stage of a new expedition. Everything was possible in that moment; there was no past, no future, only that hollow in time when everything paused."
With a balanced combination of Victorian setting, mystery and romance, Veronica Speedwell series continues to entertain me. This time, in order to help one of the princesses, Veronica and Stoker need to go undercover in an exclusive sex club. In this novel, the mystery part is less important, we realize quite early who is responsible. In exchange, the two hero need to fight for their life several times so I can say it is their most dangerous adventure. The relationship between the two also evolves and it was about time for some things to finally happen.
I am almost up to speed with this series and it has been a pleasant journey. The books were there when I needed some fun or getting out of a reading slump.
Let me start by saying, it is not bad. But this is one of the only historical/romance/mystery series I have followed religiously, so I was simply expecting more.
The characters, the setting, the mystery, I have always enjoyed the artful combination of it all. This book still technically has all those elements, but they feel uncharacteristically diminished. And if I am being honest, which I always strive to be in all my book reviews, the mystery/problem this time around is rather lackluster. The return of a certain villain made it feel a lot like a rehash.
The synopsis itself speaks with a certain urgency I never felt while reading the actual book. Also, the mention of the ripper murders in the synopsis proved to do the book more harm than good because it led me to think that major historic mystery would hold more influence on the plot.
It did not.
Stoker & Veronica Their chemistry usually always does it for me. But this time we are hit with just how emotionally stunted they both are. Even after having somewhat admitted their feelings to each other in the previous book, they spent most of this one dancing around their relationship status. And I am sad to say we did not get any steamy scenes, which is what I had thought we were building up to all this time. I was expecting something along the lines for Bringing Down the Duke, but all I got was tell and no show.
Veronica & Eddie These two were precious. I am so glad Veronica got the opportunity to know her younger brother, even if only for a little while. And while Eddie was naive well beyond his years, he is also earnest and thoughtful. So you cannot help but forgive some of his more obvious shortcomings
So all in all, this was my least favorite mystery of the series. Mainly because, as I mentioned, I assumed the mystery would somehow tie in with the Ripper murders. But alas no dice. Thankfully, a fellow reader has informed me this is not the true end. And so, given my overall adoration for this series, I will continue to follow it and hope the next books are more along the lines of the previous four.
I received a free ARC copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Big thank you to Berkley Publishing for providing me with a copy!
Listen, I already know I'm going to be an outlier on this one (again!) so you should just scroll right past this review before you get too sad about this rating.
For various reasons, the last two books in this much beloved series have just not done it for me. Book four because of what I felt were out-of-character behaviours for characters I had grown to love so much, and in book five, it's the mystery. This book had a lot of expectation riding on it because of where things ended in the previous installment and while it started out hopeful.. it kind of rambled about in another direction, putting certain things on hold, only to pick up a plot from a few books before; one I kind of thought we had moved on from. Only now do I see that this particular bit has finally (please?) run it's course.
The particular investigation in this book runs parallel to when Jack the Ripper is rampaging around London and I definitely thought there would be some crossover with that. It seems a popular, or common, event for this time period. Strangely, we ended up bypassing it, and in some ways that was a refreshing choice. But there was a moment.. oh, wow, it perked me up. What a brilliantly written interaction.
As for the will-they-won't-they-have-they-finally-just-got-on-with-it question, whether things progressed or not, you'll just have to read to find out.
Considering my rather lukewarm feelings about this one on the whole, however, I wonder if this series has just run its course for me. I hate to think it so, I've so loved so much of this (again, books one to three? great, delightful, the best kind of frustrating), but lately? Again, I doubt this'll be the common feeling. So definitely be excited about more Stokewell on your kindles or on your shelves. I'll just be over here hoping to find the love again in book six. Not willing to throw in the towel quite yet.
** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
Veronica Speedwell and Stoker are back for a fun one! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
In A Murderous Relation, they are asked to help Lady Wellingtonia Beauclerk (what a name!) to avoid a potential scandal with the monarchy.
The scandal? Prince Albert Victor visits a private club in London, the Club de l’Etoile, and the owner, Madame Aurora, has received a high dollar gift from none other than the prince. The assignment from Lady Wellie is for Veronica and Stoker to grab the jewel before the news breaks.
But at the same time, Jack the Ripper is about to change London forever. Lady Wellie thinks the hysteria surrounding the murders can also be traced back to the prince.
I loved the history in this one with the Jack the Ripper backdrop. I also just love Speedwell and Stoker. Their chemistry is amazing, and they balance each other out. Veronica is fleshed out even more in this installment, and I feel like I came to understand her much better.
Overall, I found A Murderous Relation to be another lighthearted and entertaining historical mystery from a series I adore.
I received a gifted copy. All opinions are my own.
This series is the first historical mystery series that I ever fell in love with, and that love will endure. Veronica and Stoker are the perfect will-they-won't-they, crime fighting Victorian couple out there!
"[...] you are clearly destined for adventure. And I am destined for you." - Stoker
Veronica and Stoker: These two are absolute magic! Usually they poke at each other, especially Veronica, but I loved the changed dynamic of their relationship in this book, now that they had finally revealed their feelings for one another. It was hesitant, careful and tender - just perfect!
Veronica's family: Veronica's family is... special, let's just call it that. I loved how we got to meet even more of it in this book!
Before reading this review, please know this is one of my all time favorite series and I still highly recommend reading it. I love the characters deeply and I have high expectations for each book.
I wanted to give this at least 4 stars with every fiber of my being but this book was so disappointing. This was my least favorite by far. I waited so long for Veronica and Stoker to be together and I was really let down by how it came about. 🥺The mystery also seemed very similar to other books in the series and I felt nothing new really happened.
I love these characters and I can definitely see myself re-reading the series in the future. I'm sad for it to have ended on anything less than a 5-star book but I will forever love this series.
after book 4, i had high high high high expectations for this book. not just because of what we (finally) get in book 4, but because the mystery in book 4 was very compelling and kept me on the edge of my seat. and also, yeah, because of what happens in book 4 okay.
so. this one. first off, i was like whyyy are you two being like that, you weirdos. secondly, it moved a bit slowly for me and the mystery wasn't *as* captivating. in fact, sometimes i was quite confused and am very thankful we get the wrap up/summary at the end otherwise i'd still be confused. i do love when one character has to explain something to another character so that they also explain it to me lol.
i still adore veronica and stoker and would happily read about their adventures forever, but this book was easier to put down than it should have been. but! i still very much enjoyed it overall because i do love this world and these characters so much. i loved the new characters introduced, i still laughed out loud several times, i still rolled my eyes lovingly. i just love the way this series is written and the characters truly are fabulous. it's such a delightful series. and YES OKAY what we get at the end was fabulous and wonderful and well worth the wait.
the end made me a little worried though, as it sounded like a wrap up to the series but thankfully i don't think that is the case. i am pretty sure there are more and i will absolutely read them in a heartbeat.
so overall, loved it because i love the series and the characters and the writing.
--------------------------------- want it need it can't wait
2020 is much too far away, surely we won't have to wait *that* long will we??
This was a fantastic installment in a much-loved series! This is the fifth book in the Veronica Speedwell Mysteries series which is a series that is best read in order. I have been with Veronica since the beginning and am finding that I like this series more and more with each installment. I read this book in just a couple of days and found it to be incredibly entertaining. I really had a great time with this book.
I have grown to love Veronica, Stoker, and some of the other recurring characters in this series. Veronica and Stoker work very well together and obviously are quite good at solving mysteries. They also have a lot of chemistry. We have been gradually watching the heat grow between these two since the beginning of the series and while I do sometimes wish things would move a bit faster, it is obvious how much they care about each other.
The mystery in this book was a bit unexpected. Veronica's heritage is a well-kept secret. Because of her connections, she is asked to look into some of the dealings of the prince. He has given a piece of jewelry that can be traced back to him to a woman who runs a scandalous club and his family wants it back before anyone can find out about it. Of course, things are never easy and Veronica and Stoker must navigate a pretty dangerous situation before everything is settled. Throw in the famous Jack the Ripper murders which are happening and you have quite an exciting story on your hands.
This book had everything that I hoped it would have. There were some rather light-hearted moments and some pretty intense scenes. I loved the chemistry between the characters and am loving the way Veronica and Stoker are slowly working their way towards each other. There were a few surprises in this book and I really enjoyed the fact that the Jack the Ripper murders were a part of this story. I thought that the pacing of the story was very well done and I found the book hard to put down.
I would highly recommend this book to others. This is a smartly written mystery series with incredibly wonderful characters. I cannot wait to read more of Veronica and Stoker's adventures!
I received a digital review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley.
Initial Thoughts I loved this book! I think that this series just keeps getting better and better. The characters are so well done and I love the chemistry between Veronica and Stoker. I thought the mystery in this book was quite good and I liked that the story touched on the crimes of Jack the Ripper.
It didn't take long for this series to win it's way into almost everyone who has read it's heart.
It is so entertaining, fun, enchanting, and filled with all the things historical, mystery, and romance lovers adore. It has just about everything one could ask for in a good read. From lovable characters, to a well written mystery, to the heart pounding, heart melting relationships and hint of romance. This series is a stand out series is any genre you want to put it.
And even better, the books just keep getting better and better as they go. There is always something more. More mystery, more danger, more mouth watering, heart accelerating sexual tension, just more.
I adore this series. I adore Veronica and Stoker. Raybourn always manages to transport us back in time to Europe and all the adventure and mayhem that these two lovable characters can possible get into.
Another outstanding installment in this series and yet again proves why Raybourn is a master in her art.
*ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
I really had trouble getting my thoughts together with this book. After several books with Veronica and Stoker having exciting after exciting adventure...this (possible) conclusion to the series was a bit underwhelming. BUT I did devour it pretty quickly and was pretty engrossed nonetheless.
This next installment (or conclusion) starts off with a wedding. A tortoise wedding to be exact. The Earl has requested Patricia, his ever grumpy pet who lumbers about the grounds of his estate Bishop's Folly to be wed to a beau who has not yet arrived. Veronica is more than happy to oblige but Stoker makes it clear that he has work to do in the belvedere, the place him and Veronica use for their work. But the wedding would have to be put on the back burner as the two are summoned by Lady Wellie to discuss something urgent. There they are surprised to come face to face with the Princess Alexandria of Denmark, Veronica's stepmother due to her blood. But this was not a family reunion. The Princess was there to ask a big favor of Veronica and Stoker. Veronica's half brother Prince Albert (affectionately known as Eddy) has been frequenting a club of bad reputation and has given a expensive gift to the enigmatic owner of the Club named Madame Aurore. His decision to the have the gift made by his mother's jeweler made it easy for her to trace his steps. The Princess has requested that the Star be retrieved by Veronica and Stoker to avoid a huge scandal from breaking out. Veronica is quick to decline since she does not see why she should ever help the family who has denied her but Stoker convinces her to help.
To execute their mission they had to pay a visit to Stoker's brother Tiberius, much to his chagrin. He helped get Veronica and Stoker dress up to look the part of new members to the Club that were just there to have fun and join in the debauchery. In their disguises, the two get into the club easily and try to find a way to get to Madame Aurore's private wing. The wing is guarded by a surly man but Veronica is invited by Madame Aurore to her suite. There she finds out where the stars the madame has gotten from admirers are kept. She is escorted out and meets back up with Stoker to tell him her new development. They find a vent that leads up to the Madame's suite and try to overhear a conversation with a person they assumed to be Eddy since they were told he would be there tonight. They can't make out the conversation and hear a lot of commotion. In bribing the servant, they are able to get to the wing from a different direction and enter the suite. They encounter a woman that turns out to be Eddy in disguise and they also unfortunately encounter the body of Madame Aurore who has been stuffed under the mattress in her room. The three fled to prevent the murder be pinned on them but are ambushed and made unconscious outside the club.
When they awaken, it is revealed that their captor is Veronica's Uncle. He was presumed dead after being engulfed in flames and falling into the Thames in their last adventure. He is still determined to use Veronica as the pawn to usurp the throne and claim it for the Irish. He had help from none other than Inspector of special branch in Scotland Yard. Veronica refuses to cooperate in their scheme and the three are held captive for days. Eddy now knows that Veronica is his half sister and they form a kinship. Veronica finally thinks up a plan and three barely escape, Stoker being in rough shape from being beaten by her Uncle's Henchman.
The three return to the estate and find that Madame Aurore's body has been placed inside the sarcophagus in the belvedere. Lady Wellie remains comatose after swooning at the knowledge that Eddy could possibly be the Ripper. But Veronica and Stoker come to doubt that he would be capable of such evil. The two don't escape their captors for long and there is a final showdown, leaving Veronica's Uncle and the Inspector dead. Stoker is shot as well but it would have been worse if they didn't get help from Inspector Mornaday once again and J.J. Butterworth who was writing the article's on the Ripper's victims. Veronica has also been shot but does not discover it until the adrenaline wears off. Her and Stoker recover and Madame Aurore is laid anonymously to rest in order to keep Mornaday's reputation unsullied since he was the one to put it in the sarcophagus. Lady Wellie recovers and the scandal with Eddy remains under wraps. Eddy returns to his home, hoping that him and Veronica can still have some semblance of a friendship but Veronica does not believe their paths will cross again. The story ends with Veronica and Stoker once again escaping death and vowing it to be their last adventure (for a while at least). The two also realize they can no longer deny their attraction to each other and wrap everything up with them making love and making their relationship official.
As I have said in other reviews of this series, Veronica is the protagonist I have been waiting a long time for. She is witty, snarky, and doesn't let men think she is of the lesser sex. I think many female protagonists can learn from her since she shows that not all female characters have to be romantically driven. Yes she fell in love with Stoker but that was a small detail in the overarching plot. I'm truly sad to see her go if this really is the last in the series.
Stoker is my Mr. Darcy. He's broody, surly, and grumpy but I can't deny how much I love him (not to mention how fucking sexy he is). He also never stepped on Veronica's feet and tried to make her lesser than him. He always respected her as an equal and that is too rare in books these days (I'm looking at you Thomas Cresswell). I am equally heartbroken to say goodbye to a man I could truly swoon over.
There are many other character's but the ones I feel that are worth mentioning is Lady Wellie and Eddy. I loved Lady Wellie from the start with her wit and her spitfire attitude. She could cow anybody into submission with that will of hers and I just couldn't help but grow a soft spot for her. How could I not when there's a woman making her own rules and her own name in a world filled with men and unfair rules for woman in place. Eddy was just like a little lost puppy that I wanted to take home. Yes he fucked up by giving a Star to pretty much a courtesan but he tried to make it right himself and is trying to be a better man than his father. I don't know how this man was truly in real life but I hope he was close to what this rendition of him was like. I hate to see them and other go too.
*holding in sobs*
*ahem* So now that I addressed character it comes down to plot. AND that's where this book truly suffered for me. This series has been truly more character driven and dialogue driven as well, but there was still some semblance of plot and it was just not what this book was advertised to be. With the synopsis mentioning the Ripper, I thought for sure we were in for a fun adventure of Veronica and Stoker finding out the identity of the Ripper. But it was unfortunately a small side plot that was just there for dramatic effect. I did appreciate Raybourn making a point to say that the victims were more than prostitutes but there was still so much lacking. The plot was really just a continuation of Veronica trying to escape her blood relations to the royal family and other's trying to use that knowledge for their own gain. Also I usually don't mind that the conversations between characters go on and on for quite a bit of the book but it seemed to bog down the whole thing this time and leave little room for more plot. The last point that really just drove home me not giving this full five stars was the lackluster ending. I wanted a steamy, raunchy, arousing sex scene between these two after being denied it book after book. But...nothing. No details. Just vague suggestions that it was some wild sexy times they had. Some kissing might have made up for that but nope, just that little bit as they started making love. I know this would be totally fine in other people's books but not in mine. It is a adult book so I expected more adult content. But all in all, an enjoyable series and I would still recommend it to anyone.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
I've struggled quite badly with a reading slump the last couple of months and there are a lot of books I've started to read and abandoned and plenty of times have I abandoned books halfway through (if I even get that far). So, I'm not always sure it's me or the book that's the problem. Although, I have read a couple of really good books during the autumn/winter...
Anyhow, this is a favourite series of mine, I was quite looking forward to reading it and I loved to once again step into Veronica and Stoker's lives. Especially the beginning of the book was hilarious, with the struggle of wanting to consummate their relationship and not being able to do so. However, I struggled with the case and reading about the pair working undercover at a brothel should be a lot of fun, but I felt my heart was not in it. And, yes Veronica meeting young Eddy was quite interesting. However, I never really took to him and his problem. Poor lamb, not that bright...
The best part of the book was Veronica's brief meeting in an alley with a chilling figure. That made me wish the book had been more about the terrible murders that occurred at the time rather than the silly Eddy problem at the brothel. But, this series is more humorous than serious so it's probably not the right kind of story for Veronica. And, hence this could be the root of my problems reading the book. As much as I enjoy lighthearted historical mystery books I prefer darker ones...
Still, those that like this series and love reading historical mystery books will probably enjoy this book.
I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through Edelweiss!
I looks like the Royals are back to ask Veronica and Stoker for their help in stopping another potential scandal! Color me surprised.
While the dynamic duo are planning, plotting, bantering, and working on the exhibit- there is unrest in London due to the recent string of murders by a serial killer. (IE Jack the Ripper) While this is not the main focus of this book-the murders are a back drop for the political and personal stirrings of resentment around England.
With the thought of a scandal rocking the Royal Family being the possible thing to light a match that could effect all of England- Veronica and Stoker have to be even more sneaky and alert than usual while solving their latest mystery.
Also, I just have to say regarding Veronica and Stoker's relationship... ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>
The problem with having a series that is entirely carried by the will-they-won't-they quasi-relationship of the main characters is that by book 5 you've really built the eventual coming-together of the couple up to lofty heights in your mind. And in this particular case, you'll end up mightily disappointed.
Over the course of the series, everything about it hast just slowly lost its appeal to me. The mysteries are perfunctory and steeped in plot convenience that serves no larger purpose. There's a ton of exposition and too much time spent on waffling about meaninglessly. The main characters have been caricatures of themselves for a while now, and the way their relationship finally *happened* was just so... bland and without tension or excitement.
I wanted so much more from this series and I'm endlessly disappointed that it never reached its full potential. I don't know if this is the end of the series as a whole, but it definitely will be for me. On to bigger and better things, I guess. Excelsior!
My Thoughts: Oh, I just loved this one! Since Veronica is being honest with her feelings for Stoker, and Stoker shows in every way that Veronica is it for him, I’m not stressing or feeling frustration over their romance. There was a sensual quality to one of the situations they find themselves in and the sexual tension between Stoker and Veronica was palpable at times! Loved it!
However, this one had me on the edge for different reasons. The situation Veronica and Stoker get into was dicey at times and I was worried at how they were going to get out of it! Thrills, suspense and a couple surprises. I loved every minute! The murders by Jack the Ripper play a side part in the story and I enjoyed how Ms. Raybourn shone a light on the victims instead of making Jack the Ripper the focus as a majority of stories do.
I read this installment, but I’ve also listened to the audio versions in the past, and I have to say Angele Masters performance has been brilliant! She narrates this newest installment as well so if you’re an audio lover you’re in for a treat! A copy was kindly provided by Berkley in exchange for an honest review.
"Let me understand you correctly, Stoker," the viscount said silkily. "You require costume pieces and information because you mean to escort Veronica to one of the most notorious sex clubs in London?"
Oh, yeah - that's pretty much what happens though it's not nearly as salacious, or even as interesting as one might hope. The magic is definitely gone in this one. I wasn't overly enthralled with the plot that involved saving the royal family's reputation. (These people are so obnoxious I started to root for the anarchists.)
And, what has happened to Veronica and Stoker? Ever since they in the last book, they're being careful with each other's' feelings. Hence - no witty repartee or arguments. Yawn. If our library ever gets the next volume, I'll read it, but I hope the author soon realizes it's possible to have characters who indulge in both , AND verbal sparring.
Maybe this fifth book in the Veronica Speedwell series had too much pressure on it given the previous book's cliffhanger. I know that I, for one, began it with much anticipation: would Veronica and Stoker finally become a sexual couple after many books of dancing around their undeniable attraction? If so, would the couple become a truly romantic detective duo? What role would Jack the Ripper play in a brand new mystery? And, would this new installment live up to previous ones? This book answers all of these questions -- but not, unfortunately, anywhere close to the hype.
Instead, it dutifully trudges through a pretty mediocre mystery that, in addition to being rather boring, even dragged in previous villains rather than create new and exciting ones. I never became interested in the central mystery of why someone was attempting to frame the Prince of Wales or why Veronica cared enough to go undercover to investigate. The pacing too is off in this book because one setting - a scandalous brothel (of sorts) - consumes way too much of the plot. Initially I thought that this scene in the book would be a fun sleuthing adventure before moving onto the next one, not realizing 200 pages later, we're still there. There's also a hectic and unintentionally farcical scene toward the end that left me in all states of confusion about who's doing what, when, and where.
And what about Jack the Ripper? He is here in this book, sort of, but kind of more on the periphery, and in spirit. I think he's meant to exist here more for atmosphere than actuality. Londoners are in a panic and Ripper-fever grips the city - or so we're told. Sadly, I wanted to feel some of that fever, but alas, I did not. There is though one cool scene where Ripper fleetingly appears, and that one scene really worked for me. It was ever so brief though before the pedantic return to the central mystery.
This fifth book does also address the unresolved tension between Veronica and Stoker, eventually. The writing during these scenes felt distanced though as we're told more than shown. Also, I felt Stoker's love for Veronica a bit less in this book, and I'm not sure why. A good part of the book is spent detailing Veronica's thought process on commitment, and so perhaps the absence of Stoker's perspective took a little away from the romance for me. There are scenes in the book where I had trouble reading Stoker, as does Veronica, and those moments are never fully explained later. It's hard for me to say with any certainty what kind of couple they will make in future adventures.
I'm giving this three stars because I do think Raybourn is a nice writer, and I was happy to revisit characters I've grown fond of over the years. Overall though, this is probably my least favorite of the books in the series.
Ooh! Such a delicious addition to the Veronica Speedwell mystery series from the pen of gifted and imaginative writer, Deanna Raybourn. The year is 1888; the setting - an anxious London, as Jack the Ripper runs unchecked through its streets. Our derring-do protagonist, Veronica, along with her protective and magnificent specimen of the male species, Stoker, have been called back to London by Lady Wellingtonia Beauclerc, after their recent harrowing adventure down in Cornwall. Lady Wellie believes there to be mischief afoot, which may well involve a member of the royal family. She implores Veronica and Stoker to investigate which leads them to a private club often frequented by said royal, (who just happens to be related to Veronica). It doesn't take long for plans to go awry and a corpse to come to light. And so, the adventure begins.
Ms. Raybourn has done an excellent job of weaving current historical events into the continuing storyline of our undaunted Veronica and her beloved Stoker. The dialogue is spectacular and witty. The mise en scène is superb as it formulates a world drawing on all of the reader's senses. The tension runs high, the pacing is excellent and just when you think all is tied up in a pretty bow, there's a new twist which heightens the tension a bit further. In the end, all is drawn to a successful conclusion leaving any armchair sleuth fully satisfied.
As much as I thoroughly enjoyed this story, I would be remiss if I did not mention the adult nature of some of the material contained within it. Although never graphic, there is dialogue and innuendo of a sexual nature and a bit of gore. It is tastefully proferred and at times, quite amusing.
Can you read this as a stand alone book? Certainly, by why would you want to when the entire series is fabulous and there are four other adventures which lead up to this one. I recommend them all.
I hate to say that this was my least favorite of the Speedwell series thus far. The greatest character addition was Eddie. I loved the den of inequity as a location for a large chunk of the book. After leaving this den of sin, most of the book was rather boring for me, unfortunately.
I did enjoy the relationship between Eddie and Veronica, and I could even get down with the tension between Veronica and Stoker. Still, having already admitted feelings and the almost five books leading up to the consummation of said feelings and all of the details put into their physical closeness, I expected more from Raybourn.
While I enjoyed the White Chapel ladies as an edition and side plot to the book, I think it would have been better not to advertise this book as containing Jack the Ripper. It seemed to be more marketing bait rather than much inclusion of much Ripper-related content. I am an avid Ripper fanatic, and I wanted more from Veronica and Stoker on this. It would have been enough to show these details and let the reader deduce for themself.
For much of this novel, Stoker felt like an ancillary character, and I missed his wit and intelligent deduction for much of the least half. Too much time felt wasted on the lackluster kidnapping, and the peril didn't feel real to me as a reader. I still love Speedwell and crew and will continue her adventures in the next, hopefully, more exciting novel.
Some of my favorite quotes: "It is the King's ass!" "Indeed." "The King's African painted ass!"
I would rate this book 4&1/2 stars if I could. Another great adventure for Veronica and Stoker with ever present danger. As usual everything starts out smoothly enough but very quickly deteriorates into chaos and is sometimes hilarious with all the secondary characters and Veronica and Stoker bickering. This book went in a different direction mystery-wise than I expected. It was fast-paced and eventually all is resolved and revealed. The ending is very satisfying and earned the book that extra half star. Veronica and Stoker are one of my favorite couples. I highly recommend this series. As others have said it should be read from the beginning.
After the last harrowing adventure and moment of truth in their relationship, Veronica and Stoker are back at the earl’s residence cataloguing his family collection for the museum, squabbling as usual, and feeling the littlest bit unsure of how to move things to the next level in the relationship. But, a secret royal summons, a naïve prince, and a dastardly killer in the East End known as the Ripper land them in their next deadly adventure and a case that gets personally swiftly enough for Veronica.
A Murderous Relation is the fifth book in the Veronica Speedwell series. It is a series that must be read in order to follow the overall series arc for Veronica’s character development and the development of the relationships around her.
In the last book, I was close to shaking Veronica until her teeth rattled because of the depth of her denial and fear about her feelings and relationship with Stoker. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated her getting past a lot of that and slowly starting to accept and do something with her feelings. Of course, she wouldn’t be Veronica if she didn’t make a big deal out of each step in the relationship. Alongside her newly understood feelings for Stoker is the return of her ambivalent feelings toward her natural father, the Prince of Wales, and his family. In A Murderous Relation, it was particularly poignant to see her get to spend time with the eldest of her younger half-brothers as part of the harrowing danger their latest case involved.
As usual, this is all narrated from Veronica’s perspective, but she’s a keenly interested and detail-oriented observer so the reader knows the other characters very well when all is said and done. Stoker absolutely shines as Veronica’s rock and most loyal friend. She is not an easy person and she is exceptionally skilled and intelligent, but Stoker isn’t intimidated and doesn’t back down from her bossiness nor does he back away his support and strength especially when she faces her personal demons. He is exactly what she needs and it was great seeing this continue to settle in her mind and heart right after some deadly action scenes.
The mystery was a good one though the suspense was more how they would thwart the villains since they learned quickly enough who that was and what their motives were. It was exciting and riveting which is what I love about this series. Veronica and Stoker got to show their prowess time and again.
The historical backdrop was organic to the story. I have always been fascinated by Jack the Ripper and even the British Royal family so with the strong dose of both in the story it was bound to capture my attention. But, added to this was also the life of the London poor, class struggles, and Irish Home Rule as strong subject matter.
So, all in all, it was another fabulous installment in the series and I was glad to learn there were more on the way. Those who want both depth of character plotting, strong romance, and an action-packed suspense side should definitely pick up the Veronica Speedwell series.
The latest addition to the Veronica Speedwell series brings much the same that I've come to expect: smart characters, all with their own motivations, hidden or otherwise, a tangled and intriguing mystery, a sense of atmosphere, and the ever hilarious and touching friendship - and perhaps more - between Veronica and Stoker.
I'll admit. When Jack the Ripper was first mentioned, I had to roll my eyes and sigh because his rep is seriously overblown. Thankfully, the story only used that as a jumping off point for the main mystery and went in a completely different direction. There was a bit of repetition with one of the conflicts, which I thought was a bit weak, but there were some revelations that come of it that kept it semi-fresh, and of course the opportunity for Veronica to get to know one of her half-brothers was priceless and the best part of the adventure for me.
I like that the romance isn't the main focus in this series. The UST in the previous books was off the charts. I kind of missed that here, since the relationship angst wasn't my favorite, but now that the will-they/won't-they has been resolved, it can only go uphill. :D Looking forward to the next one. :)
Oh My! That unresolved attraction between Veronica and Stoker. I can hardly bear the tension. Veronica shares that. Moments of seething awareness has appeared between them constantly, only to be shelved as something or someone rudely interrupts. Even here Veronica complains to herself at a key moment, "This was not the time for erotic pursuits, I told myself severely. We had a mystery to solve and would need all of our wits about us. There would be ample opportunity later for the amatory arts." By now Veronica Speedwell and Revelstoke Templeton-Vane, have become deeply involved in mysteries involving the ton, and the unacknowledged Veronica's royal relations. Veronica and Stoker are called to Lady Wellie's (Wellingtonia Beauclerk) as a pretext for a direct request from the Princess of Wales, wife to Veronica's father, to recover an ill advised jewellery item, a distinctive diamond star badge, gifted by Prince Albert Victor or Eddy, Veronica's half brother, to a renowned courtesan. What begins as a refusal to bow to unlooked for and unappreciated family entanglements by Veronica ends in a plot to wrest kingship away from the Prince of Wales, and a deeper motive, that of leaving Britain in the throes of anarchy. An on the edge of your seat adventure with my two favorite characters Veronica and Stoker, that encompasses unrest in 1880 Britain, the public's Jack the Ripper fears and suspicions, the idiosyncrasies of the Royals, the legality of Veronica's mother relationship with the Prince, murder and mystery, and the magical tie that lies between Veronica and Stocker. Friends and enemies appear from unlooked places, upping the ante and occasionally levelling the playing field. There's a host of interesting side characters including the audacious lady journalist J. J. Butterworth and Special Branch policeman, Mornaday. Let's not forget Lady Rose, youngest daughter of their delightfully eccentric, and very British patron, Earl of Rosemorran. Lady Rose is a wonderful inclusion who when we first meet is organizing a marriage for the Galapagos Tortoise Honoria. So quirky! I felt the same sort of euphoria I remember when the issue of the Phantom Comic hit the shelves in the 1970's headed 'Married at last.' (No, that is not Veronica and Stocker's relationship, I'm just expressing my emotions about them.) I adored every minute!
Excuse me, while I squeal like a teenager about this book!
It was so much fun, all around, and what a relief after a less than satisfactory foray into the fourth book. Add to that an absolutely delight of an ending (FINALLY! but the wait was so worth it), and this is so far the star installment of this series.
Five books in, the Veronica Speedwell mystery series remains delightfully fun, with intrigue, arch dialogue, and an undeniable sexual chemistry between the main characters.
Veronica and Stoker have been through all sorts of hair-raising escapades by this point. They’re each strong, opinionated, and stubborn, but also fiercely devoted to one another and to helping those in need. Being highly intelligent natural scientists is just icing on the cake.
The story in book #5 picks up a couple of weeks after their latest adventure (A Dangerous Collaboration, book #4). Veronica and Stoker are looking forward to getting back to a normal routine and final consummating their relationship, but it’s not to be — at least, not yet.
They’re called upon to use their adept sneaky ways to save the royal family from a potentially explosive scandal… and since Veronica herself has a connection to the royals, she feels both an obligation and a resentment over this latest intrusion into her life.
Nonetheless, it’s Veronica and Stoker to the rescue, throwing themselves into a costumed ball at a high-end brothel and ending up in mortal peril themselves. Their adventures are, as always, fast-paced, full of danger and absurdly self-sacrificing moments of bravery, and plenty of snark.
There’s a tangential connection to the Whitechapel murders, and the disquieting threat of Jack the Ripper hangs over the story as a backdrop. Meanwhile, there are feats of physical daring, although ultimately it’s Veronica and Stoker’s smarts and instincts that make all the difference.
This series is so entertaining and delightful! It’s not terribly serious. And who doesn’t need a breezy Victorian romp every once in a while? Veronica and Stoker are terrific characters on their own, and together, they’re a powerhouse couple who can achieve just about anything without losing a hint of their devotion and attraction to one another.
I definitely recommend this series as a whole — but as with any good series, it’s always best to start at the beginning. Fans of the Veronica Speedwell books will not be disappointed by this book! And I’m happy to know that at least two more books in the series are planned. Excelsior!