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Monday, March 5, 2018

Review - A Treacherous Curse

I read and reviewed the first in the series, A Curious Beginning (click here).  You may be familiar with this author.  Ms. Raybourn is the author of the amazing Julia Grey historical mysteries.  This series is strikingly different in the main characters.  See what you think as I review the third in the series.

Author: Deanna Raybourn

Copyright: Jan 2018 (Berkley) 313 pgs

Series: 3rd in Veronica Speedwell Mystery series

Sensuality: Innuendo and frank mature discussion within period language.  Nothing crude.

Mystery Sub-genre: Historical Amateur Sleuth

Main Characters: Veronica Speedwell, an amatuer entomologist raised by "aunts" - now in an uneasy partnership with a black sheep explorer

Setting: 1888 London

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review, Netgalley

From the book blurb:
"London, 1888. As colorful and unfettered as the butterflies she collects, Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell can’t resist the allure of an exotic mystery—particularly one involving her enigmatic colleague, Stoker. His former expedition partner [who left him for dead- he bears scars on his face from that disastrous expedition in the Amazon] has vanished from an archaeological dig with a priceless diadem unearthed from the newly discovered tomb of an Egyptian princess. This disappearance is just the latest in a string of unfortunate events that have plagued the controversial expedition, and rumors abound that the curse of the vengeful princess has been unleashed as the shadowy figure of Anubis himself stalks the streets of London.
But the perils of an ancient curse are not the only challenges Veronica must face as sordid details and malevolent enemies emerge from Stoker’s past. Caught in a tangle of conspiracies and threats—and thrust into the public eye by an enterprising new foe—Veronica must separate facts from fantasy to unravel a web of duplicity that threatens to cost Stoker everything..."
Veronica is larger-than-life, incredibly ahead of her time, stubborn, and highly intelligent with a sharp tongue and wit.  Stoker (Mr. Ravelstoke Templeton-Vane) is cranky and reclusive, a little bitter and struggling with the growing relationship between he and Veronica.  Stoker's ex-wife, who told harsh lies that damaged his reputation to get a divorce, is back and Stoker must face her in this book.  Stoker's brother, a Viscount, makes a few short appearances, too.  Their benefactor who employs and houses them makes a slight appearance.  Both their benefactor and the Viscount are enjoyable supporting cast.

The setting is London during an Egyptian craze.  The backdrop of a museum display of Egyptian artifacts and an ominous life-size specter of Anubis appearing around town set the eerie tone for this outing.  The countryside is used effectively during the climatic events.

The plot begins as a simple robbery of priceless artifacts from an Egyptian dig and a missing persons case.  But, complications ensue with a murder and the personal aspects of the missing person in question.  The pace of the story keeps the interest with the myriad personal conflicts in addition to the investigation and personal peril to Veronica and Stoker.
The climax includes an unconventional chase scene and a nail biting showdown.  The series is making big cinematic-style killer confrontations a regular feature and I love it.  The wrap up throws in some interaction with her estranged and distant father. 
I like how we learn a little more about Stoker and what has happened to make him who we see on the pages.  Veronica shows her teeth toward those who treated him so badly, exhibiting her loyalty to Stoker.  Veronica's showdown with the ex-wife is worth the read alone.  Veronica isn't your period woman, she fights the conventions and is her own woman.  This may bother some, but I love it.  The dialog is great.
Rating:  Excellent - Loved it, it had a good grip on me! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list 

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Mystica said...

The series are all excellent reads. Fascinating author.

prince said...
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