Thursday, January 12, 2017

ARC Review: A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

A Perilous Undertaking
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Series: A Veronica Speedwell Mystery (Book 2)
Publication: Berkley (January 10, 2017)

Description: Veronica Speedwell returns in a brand new adventure from Deanna Raybourn, the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey mysteries... 

London, 1887. Victorian adventuress and butterfly hunter Veronica Speedwell receives an invitation to visit the Curiosity Club, a ladies-only establishment for daring and intrepid women. There she meets the mysterious Lady Sundridge, who begs her to take on an impossible task—saving society art patron Miles Ramsforth from execution. Accused of the brutal murder of his artist mistress Artemisia, Ramsforth will face the hangman’s noose in a week’s time if Veronica cannot find the real killer.

But Lady Sundridge is not all that she seems, and unmasking her true identity is only the first of the many secrets Veronica must uncover. Together with her natural historian colleague Stoker, Veronica races against time to find the true murderer—a ruthless villain who not only took Artemisia’s life in cold blood but is happy to see Ramsforth hang for the crime. From a Bohemian artists’ colony to a royal palace to a subterranean grotto with a decadent history, the investigation proves to be a very perilous undertaking indeed....

My Thoughts: Veronica Speedwell is lured from her butterfly hunting when a Royal Princess asks her to look into the case of a friend who has been convicted of murder and is soon to hang. Reputations, even Royal ones, are on the line and the real murderer needs to be found soon.

It doesn't take long before Veronica and her friend Stoker are deep into their investigations. Their suspects come from the arty, Bohemian crowd and give us a glimpse into that group.

The setting and time period are well-described and the attitudes and morals of the day play nicely into the mystery. Veronica is a free spirit who doesn't subscribe to the morals of the day. She is a scientist which informs her thinking. She has taken lovers when abroad but won't consider it while she is in England. She has no interest in marriage. She is also the unacknowledged daughter of the Prince of Wales which is a secret that worries the Royal family more than it worries her. She wavers between wanting to meet her father and knowing that she can not. She would prefer not to interact with them but this case involves them.

Stoker is the black sheep of his family and, in this episode, we find out why. Stoker is also a scientist and adventurer. He's a doctor who served in the Royal Navy and looks like a pirate. He and Veronica have a strong friendship and I get the feeling that he would like more.

This was an entertaining mystery. I look forward to reading more of Veronica and Stoker's adventures.

Favorite Quote:
I turned to face him, not lowering the blade. “Might I remind you that I have, upon many and various occasions, been in mortal danger and I am still here.”

“Anyone can get lucky,” he said coldly. “And I suspect your continued survival owes itself to a combination of good fortune and sheer  bloody‑ mindedness. You are too stubborn to die.”
I got this one in exchange for an honest review from Penguin's First to Read program. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. Nice review! I will have to give this a try sometime. I liked the first book but didn't love it. This one actually sounds more interesting to me and maybe I'll enjoy it more now that the characters are established.


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