Saturday, March 4, 2023

ARC Review: A Sinister Revenge by Deanna Raybourn

A Sinister Revenge

Deanna Raybourn
Series: Veronica Speedwell (Book 8)
Publication: Berkley (March 7, 2023)

Description: Veronica must find and stop a devious killer when a group of old friends is targeted for death in this new adventure from the New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award–nominated author Deanna Raybourn.

Veronica’s natural-historian beau, Stoker, has been away in Bavaria for months and their relationship is at an impasse. But when Veronica shows up before him with his brother, Tiberius, Lord Templeton-Vane, he is lured back home by an intriguing job offer: preparing an iguanodon for a very special dinner party.

Tiberius has received a cryptic message—along with the obituaries of two recently deceased members of his old group of friends, the Seven Sinners—that he too should get his affairs in order. Realizing he is in grave danger but not knowing why, he plans a reunion party for the remaining Sinners at his family estate to lure the killer out while Veronica and Stoker investigate.

As the guests arrive and settle in, the evening’s events turn deadly. More clues come to light, leading Veronica, Stoker, and Tiberius to uncover a shared past among the Sinners that has led to the fatal present. But the truth might be far more sinister than what they were prepared for.

My Thoughts: Veronica and her lover Stoker are at odds when the story begins, but they reunite to help Stoker's oldest brother Tiberius who has received some newspaper clippings about the deaths of some of his old friends and a note saying he's next.

So, Veronica and Stoker leave Bavaria and head to Cherboys, the seat of the Templeton-Vanes, where Tiberius has planned a gathering of all the survivors of the Seven Sinners - a group of young school friends who made a Grand Tour upon leaving school. 

That long-ago tour had ended at Cherboys and fell apart after the death of one of the seven - Lorenzo d'Ambrogio when it was supposed that he fell off a cliff during a storm while trying to excavate a fossil. There were rumors, quickly covered up, that the death had been murder.

Now, someone is killing the survivors as vengeance for Lorenzo. One of the seven had died years earlier at the hands of Natives when he was there as a missionary to convert them. The two others were supposed accidental deaths and the subject of the clippings Tiberius received. 

Veronica and Stoker, though estranged in their romance, are united in wanting to keep Tiberius alive. They are still competitive and make a bet on who will solve the mystery first. 

Arriving at Cherboys are James MacIver and his wife Augusta and Count Pietro Salviati and his much younger wife Beatrice. Also attending as they did during the fatal houseparty are neighbors Doctor Timothy Gresham and his spinster sister Elspeth. Veronica is convinced that one of them is the murderer and Stoker agrees except he thinks the women are less likely to be the villain.

And when young Beatrice dies of strychnine poisoning, finding the killer gets much more urgent. 

I really like the time period and the references to actual people like Mary Anning and Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins. I like the characters especially Veronica who brave and independent face hides a fear of losing her independence. Stoker is more willing to risk his heart, but as a man in Victorian times, he has much less to lose.

The mystery was well-done and the clues were there if somewhat obscured since story told from Veronica's viewpoint with all her prejudices and eccentricities. 

Fans of the series won't want to miss this episode.

Favorite Quote:
"Can you imagine anything more romantic than sleeping under the desert stars, observed only by the unseeing eyes of the statues of the pharaohs?"

"And the guides, and the tourists, and the local folk, and rather too many smelly camels," I told her with some asperity.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. I am amazed at the reading that you do. I will say that I see many books that I think I would enjoy, but with time limits on what I read, I believe this is one that I will not add to my list. Although, it does sound like an interesting book.


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