Determined to live an independent life, Veronica Speedwell is anything but a proper Victorian lady. So when her home is attacked during her aunt’s funeral, a rollicking adventure ensues.
Mastermind of the charming Lady Grey Mysteries series, Raybourn (Bonfire Night, 2014, etc.) introduces her latest feisty heroine, deftly twining together suspense, romance, and cracking good dialogue. Certainly, lepidoptery should be a suitable hobby for a lady; chasing pretty things like butterflies can hold no dangers. But Veronica, a foundling raised from birth by her two late aunts, has taken things a little too far: by capturing and selling highly sought-after butterflies, she’s financed her own expeditions to exotic locations, where she’s indulged in emotionally careful yet physically torrid affairs. After rescuing Veronica from her attacker, Baron von Stauffenbach whisks her to London, depositing her in the care of the enigmatic Mr. Stoker, a brooding, Byronic hero of the natural history persuasion. Before the Baron can return to tell Veronica what he knows of her mother, he's found dead, and the police like Stoker for a suspect. Stoker and Veronica partner up to find the real culprit, hurtling pell-mell into a captivatingly intricate plot, including a traveling circus, the fetid Thames, and the Tower of London, as they dodge villains with murky motives and hulking henchmen. Soon, they realize that Stauffer’s death may be connected to the mystery of Veronica’s birth parents, and Stoker himself has a few secrets to discover, including what really happened on his disastrous expedition to the Amazon, which left him scarred and disgraced. As Veronica and Stoker careen through dastardly plot twists, they match wits, bantering with skill worthy of Tracey and Hepburn.
A thrilling—and hilarious—beginning to a promising new series.