Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: Veronica Speedwell #3
Publication Date: 1/16/18
Number of Pages: 320
This is the third book the late-Victorian Veronica Speedwell series. It features lepidopterist Veronica who is bold, unconventional, outspoken (to the point of being overbearing) and the handsome Revelstoke Templeton-Vane (Stoker). I read the first book in the series and loved everything about it except Veronica, so I decided to skip ahead in the series and see if she had mellowed any at all. She is still arrogant, superior, condescending and overbearing, but she’s not quite as bad as in the first book, so I’ll definitely try another one – hoping that she continues to mellow a bit. This author’s mysteries and writing are always top-notch, it is only the female lead for which I haven’t been able to work up any enthusiasm – I don’t hate her, I just don’t care for her very much and we’d never be good friends. I am excited to see where the series heads from here!
I am not going to complain because I dearly wanted to learn more about Stoker’s past – and I was delighted to learn a lot more – but that knowledge did come at the expense of the mystery. The mystery was still excellent, just not as intricately complex as the others in the series. We didn’t learn all about Stoker, but we did learn a lot more than we knew before. We meet his ex-wife and find out some of what happened between them – and it wasn’t pretty.
Veronica and Stoker are summoned to the sickbed of Sir Hugo Montgomerie of the Special Branch. Sir Hugo wants them to look into the disappearance of Stoker’s former best friend, John de Morgan. De Morgan had been working as a photographer on the Tiverton expedition in Egypt. The expedition made an extraordinary find and de Morgan disappeared with one of the priceless artifacts. Veronica and Stoker have to take on the investigation because of Stoker’s past with de Morgan – and it won’t be long before the newspapers track down that past and bring Stoker’s name into scandal again. Stoker might even be blamed for the disappearance and/or death of de Morgan.
The mystery rocks on and I began to wonder if they would ever get the clue to solving the case, but when they get it, things just explode and it is non-stop action from there on out.
I know I have said, repeatedly, that I don’t care for Veronica, but I do absolutely love how she protects and defends Stoker. No matter what she hears about him or from whom she hears it – she absolutely never doubts Stoker. She will look out for him even to her own detriment. (BTW – the author has really toned down the “Hey look at me I’m unconventional” rantings that were in the first book and I’m so very glad). Their relationship isn’t all one-sided though. Stoker is the same way about her.
One thing I find very entertaining is the role reversal in this series. Veronica has had liaisons and is very free with admitting them, speaking about sex, etc. and isn’t the least bit embarrassed about it. Stoker, on the other hand, is almost prudish. Not that he hasn’t had liaisons, but it just isn’t something he speaks about with ladies and he embarrasses so easily. So, in this series – she is uninhibited and he is missish. They are two societal outcasts who are absolutely perfect for each other – can’t wait until they realize they love each other.
I definitely recommend this author, this book and this series.