Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5
Series: Veronica Speedwell #8
Publication Date: 3/7/23
Period: Victorian England
Number of Pages: 336
After reading the previous book in this series I was in a quandary about whether I wished to continue reading the series or not. Throughout the series, I have actively disliked Veronica – probably because the author has made her so ‘woke’ that she is rabid in her thoughts, beliefs, and relationships. There is a point where ‘It is all about me’, becomes just downright dislikable and that is where I was with Veronica. Then, with the hurt she delivered to Stoker in the last book, I was about done with Veronica, but I wanted to see how the author was going to manage to leave Veronica as dislikable as she was and still mend the relationship with Stoker. Therefore, I picked up a copy of this book. Let us just say I was pleased with some of the personal epiphanies Veronica had and the seeming character growth for her. I say seeming because that remains to be seen in future books. No, I didn’t come to like Veronica, but I was pleased to see her growing (seemingly anyway) into a multi-dimensional human where she seemed to realize she wasn’t perfect and actually had flaws.
Viscount Tiberius Templeton-Vane (Stoker’s brother) has received a death threat and he has deduced that two (maybe three) previous murders are connected. Tiberius knew he needed the help of Stoker and Veronica, so he and Veronica tracked Stoker to a remote area in Bavaria. Stoker agreed to return to England and help his brother, but he offered no olive branches to Veronica (YAY! Stoker). He was civil to her, but no matter what overtures she made, he very politely rebuffed them.
Tiberius was once part of a group of friends known as the Sinful Seven – not that they were particularly sinful. Twenty years previous one of those seven died when he fell off an unstable cliff during a house party at Tiberius’s home. As magistrate for the area, Tiberius’s father declared the fall accidental and they all went on with their lives. Only, now, they wonder if perhaps it was murder rather than an accident – and the person threatening Tiberius is now seeking revenge for the death.
Tiberius’s solution is to hold a house party with the same attendees as the house party of twenty years ago. Surely the original murderer is among those attendees – and possibly the current murderer as well. Can they catch not one, but two killers? Everyone is so likable, how could any of them have committed murder? There are plenty of red herrings and clues dropped to let you follow the breadcrumbs. Will you be surprised? Perhaps – perhaps not.
I definitely enjoyed this book more than the last one, so I will recommend it. I did think it was a bit draggy in parts and the narrative was (as always) a bit ponderous and formal. For me, the best part of the story centered around Veronica’s personal epiphanies and her character growth rather than the mystery itself. I will read the next book to see if the growth continues. I hope you will enjoy the story should you choose to read it.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.