Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Format: Kindle ARC
No. of Pages: 336
Date of Publication: March 7, 2023
My Rating: 4 Stars
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.
In this latest book in the Veronica Speedwellseries, Veronica is tasked with yet another murder to solve. Also, this story brings all three Templeton-Vane brothers back together. At the end of the seventh book, An Impossible Imposter, Veronica and Stoker, involved in a contentedly happy relationship, were forced to part ways. As this latest book opens, Veronica and Tiberius, Stoker’s brother, are traveling together in their business pursuits. Tiberius cryptically informs Veronica that Stoker’s presence is urgently needed.
Indeed, Stoker does soon appear, and all of them soon convene at the Templeton-Vane estate for a very special dinner party. The party takes place because Tiberius had received a message that was rather confusing, and also contained obituaries of two members of an old group of friends of his. This message suggested that Tiberius get his affairs in order before his life is lost as well. Between all of them, it is hope that they can identify the killer before any more lives are lost.
This intriguing book had an Agatha Christie vibe. The setting, a dinner party with limited guests, as well as the ongoing drama between Veronica, Stoker and Tiberius, as well as the mystery at hand, all worked together to present an intriguing read.
Many thanks to Berkley and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
A sixth-generation native Texan, New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn grew up in San Antonio where she met her college sweetheart. She married him on her graduation day and went on to teach high school English and history. During summer vacation at the age of twenty-three, she wrote her first novel, and after three years as a teacher, Deanna left education to have a baby and pursue writing full-time. Fourteen years and many, many rejections after her first novel, she signed two three-book deals with MIRA Books.
Deanna’s debut novel, Silent in the Grave, published in January 2007. The first in the Silent series, the book introduces Lady Julia Grey, an aristocrat bent on investigating the mysterious death of her husband with the help of the enigmatic private enquiry agent Nicholas Brisbane. From the drawing rooms of the aristocracy to a Gypsy camp on Hampstead Heath, Silent in the Grave deftly captures the lush ambience of Victorian London.
The series continues with the second book, Silent in the Sanctuary (January 2008), a classic English country house murder mystery with a few twists and turns for Brisbane and Lady Julia along the way. Silent on the Moor (March 2009), set in a grim manor house on the Yorkshire moors, is the third adventure for Lady Julia and the mysterious Brisbane.
March 2010 saw a departure from the series with the release of The Dead Travel Fast, a mid-Victorian Gothic thriller that features novelist Theodora Lestrange as she leaves the safety and security of her Edinburgh home for the dark woods and haunted castles of Transylvania. Deanna turns once more to Lady Julia and her companions with Dark Road to Darjeeling (October 2010) which features an exotic setting in the foothills of the Himalayas and the introduction of an arch-villain. The fifth book in the series, The Dark Enquiry, follows the return of Lady Julia and Brisbane to London for their most puzzling adventure yet. The Dark Enquiry hit the New York Times Bestseller list the week before its official release in July 2011. The digital exclusive novella Silent Night, published in November 2012, is a bright Christmas adventure set in Julia’s ancestral home in the Sussex countryside.
Deanna’s next release, A Spear of Summer Grass (May 2013), chronicles the adventures of a scandalous flapper heroine in Africa and the lives she changes along the way. It is listed as one of Goodreads’ most highly anticipated books of 2013 and was preceded by Far in the Wilds, an exclusive digital prequel novella (March 2013). A Spear of Summer Grass received a starred review from Library Journal. Deanna carried on the theme of 1920s adventure with City of Jasmine (2014) and Night of a Thousand Stars (2014), but is delighted to return to Victorian London with the September 2015 hardcover release of A Curious Beginning, the first mystery featuring butterfly-hunting sleuth, Veronica Speedwell and her natural historian sidekick, Stoker. Veronica returned in 2017’s A Perilous Undertaking, and A Treacherous Curse, 2018. A Dangerous Collaboration was released in 2019, and book five, A Murderous Relation, is a March 2020 release.
Deanna’s novel Silent in the Grave won the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best First Mystery. The Lady Julia Grey series has been nominated for several other awards, including an Agatha, a Last Laugh, and two Dilys Winns. Dark Road to Darjeeling was also a finalist for the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Historical Mystery as well as a Romantic Reviews’ finalist for Best Book of 2010. A Treacherous Curse, the third Veronica Speedwell Mystery, was nominated for the 2019 Edgar Award for Best Novel.