Veronica Speedwell returns in a brand new adventure from Deanna Raybourn, the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey mysteries... London, 1887 . . Victorian adventuress and butterfly hunter Veronica Speedwell receives an invitation to visit the Curiosity Club, a ladies-only establishment for daring and intrepid women. There she meets the mysterious Lady Sundridge, who begs her to take on an impossible task saving society art patron Miles Ramsforth from execution. Accused of the brutal murder of his artist mistress Artemisia, Ramsforth will face the hangman's noose in a week s time if Veronica cannot find the real killer. But Lady Sundridge is not all that she seems and unmasking her true identity is only the first of the many secrets Veronica must uncover. Together with her natural historian colleague Stoker, Veronica races against time to find the true murderer a ruthless villain who not only took Artemisia s life in cold blood but is happy to see Ramsforth hang for the crime. From a Bohemian artists colony to a royal palace to a subterranean grotto with a decadent history, the investigation proves to be a very perilous undertaking indeed....
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published: January 10th 2017 by Berkley Books
Four stars: An exciting, Victorian mystery with plenty of twists and surprises that will keep you guessing up until the final shocking page.
Veronica and Stoker are disappointed when their trip aboard is suddenly cancelled due to the fact that their benefactor tripped over his giant tortoise. The pair will just have to entertain themselves with the massive collection they are restoring. Then Veronica gets a surprising invitation to an elite ladies' club. There she meets an unexpected person who asks her to take on an impossible task. Veronica must prove that Miles Ramsforth, a societal art patron, is not guilty of murdering his pregnant mistress, even though all evidence points to him. Veronica takes on the case to prove a point. Along with Stoker, Veronica sets out to find the truth behind the murder, but along the way she learns some big secrets. Will Stoker and Veronica catch a killer?
What I Liked:
- A Perilous Undertaking is a cracking good Victorian mystery with lots of scandalous secrets, suspects and motives. I loved that there were many possible culprits and plenty of red herrings that kept me guessing right up until the big reveal. I was surprised, and I was pleased that I didn't peg the killer. A fun mystery!
- I love the duo of Veronica and Stoker. They are not detectives, instead, Veronica is a scientist and a gifted lepidopterist (butterfly collector), while Stoker is a scientist and taxidermist among other things. When the two of them join forces, they are magic. I love the chemistry, the banter, the friendship and the strong sexual current underneath everything they do. They remind me of Mulder and Scully from the X Files.
- The romance,or lack thereof, is driving me crazy, but I like it. Veronica has an open mind when it comes to sex, which is refreshing for a lady in the uptight Victorian era. However, she refuses to take a lover in England. So despite the attraction, the hormones and the chemistry, the two are not lovers....yet. This is a relationship where you wait and wait for that moment, wondering when is it going to happen. There were so many times when I held my breath thinking this is it.....especially when the pair found themselves in a funny predicament in the morgue. I love that there is so much sexual tension. Will they get together in this one? I won't spoil it.... find out for yourselves.
- The mystery is entertaining. It follows the murder of a wealthy art connoisseur. Veronica and Stoker find themselves immersed in an art community where things are not so uptight shall we say.... The two uncover some rather scandalous things, certainly shocking for this period. There are plenty of suspects, lots of motives and many clues. I loved seeing it all come together. I found myself second guessing who the killer was numerous times, and I was ultimately wrong at the end. What a clever and fun mystery.
- I am not a big fan of the Victorian era normally because most of the time it is romanticized with all the fashion and ladies are expected to behave a certain way etc. What I love about this series is that Veronica is not a proper Victorian lady. She is and intelligent scientist, a free thinker and she is free with her ideas on sex. In fact, she is more open minded about sex than Stoker, and there were several times that she made him uncomfortable with her ideas. Funny stuff. I wish there were more women like Veronica.
- The author does an excellent job with the era. She excels with the details and her vernacular is pertinent to the time period.
- The ending is perfect. No loose ends or nagging questions. The mystery is all done up and everything is laid out. Loved it!
And The Not So Much:
- Even though I appreciated the author's attention to detail when it came to the time period, this is a book that I would recommend reading with an ereader. The author uses many terms and vocabulary words that are unfamiliar since they are relevant to that era. I found myself looking up words and terms with my ereader dictionary, sometimes the words used were rather confounding.
- It might have been me, but there was something about the pace of this one that didn't quite work for me. It started off interesting, but then somewhere around the midway point, I felt it began to drag. It finally picks up and the climax and finale are thrilling.
- Can I just say the sexual tension is driving me crazy????
A Perilous Undertaking is a fun and exciting Victorian mystery that I liked because it wasn't your typical period book. The main characters are eccentric, open minded and exciting. This one features a solid mystery with some thrilling twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the end. If you want an entertaining mystery set in the Victorian era, this is one to try.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.