Another Victorian murder mystery rife with witty banter, palpable sexual tension, and painfully tender interludes. This is the third book in the Veronica Speedwell Mystery series by Deanna Raybourn. If you have read the other two books, you need no encouragement. If you haven’t, read them NOW. They are completely addicting. If you need further encouragement, this is the FIRST sentence of A Treacherous Curse:
“I assure you, I am perfectly capable of identifying a phallus when I see one,” Stoker informed me, clipping the words sharply. “And that is no such thing.”
Yes. The entire book is like that and it’s AWESOME.
In the first book of the series, A Curious Beginning, Veronica Speedwell, a renowned lepidopterist, meets the Honourable Revelstoke Templeton-Vane, also known as Stoker, when she is unceremoniously deposited at his residence after someone attempts to abduct her. Charged with her protection, the reluctant Stoker, an adventurer and taxidermist of dubious reputation, quickly finds himself involved in assorted mysterious shenanigans with Veronica.
In this installment, said shenanigans are a cursed archaeological dig, a missing/ stolen ancient diadem, and a missing/murdered man from Stoker’s past. Unraveling this one, puts Stoker in the hot seat. Various bits of his back story are fleshed out here adding even more depth to his character. Veronica is still dealing with the discovery of the identity of her father. Both are reluctant to share their burdens which often gets in the way of solving the mystery. They are flanked by a colorful array of supporting characters: a sullen 19th century Daria, a sullen 19th century man boy, various moneyed folk dabbling in Egyptology, and a handful of extremely interesting dogs.
Obviously pained by the need to confront his past in order to solve the mystery, Stoker struggles to gain perspective. Veronica doesn’t always approach his issues with sensitivity but their fierce loyalty to one another never wavers. Their obvious attraction to one another is super steamy and the “will they, won’t they” becomes even more of a “they will, but when” in this third book. Somehow Raybourn keeps us on the edge without it getting too frustrating. Yet.