Sunday, January 21, 2018

A Cursed Expedition, a Missing Diadem and Mayhem

Veronica Speedwell # 3
Deanna Raybourn
Berkeley Books
January 16, 1918

It's 1888 London, and Veronica Speedwell and her piratical-looking colleague, Revelstoke Templeton-Vane (Stoker) are still working on cataloging the vast collection of Lord Rosemorran. All London is talking about the upcoming exhibition of Lord Tiverton's latest Egyptological dig. After years of fruitless expeditions, Lord Tiverton has finally struck gold with the discovery of the tomb of an obscure Princess. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a diadem of precious metals. However, the dig's photographer, John de Morgan, and the diadem have gone missing under strange circumstances. De Morgan's wife is prostrate and in seclusion. Veronica and Stoker become involved because the photographer was the "friend" who left Stoker for dead in the Brazilian jungle, and his wife, Stoker's ex-wife. The ex-wife who returned to England and destroyed Stoker's reputation with lurid tales of his cruelty to get a divorce. Stoker will be the logical suspect if John de Morgan is not just missing but dead. After years of rebuilding his reputation, Stoker and Veronica are not about to let that happen.

I have been a fan of Deanna Raybourn's work since the first lines of her first novel, Silent in the Grave:" To say that I first met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband's dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor." Now, that is an attention-grabbing beginning. When the adventures of Lady Julia Gray came to an end, I was eager to see what would happen next. She has followed it up with the adventurous, unconventional, intrepid lady lepidopterist, Veronica Speedwell, who also has a fascinating family history; and the irascible, mysterious natural scientist, Stoker. Their two previous adventures, A Curious Beginning, and A Perilous Undertaking introduced two even more fabulous characters. A Treacherous Curse is a delight from beginning to end and moves the somewhat glacial progress of the romance between this perfectly matched pair satisfactorily. Who knew that Stoker was a closet romantic?

Many thanks to Berkely Books and NetGalley for an advance digital copy. The opinions are my own.

RATING- 5 Stars

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