Starting a new historical mystery series is always fun, but summarizing one at book 7 creates a certain conundrum: how to convey the essence of a character and her development without giving away too much information?
Since her first adventure in 1887 (A Curious Beginning, published in 2015), Veronica Speedwell, a lepidopterist by inclination and training, has had an exciting two years. Early in that book, she leaves a family funeral only to encounter a housebreaker and would-be abductor. She evades the villain with help from an unknown rescuer who promises to reveal a decades-old secret but dies before he can fulfill his promise. Veronica is nothing if not intrepid, and she flees London in the company of the unkempt and misanthropic Stoker. Together they attempt to discover who perpetrated the murder and why without falling under suspicion themselves.
By 1889, Veronica and Stoker have tackled more than a few complicated cases. In An Impossible Impostor (Berkley Books, 2022), the head of Scotland Yard’s Special Branch asks them for help. Jonathan Hathaway supposedly died during the eruption of Krakatoa six years before, but he has returned from the grave—or has he? His putative grandmother identifies him, but other family members disagree. And the family owns a priceless parure that may be the newcomer’s real target. So off Veronica and Stoker go to Hathaway Hall, a gentry estate on the Devon Moors. There another piece of Veronica’s personal history surfaces when least expected, threatening her partnership with Stoker as well as her peace of mind.
Deanna Raybourn has a gift for writing fast-moving, richly imagined, intriguing, and at times flat-out hilarious mysteries filled with well-rounded and opinionated characters at all levels. I can’t wait to find out where she will send Victoria and Stoker next.
Deanna Raybourn is the bestselling author of two Victorian mystery series featuring Lady Julia Grey and Veronica Speedwell, as well as several stand-alone works.
C. P. Lesley is the author of two historical fiction series set during the childhood of Ivan the Terrible and three other novels. Her latest novel, Song of the Sinner, appeared in January 2022.