A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

A Perilous Undertaking

Deanna Raybourn

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....

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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....


Advance Galley Reviews

Overall, I enjoyed both this book and the first book in the series. There are some elements of romance between the unique and intriguing main characters, an interesting mystery to solve, and some very promising supporting characters. Some of predicaments experienced were humorous, and the tidbits about Victorian life were interesting as well. Veronica has some personality traits that I found very unlikely and annoying, yet somehow I liked her anyway. She is too liberated to be believable for a Victorian-era woman. The author repeatedly mentions her vow to never sleep with an Englishman; this seems like an arbitrary and tedious way to delay a relationship between the two protagonists, and is indicative of an immaturity in relationship matters that doesn't quite ring true for the character of Veronica. It seems almost like a plot device to keep readers interested through another story. It worked for me. I'd read the next book in the series because I have become invested in the relationship between Veronica and Stoker, but I like to think I'd feel the same if their relationship progressed at a more natural pace. I received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from the Penguin First to Read program.

This second installment in the Veronica Speedwell and Stoker series was just as entertaining as the first. I enjoy these because the writing is fun, the dialogue is spirited and the story moves just as quickly. Placing a free-thinking, free-speaking woman at the center is just brilliant. Having Lady Wellington join the cast of characters just fit in perfectly. The mix of fact and fiction is blended so seamlessly that one forgets that this is a made up tale.

The second installment in the Veronica Speedwell mystery series is just as engaging and fun as the first! I loved every minute of this humorous, fast-paced and thrilling mystery. "A Perilous Undertaking" is sure to appeal to fans of Victorian era mysteries that prefer a spunky and modern female protagonist. I hope that Deanna Raybourn writes many more installments in what is quickly becoming one of my must read series!

A Perilous Undertaking is the second book in what I hope is a long series of the adventures of Veronica Speedwell and her colleague Stoker. This book can be read as a stand alone adventure, however, it does use plot resolutions from the first book, A Curious Beginning. Veronica and Stoker are cataloging a collection of natural history specimens and ephemera when Veronica is asked to take on a murder investigation. The convicted murderer - who some believe is innocent - is scheduled to hang in a week unless they find evidence to exonerate him. The first part of the book moves at an even pace, setting up the circumstances of Veronica and Stoker as well as providing an opportunity to become familiar with some of the many marvelous characters that fill this mystery. Once Victoria and Stoker begin the investigation, it becomes difficult not to read one more chapter before putting the book down for the evening. If you enjoy historical fiction, the fascination with art, travel and natural history in the Victorian period, and a well written mystery, you will love A Perilous Undertaking. My thanks to Penguin Random House First to Read and the author, Deanna Raybourn, for the opportunity to stay up too late reading.

I do love Victorian murder mysteries with feminine heroines and that is what we have here. Veronica Speedwell and her sidekick, Stoker, are tasked by Lady Sundridge to uncover the real murderer of Artemisia, the mistress of an art patron. The man currently being held for the crime, the art patron, is not guilty in the opinion of Sundridge. It is a race against time to prove his innocence. Delicious! My thanks to the author and the Penguin First to Read program for a complimentary copy.

If you like daring, smart rebels, then Veronica Speedwell is for you. Set in London, 1887, a female butterfly hunter and adventurer like Speedwell is pretty out of place. That's why she's excited to visit the Curiosity Club, a place for women like her. There she finds a woman hiding her identity, who wants her to save an innocent man from hanging for murder. The rest of society seems convinced he killed his pregnant mistress, but it becomes clear there are plenty of secrets to be uncovered. Working with Stoker again, they will have to find the truth before it's too late--and the hunt will take them to some strange and dangerous places. Speedwell is at times hung up on how unconventional she is, but she's overall an interesting character--wounded by her past, perfectly happy to flirt with a handsome man, brave in the face of danger, good with a knife, a mix of sentimental and ruthless. The friendship between her and Stoker develops more (they didn't meet under the best of circumstances) and we're given bits of both their histories--and learn they have more in common than it seemed. The investigation is interrupted with dashes of intrigue, humor, and personal revelations, all the while building to a conclusion you might see coming. The murder is only part of the mystery, and there are other issues raised within the story, leaving me curious what is next for these characters.

A good book with interesting characters, a great plot line and some most exciting incidents. Veronica and Stoker are really the highlight of the series. Recommended to all ...

Raybourn's books usually sweep me right in but it honestly took me a few false starts and a couple of chapters to really get into this one. Once I did though, I was glued to it through the end. I think Veronica and Stoker are really the highlight of the series. Their personalities and the dynamics between the two are just priceless. The adventures they get embroiled in solving this mystery, like traveling to an opium den and a sex club grotto were most entertaining. It reminded me a little bit of Sherlock Holmes' escapades which I always enjoy. I look forward to seeing what those two get into next. (4/5 stars)

A Perilous Undertaking is wonderfully written and all of the quirky characters had me hooked. I didn't realize that this book was the second book in the Veronica Speedwell series until I was halfway through the book. Even though I didn't know what happened in the first book or the backstories of any of the characters, I was able to completely comprehend A Perilous Undertaking. Veronica is an independent female detective who is filled to the brim with spunk and sass. The dialogue is full of witty banter between Veronica and Stoker, her friend/assistant/partner-in-crime-and-sleuthing. Ms. Raybourn's writing is captivating, and her cast of characters are comical. The book had some sexual humor in it, but that was mostly a result of the circumstances of the crime. Also, There was one point in the book where multiple characters were introduced at once, and I got two of them mixed up. Because of that, I was a bit confused for the next few chapters until I clarified who was who. I would like to thank First To Read for letting me read this ARC for an honest and fair review. (4/5 Stars)

Interesting and fun story. Even though I really like the heroine in the story, Veronica Speedwell, I do have to question how accurate the reception is to such a strong, independent woman in Victorian England. Setting aside the time period, the mystery is good and the characters are well drawn. I have not read the first in this series and this 2nd installment held my interest enough that I do want to go back and read the A Curious Beginning.

This was a well written and fun book for the second in this series. It was great to get to know Veronica better and Stoker. The mystery part was fantastic in this story. This story is fun to see if Veronica and Stoker are going to get together or just remain friends. There are a few twists and turns within the mystery. I am looking forward to many more installments in this series. I received an ebook copy from firsttoread for a fair and honest opinion.

This novel is the second in the series, and without reading the first novel, I was surprised you could read it as a stand alone. The author gives you enough information about Veronica and her friend Stoker, that you are able to follow and enjoy the story. I will go back and read the first one, since I do like to know the complete back story to all the characters in a series. The characters were very witty and entertaining. Will recommend to my friends.

I enjoyed this book but I didn't think it quite lived up to the first book in the series. I had a really hard time getting into the book at first but once the story got moving, I found myself really enjoying it. I think that the characters in this series are amazing and this book lets us get to know them just a little better than before. Overall, this was a very enjoyable read. Veronica Speedwell is such a fun character. She is extremely intelligent and not afraid to live by her own rules instead of bending to society's dictates. She is called upon by a member of royalty to look into the murder of an artist. The man that has been accused is scheduled to hang very soon even though some believe he is innocent. Veronica enlists the help of her friend, Stoker, to help her discover the truth about the death. I really enjoyed the fact that Veronica and Stoker are not the average pair of detectives. Veronica is an expert on butterflies and Stoker is a remarkable taxidermist. They are both intelligent and inquisitve and well suited to solving the puzzle of the murder. They have wonderful chemistry together and truly make a great pair. This isn't a romance although they both seem to have feelings for the other that they seem to be supressing. This was a smart book with a really complicated puzzle to be solved. It is nice how the reader gets to be with Veronica and Stoker at every step during the process to solve the murder. I loved the way that there were quite a few funny moments to keep the book nicely balanced. Veronica and Stoker both have complicated backgrounds which added some depth to their characters and gave me something to think about and helped explain some of their motivations. I would recommend this book to others. It is the second book in the Veronica Speedwell series but I do think it would work as a stand alone. I look forward to future books featuring Veronica and Stoker! I received an advance reader edition of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via First to Read.

This series is so much fun. I enjoy the main characters, and the mysteries are interesting, and have kept me guessing. I'm looking forward to the next Veronica Speedwell mystery.

I really enjoyed this female detective story! I wish I had read the first one so that I had more background information about the characters, but Veronica and her "sidekick" Stoker are quite an intriguing pair. There is much wit and humor written into the story. The twists and turn really kept me guessing. I can't wait to read more about Veronica Speedwell.

A Perilous Undertaking is the second Veronica Speedwell mystery by Deanna Raybourn but my first introduction to the character. Other than the phallic humor which is a bit much, the characters of Veronica and Stoker are delightful and the story entertaining. Although the second in the series, the story of this lepidopterist turned detective with connections to the royal family can stand alone. Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2016/12/a-perilous-undertaking.html. Reviewed for the Penguin First to Read program.

I enjoyed this book. And I too had not read the first book of the series but the author provided enough info to catch on to the characters and their past. Will admit, I love historical fiction but found this book's focus on the sexual activities of the characters far more than I have ever read.

I really enjoyed this book! I never read the first book as this was the first time i heard of the series. However, i was still able to follow through with this book. It is a very interesting historical mystery and I will definitely be picking up the first book of the series.

Veronica and Stoker are back and living a life of tranquility compared to what they were used to. At the request of royalty, they are asked to look into a murder accusation. They have a weeks time to prove he is innocent or he hangs. As most people they speak to seem to be convinced that he is guilty, it proves to be a daunting task. Once again we see the dynamic between Veronica and Stoker and how they contrast, yet completely complement each other. Their relationship and friendship makes them a force to be reckoned with. The sassiness and intellectual dialogue written is humorous and engaging. I will forever giggle and think of "sit upon parts" ?? I am absolutely invested in these characters and can't wait to see what new adventures await them and how their relationship grows.

I'm really enjoying this series! I liked the first book a lot. Veronica Speedwell is a confident, independent woman and I love her! I love the sass between her and Stoker, the tension. I really like the mystery in this book, a little dark, a bit scandalous. I enjoyed learning a lot more about Stoker's family history and even Veronica's family history! This was a great addition to the series! I hope to start the Lady Julia Grey series soon!

I enjoyed this second installment of the Veronica Speedwell historical mystery series. In it, Veronica is called to help a man accused of murdering his mistress by finding who actually committed the crime. The mystery was interesting, but the main draw of this series is the well-drawn characters. Veronica is independent, intelligent, outspoken, and interested in science making her stand out from many women characters set in this time period. She refuses to live by society's conventions when it comes to women. I felt like Stoker was a little underused in this book, but the romantic tension between Veronica and him did make a little headway by the end of the book. The only small problem I had with the book, was that it dragged in a few place, but it didn't detract much from my enjoyment. I would definitely recommend this for fans of historical mysteries or for anyone who loves books featuring strong heroines.

4/5 A Perilous Undertaking contains everything I loved about A Curious Beginning and more. Veronica and Stoker again find themselves on the trail of a murderer, and as they try to untangle the mystery, they stumble into some dangerous - and hilarious - situations. The perfect blend of excitement, humor, and romantic tension, A Perilous Undertaking is an extremely fun read! The major highlight of this story is Veronica and Stoker. Their banter and relationship development are what kept me glued to the page. While they still have plenty of buried secrets, we do learn more about both of their pasts. I loved watching their friendship become more solid - true partners in crime - even as the possibility of something more hovers in the background. This is the kind of slow burn romance that makes you want to savor every page. My only quibble with this book is the plot. Fairly early on, I did guess the culprit, who confesses everything just when they have the heroes in their clutches. (This narrative device needs to die, in my opinion.) There is also a bizarre amount of sexual humor in this installment, in part due to the nature of the mystery. Although it cracked me up, it was a bit surprising and weird for this kind of book. Despite these complaints, I still found A Perilous Undertaking immensely entertaining. In short, if you enjoyed A Curious Beginning, then A Perilous Undertaking won’t disappoint. This novel made me fall in love with Veronica and Stoker all over again. I can’t wait for their next adventure together!

This is a fun historical memory - the language is pleasingly appropriate to theme without dropping character, the people are realistic if a bit silly and overall I enjoyed the plot line and mystery. It's one of those mysteries that slowly fills in the pieces so you feel like you are discovering along with the heroes rather than explaining it all at the end with information you couldn't otherwise find which I loved. The slow burn romance between the main two characters is, to me, significantly less interesting than all of their other work. They both have other interests and they're mixed into the story in interesting ways rather than being a distraction.

This is a fun and original historical fiction novel. I loved the quirky characters, and the period detail is nicely done. I ESCPECIALLY loved Lady Wellie. Everyone has that relative that has reached an age where they feel entitled to speak there mind as and when they please - and hand out advice freely. I read this without having read the first book, A Curious Beginning, but I did not feel lost. I think the author filled in enough of the detail to bring new readers up to speed, without boring those who had read the first book. The author does give away the ultimate end of the first book, but I still think it would be a fun read.

I enjoyed this one as much as the first. Veronica and Stoker are lively characters and it is fun to watch them interact with all different types of society. I still find the old English difficult at times, but this time around I am looking up the words to better my vocabulary for the next book. I am glad it stuck true (as far as I could time) to the time period. The mystery is intriguing enough to keep your attention and desire to know who is responsible. The backstories for Veronica and Stoker did not really progress that much. I think we found out the most about Stoker and his family. I would have liked a littler more for Veronica, but I know it won't be until the very end when she'll have the best chance to meet her father. Thanks for the read!

I read first 50 pages but couldn't go longer. The style is too stuffy and too artificial for Victorian set-up. This read is for less picky in authenticity department...

A Perilous Undertaking is one of the best books I have read recently. I loved everything about it: the cover, the characters, the setting, and the plot. Veronica Speedwell and Stoker Templeton Vane make the perfect pair, sleuthing and otherwise, and are truly entertaining; they are both forward thinking, eccentric, unusual, and highly intelligent. I have not read the first in the series, but I had no trouble leaping right into this installment. Veronica Speedwell, a Victorian-era lepidopterist (an expert on butterflies), is summoned to the Curiosity Club, an all-female club for intelligent and inquiring women. She is introduced to Lady Sundridge who engages Veronica to solve the murder of a local artist, Artemisia. Artemisia was the mistress of Miles Ramsforth, who has been accused and tried for her murder and will hang in seven days. Lady Sundridge wants Ramsforth freed and the true murdered brought to justice. Speedwell and Stoker take the case which leads them down some very winding paths including a grotto with an interesting past. Even though I predicted the murderer long before the mystery was solved, I truly enjoyed both the mystery and the resolution. A Perilous Undertaking is such a fun read. Raybourn vividly and wittily creates each and every character. I enjoyed immensely spending time with them all and cannot wait for the next installment. She also depicts the setting so descriptively that I felt like I was in 1870’s England. That always add to my enjoyment of a book. I loved A Perilous Undertaking and highly recommend it. Thanks to First to Read for the chance to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I haven't read the first book in the series yet, but there were no problems picking up book two and following the action. I liked the characters of Veronica and Stoker, and thought they were well-developed and had plenty of complexity. Having our main characters be Victorian naturalists with the detective work being a bit of a side job was unique. I liked the time period and the vivid imagery - whether it be of butterflies, opium dens, the perils of badly done taxidermy, or secret sex clubs. There was plenty of humor, especially revolving around the display items in the sex club. My usual detective novel fare is far more gritty and dark than "A Perilous Undertaking", so that was a nice change. The female characters were strong and capable, and definitely not the "fainting Victorian lady" type. And then there is Stoker, who has pretty much every feature a woman might want in her romantic fantasies. Overall, I enjoyed the book, and while it could be silly at times, that was exactly the kind of book I needed to read! So I will recommend it to everybody who wants a fun escapist detective story.

I liked this second book in the series more than the first. Most of the aspects of book one that annoyed me were not present here and I really loved the friendship and relationship that has developed between Veronica and TV. This book however found a whole new way to irritate me. Mainly by trying to present Veronica as worldly and sexually explorative, experienced even, while also trying to make her some appear as an ingénue. It was mostly used to play off TV's discomfort for comedic effect. Except it really didn't work. Plus, so very many of the women in the book make constant off color remarks and the whole plot revolved around Bohemian relations that I felt sex as a whole was made into a joke. It grated on my nerves like the cheap, easy jab it was. Low hanging fruit rarely feels worth the effort. For all that, I did enjoy the story, the mystery and the characters pithy back and forwards wit. I'd be glad to read the next in the series.

This was a very entertaining read. I enjoyed the banter and relationship of the two main characters, Veronica and Stoker, which is the highlight of this book. The mystery itself was intriguing, with many suspects that make it difficult to guess who the villain is. I am very excited to see where we find Veronica and Stoker in the next book. I highly recommend that you read this book, and the first one as well.

I love the characters banter, especially Veronica and Stoker. This book is fun to read and made me laugh out loud quite often. The characters have so much personality, which I have to say is my favorite part of the book. The mystery in the book, about the murder of the artist, is interesting and I wasn't expecting the ending. I can't wait to read the next book of the series.

A Perilous Undertaking is the second book in the Veronica Speedwell series by Deanna Raybourn. Set in 1887 London, Veronica is tasked by an acquaintance to prove that a man, Miles Ramsforth, is innocent of the murder of his pregnant mistress. Veronica and her friend Stoker, decide to take the case and set about trying to learn all they can about the incident. I am not a big reader of historical mysteries, but I have read a few. This one is unlike any I have read before. The mystery takes Veronica and Stoker to a Bohemian artist's colony, where all the propriety I associate with the 1880's goes out the window. The people there live a very hedonistic lifestyle. Veronica and Stoker also go to a sex club in an underground grotto. The descriptions, although not x-rated, are still pretty risqué. Truthfully, the amount of sexual references surprised me, mainly since it is not what I expect from this time period. Stoker and Veronica have a nice rapport and it is fun to read their interactions. There is a good amount of sexual tension brewing between them, but their relationship remains platonic. Perhaps it will be explored in another installment of this series. This is a fun and entertaining read. I enjoyed the mystery aspect of the book. There are many colorful characters and many suspects. I thought a little too much was made of how "forthright" and "outspoken" Veronica is. I get that she is unusual for the time period, but it seems she is constantly trying to shock and surprise others with her demeanor. I did not read the first book in the series. I don't think it is necessary for the enjoyment of this one. This is a stand alone mystery that doesn't rely on previous experiences by the characters. The main benefit to reading the first book first would be for the backstory on Stoker and Veronica and how they met. I give this 4 out of 5 stars. I received a free ARC through the First to Read program from Penguin Books.

Loved it! I soon realized this was the second book in a series and I had already read the 1st one. Veronica and Stoker are characters that you want to meet up with over and over again. Cannot wait for the next book in this series. I don't want to give too much detail, since that would ruin the mystery and fun of figuring out who did it before the culprit is revealed. If you are looking for a historical thriller, this is the book you must read. If you have not read the first one, it does not matter, you will enjoy this one.

4 stars. Veronica Speedwell is back in this second installment to solve a mystery, outsmart the bad guys and catch some butterflies. Set during Victorian England, Veronica abhors most social niceties and lives by her own rules. Fortunately, she has found a wealthy benefactor and a cantankerous, yet handsome, partner to help her along. The mystery in this one almost takes a backburner to Veronica and Stoker's relationship and to Veronica herself. At times, her personality is taken a bit far and seems almost cartoonish but she and her side characters are extremely likable and there is definitely enough backstory to take the series farther.

I had been waiting impatiently for the next Veronica Speedwell novel and I was not disappointed. Not wanting to give away any of the storyline I'll just say that Ms. Raybourne knows how to create characters that are so well drawn that they become real to the reader and it's difficult to say goodbye at the end of the book. Even the minor players in the story come to life. The settings, the intrigue, the tension, sexual and otherwise, all work together and become a book that I didn't want to end. My only regret is how long we must wait for the next adventure. I think that I'll go back and re-read the first book..you can never have too much "Stoker".

I received an advance reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review via first to read. I found it to be a quirky and fun to read who done it mystery. The heroine was a fun and for the times very modern minded woman. Altogether it was entertaining.

I received a free advanced copy of Deanna Raybourn’s “A Perilous Undertaking” from First to Read. I had never read Deanna Raybourn’s work and I realized this was the second book in a new series. I am usually picky about series, I like to read them in order, at least the first time. I thought of buying the first book “A Curious Beginning” when I saw an advanced review that stated the story supported itself as a standalone book. I immediately delved into the story and was caught up right away. Veronica and Stoker are great characters and they are skillfully portrayed. The dialog is intelligent and engaging. The mystery was fine, along the lines of a "cozy mystery" but appealing for all that. I enjoy "cozy mysteries". I really loved the story and will be buying A Curious Beginning as well as her other books.

Veronica Speedwell is lured from her butterfly hunting when a Royal Princess asks her to look into the case of a friend who has been convicted of murder and is soon to hang. Reputations, even Royal ones, are on the line and the real murderer needs to be found soon. It doesn't take long before Veronica and her friend Stoker are deep into their investigations. Their suspects come from the arty, Bohemian crowd and give us a glimpse into that group. The setting and time period are well-described and the attitudes and morals of the day play nicely into the mystery. Veronica is a free spirit who doesn't subscribe to the morals of the day. She is a scientist which informs her thinking. She has taken lovers when abroad but won't consider it while she is in England. She has no interest in marriage. She is also the unacknowledged daughter of the Prince of Wales which is a secret that worries the Royal family more than it worries her. She wavers between wanting to meet her father and knowing that she can not. She would prefer not to interact with them but this case involves them. Stoker is the black sheep of his family and, in this episode, we find out why. Stoker is also a scientist and adventurer. He's a doctor who served in the Royal Navy and looks like a pirate. He and Veronica have a strong friendship and I get the feeling that he would like more. This was an entertaining mystery. I look forward to reading more of Veronica and Stoker's adventures.

I love Deanna Raybourn’s writing style and this book is everything you would expect from her. It is written with her signature wit, humor, and in my opinion is even better than A Curious Beginning (the first book in the series). With a plucky and clever heroine, a brooding pirate-like hero, and an intriguing mystery we get a story that is very difficult to put down. I cannot get enough of Deanna’s writing and I hope we don’t have to wait too long for Veronica’s and Stoker’s next adventure.

Follow Stoker and Veronica as they struggle to prove the innocence, or guilt of Milo Ramsworth. Ramsworth is scheduled to be hung in one week, accused of the murdering his pregnant mistress. And the people who know the truth aren't talking. A fun and well-written frolic through the underground antics London's elite and artistic.

First-rate witty historical romance mystery As A Perilous Undertaking opens, it is 1887 and Veronica Speedwell and her colleague in natural history endeavors and crime-solving, Stoker, are engaging in a little knife-throwing target practice and amiable barbed repartee while they take a break from their duties creating a museum from the natural history collection of their benefactor, Lord Rosemorran . Life never stays peaceful very long for Veronica and Stoker, however, and the publisher’s description gives an excellent summary of the events that follow. The plot of A Perilous Undertaking is appropriately exciting and slightly over-the-top, narrated by Veronica herself. The style conveys the formality of the Victorian era, but the tone has a wit and lightness that doesn’t take itself completely seriously. I loved exchanges like this between Veronica and art patron Frederick Havelock: “I presume you know who I am?”….”I do. You are my host .”….”Child, never call me such! Makes me sound like a sacrament.” The protagonists are thoroughly unorthodox. Veronica is a very modern woman raised in a more straight-laced time, bursting with the urge for knowledge, adventures, and, “experience” of all sorts. Victoria is not romantic; she is joyfully libidinous, and, although her personal rule is to restrict her amorous dalliances to foreign lands and foreign men, this rule does not stop her from admiring the charms of her fellow English countrymen in fairly explicit terms. Except for one memorable encounter with a Galapagos tortoise named Patricia, Veronica does not engage in a lot of natural history activity in this book, but she compensates by peppering her narration with frequent references to pertinent species of lepidoptera. “Stoker” Templeton-Vane , the ear-ringed, tattooed, scarred rebel from an aristocratic family, is a fitting companion to Veronica. Veronica finds it “entertaining that such a hardened man of the world could have gained so much experience as a scientist, explorer, natural historian, naval surgeon, and taxidermist and still let himself be nettled by a woman half his size.“ In A Perilous Undertaking we learn a lot about Stoker’s complicated family relationships and emotions when his father dies, and the relationship between Veronica and Stoker gets more complex. There are colorful idiosyncratic cameo characters from the nobility and from a bohemian artists’ colony. The writing is a delight without even considering the plot, but don’t worry, it moves along at a satisfying clip, with equally satisfying action scenes, appropriate but tasteful blood and gore, and a credible resolution that reveals all and saves the wrongly convicted man. The whole package adds up to first-rate entertainment. Readers of the first Veronica Speedwell book will need no encouragement to read this book. For readers new to the series, though, much as I recommend A Perilous Undertaking, I even more strongly recommend that you get your introduction to Veronica and Stoker through A Curious Beginning to avoid spoiling the surprises revealed in that first book. NOTE: I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book in exchange for an objective review. (I have posted this on Goodreads and will post on Amazon when the book is published.)

Fast-paced and highly entertaining. I enjoyed the banter between the main characters and how their relationship is developing. I haven't read the previous book in this series, and while there were references to prior adventures, this book is well able to stand on its own. It also didn't spoil the mystery from the first book for when I pick it up to read. The mystery in this book I thought was well executed. There was enough going on with various characters and conspiracies to keep the story unpredictable without being too overwhelming. I look forward to reading more by this author.

Veronica Speedwell and Stoker are cooling their heels at the Marylebone estate of their patron, Lord Rosemorran. They have had to delay their plans for an expedition to Fiji where Veronica was to collect butterflies, and Stoker, mammal specimens for taxidermy. The delay came when Rosemorran, an inveterate collector of everything fell over his giant tortoise, Patricia, and broke his leg. Sadly, they will have to do what they were originally hired for, catalog the vast Rosemorran collection rather than set off on adventures. The arrival of an elderly aunt, ostensibly to look after the estate during Rosemorran's recuperation, sets the two on a new set of perilous adventures. Lady "Wellie", though, is not all that she seems to be and not entirely to be trusted. A very highly placed Royal Family member, Princess Louise, in fact, wants them to investigate a recent scandalous murder. The man convicted and scheduled to hang is a dear friend of Princess Louise and she is certain that he is not guilty, even though he has refused to present an alibi. The investigation takes them into the art world, opium dens and wannabe "hellfire clubs". It is scandalous stuff, indeed, and very dangerous for Veronica and Stoker. It also draws them even closer into the lives of the Royal Family, something that Veronica, in particular, wants to avoid. I am a huge fan of Deanna Raybourn's Lady Jane series, and now, of the Veronica Speedwell series. They are witty and charming, with just enough slowly simmering romance. I am convinced that Stoker and Veronica are made for each other, if only because no one else could put up with them. Both are stubborn, arrogant and intelligent, and sure of how they plan to live their lives. It's extremely entertaining to see all their plans being upended. Highly recommended!

loved the characters and their personalities in this book! Especially the two main characters. I wasn't as much of a fan of the plot - the mystery and plot was good but not great.

 


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