Book Review: ‘A Perilous Undertaking’ by Deanna Raybourn

On September 19, the newest Veronica Speedwell mystery was released in paperback and I just recently got around to reading it. It’s the second in a series that I love and while I think I enjoyed the first novel better than A Perilous Undertaking it was still a lot of fun with twists and turns that you don’t see coming.

Veronica once again teams up with her attractive natural-historian pal Stoker to solve a mystery. This time, her estranged aunt has hired her to solve a murder blamed on art patron Miles Ramsforth, who is due to hang in a week’s time. His mistress, Artemisia, was brutally killed and Miles cannot produce an alibi. Veronica and Stoker will search everywhere for clues, from an artists’ colony to a subterranean grotto. Can they prove Ramsforth innocent before the killer gets to them?

The Veronica Speedwell mysteries are always funny and entertaining. Things between Veronica and Stoker tend to get a bit steamy, but never quite get past the bonds of friendship, and their repartee is witty and intelligent. While I figured out the killer at the beginning of the novel, there were a few red herrings thrown in that made me question whether I was right. The characters are all multi-faceted, making it easy to heavily invest yourself in the tale. I can’t wait to read the next book.

Overall, I think the first novel was a better mystery, but this one didn’t lack for entertainment. I’m still rooting for Veronica and Stoker to get over their pasts and become an item, though their obvious love for each other creates a friendship to be envied. If you love Victorian mysteries with spunk, this series is a must-read.

4 out of 5 stars

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