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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

This second book in Raybourn's historical fiction mystery series, set in Victorian London, hooked me even more fully into Veronica and Stoker's pasts, partnership, and their growing fondness for and vulnerability with each other. I loved it.

I loved listening to A Curious Beginning, the first book in Deanna Raybourn's sassy Veronica Speedwell series of historical fiction mysteries.

In this second installment, A Perilous Undertaking, Victorian lepidopterist (she studies butterflies and moths) and adventurer Veronica Speedwell teams up with her natural-history and mystery-solving partner Stoker to try to prove that local art patron and society figure Miles Ramsforth is innocent of murdering his mistress and should not be executed in just a few days.

But not everyone believes in Miles's innocence, and as Veronica and Stoker follow clues they venture from a royal palace to an artists' refuge to a strange underground grotto, realizing that someone will do anything to prevent the truth from coming out.

I loved A Perilous Undertaking even more than A Curious Beginning--the wonderful character development for Veronica and Stoker; the allusions to each of their complicated pasts; their hilarious banter; and their strong-willed, stubborn, clever partnership.

“No,” he said slowly. “I am better than a husband. I am your friend.”

The mystery was interesting, with salacious elements, and everyone was a potential suspect. I was satisfied by the layered revelations of the truth.

But the danger and dogged exploration of various avenues to information felt as though they primarily served to create powerful moments of reluctant, heartbreaking vulnerability between Veronica and Stoker.

I'm obsessed with this will-they/won't-they friendship and also the deep dedication to one another that transcends any attraction, irritation, or challenge.

I'm already listening to the audiobook of the next in this series, A Treacherous Curse.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Deanna Raybourn is the author of A Curious Beginning and the rest of the Veronica Speedwell series, as well as the wonderful stand-alone story Killers of a Certain Age.

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