cover image A Murderous Relation: A Veronica Speedwell Mystery

A Murderous Relation: A Veronica Speedwell Mystery

Deanna Raybourn. Berkley, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-0-451-49074-2

Veronica Speedwell and Revelstoke “Stoker” Templeton-Vane have finally decided to act on their long-standing attraction to each other when an urgent telegram from friend of the royal family Lady Wellingtonia Beauclerk puts romance on hold in Raybourn’s rollicking fifth Victorian mystery (after 2019’s A Dangerous Collaboration). It’s October 1888, and Prince Albert Victor, the heir to the British throne, has given a diamond star marked with his initials to Madame Aurore, who runs the Club de l’Étoile, a “palace for debauchery.” Lady Wellingtonia asks the duo to retrieve the gift, which could cause scandal; worse, she has received anonymous letters suggesting that the prince may be involved in the Ripper murders terrorizing London. Stoker and Veronica attend the club’s weekly masked ball hoping to find out more. Instead, they encounter the prince dressed up as a woman, Madame Aurore’s murdered corpse, and thugs who imprison them in a warehouse. Raybourn delivers fast-paced action, sexual tension, quirky characters, and clever repartee, but she also crafts quiet scenes—most memorably, a meeting with one of the Ripper’s future victims—rich with deeper emotion. This entry’s bound to win her new fans. Agent: Pam Hopkins, Hopkins Literary Assoc. (Mar.)