cover image An Impossible Imposter: A Veronica Speedwell Mystery

An Impossible Imposter: A Veronica Speedwell Mystery

Deanna Raybourn. Berkley, $26 (336p) ISBN 978-0-593-19729-5

Raybourn’s delightful seventh Veronica Speedwell mystery (after 2021’s An Unexpected Peril) centers on a mysterious claimant. In 1883, Veronica was visiting Sumatra with fellow lepidopterist Jonathan Hathaway when Krakatoa erupted. Jonathan was presumed killed and his younger brother, Charles, inherited the Hathaway estate. In 1889, an amnesiac man carrying Jonathan’s passport arrives at Hathaway Hall. He says he wants nothing, but if he proves to be the original heir, Charles and his ambitious wife could lose their home and possessions, including the Eye of the Dawn, a priceless ruby acquired, perhaps illegally, from an Indian maharani. Veronica must confront a part of her past she has hidden even from her lover, natural historian Revelstoke “Stoker” Templeton-Vane, after she and Stoker come to the Hathaways’ Dartmoor mansion to investigate the impossible imposter’s claim. The man disappears just as the Eye of the Dawn vanishes and a ghostly orb is seen flickering on the moors. Raybourn does a fine job marrying acerbic wit, convincing emotional struggles, and fun glimpses of Victorian science. This sparkling tale will please fans of playful historicals and feisty heroines. [em]Agent: Pamela Hopkins, Hopkins Literary Assoc. (Feb.) [/em]