Wednesday, March 11, 2020

A Murderous Relation (Veronica Speedwell Mystery #5), by Deanna Raybourn

Berkley Publishing Group, ISBN 9780451490742, March 2020

Veronica Speedwell and Revelstoke Templeton-Vane are still recovering from their latest adventure, and continuing to hesitate about taking their relationship in the obvious direction, when Lady Wellingtonia Beauclerk summons them with an alarming note making reference to the Jack the Ripper killings currently terrifying London. When they arrive, though, Lady Wellie is also receiving a visit from the Princess of Wales (who is, technically, Veronica's stepmother), and Inspector Archibond, of Special Branch.

It seems Prince Albert Victor, family name "Eddy," eldest son of the Prince of Wales, is involved in a bit of scandal, right at the time the royal family is attempting to arrange a marriage for him with Princess Alix of Hesse. Eddy is in love with her, but she is a young lady of strict morals, and learning that Eddy has been carrying on at the most exclusive sex club in London will end the negotiations. The Princess of Wales even fears the scandal could rock the monarchy. It's really unfortunate that Eddy has given the proprietress of the establishment an expensive jewel, with his initials on it.
This fear seems far over the top to Veronica and Stoker, and Veronica is not at all inclined to help the family that doesn't acknowledge her with such a petty scandal. She is firm; the Princess understands, more or less.

Lady Wellie is very, very distressed. So distressed that she is soon unconscious, due to angina or apoplexy, and Archibond tells them of how distressed Lady Wellie has seemed for some days now. Once he's taken his leave, and the doctor has made Lady Wellie as comfortable as possible, Veronica and Stoker talk themselves into searching her desk.

They find evidence that Lady Wellie has received notes hinting that Eddy is the Ripper, and that she's been trying determine if he has a convincing alibi. Based on this, the two further talk themselves into retrieving the jewel after all, and attempting to determine for themselves if Eddy is the Ripper.

This is the start of another harrowing adventure, and they find that they are contending with not one but two plots against the monarchy. It is, as always, complicated, intriguing, and balances Veronica's independent adventures and the reality of both the practical limitations on women in the Victorian ere and the ways women like Veronica Speedwell got around them. The relationship between Veronica and Stoker is mutually respectful as well as mutually devoted, and we get more glimpses of Stoker's owned strained place in the Templeton-Vane family, as well and Veronica's reluctantly growing knowledge of her royal relatives.

It's a lot of fun. Enjoy!

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley

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