Veronica and Stoker unite with Stoker’s older brother Tiberius to visit a castle on a Cornish island in Book 4 of the Veronica Speedwell mystery series. Tiberius tempts Veronica to join him on a trip to visit an old friend with promises of rare glasswing butterfly larvae for her vivarium. Veronica and Stoker, still wary of one another after wounded pride and many romantic near misses, join him. Once there, it’s clear that their host, Malcolm Romilly, has secret plans for them, namely to help him discover what happened to his bride Rosamund, who suddenly disappeared on their wedding day three years before. Everyone assumes she left of her own volition until Malcolm reveals a moldy carpet bag carrying Rosamund’s most treasured possessions. Once murder seems a likely possibility, Veronica and Stoker are quick to learn that many at the castle had good reason to see Rosamund eliminated.
What struck me most about this installment is the many different ways women in this book had struggled to make a life for themselves in a male-dominated world: an impoverished widow who sold her soul to eat, an aging housekeeper who had given her entire life in service to a family, a lonely, maiden sister who is betrayed after offering kindness. As I’ve said before, Ms. Raybourn is spectacular at creating deep characters, even those that play only minor roles in her novels. Veronica’s sparkle may seem diminished in these later books – the inevitable outcome of the highs and lows of life – but the other strong female characters we meet along the way ensure it is never a dull journey. Readers of my review of the 3rd Veronica Speedwell mystery, might remember my impatience with the overly protracted, long-stifled romantic sparks that have flown between Veronica and Stoker, and Veronica fans will not be disappointed this time around. It feels like Veronica and Stoker are maturing, so the fireworks are fewer but real gems appear in unlikely places.
Special thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy in exchange for my review.
I have reviewed all four books in the Veronica Speedwell mystery series. Please click on the links below to reach my reviews:
This book arrives on March 12, 2019. Pre-order your copy here.