My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Title: A Dangerous Collaboration
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Series: Veronica Speedwell, #4
Date: March 12, 2019
Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell is whisked off to a remote island off the tip of Cornwall when her natural historian colleague Stoker’s brother calls in a favor. On the pretext of wanting a companion to accompany him to Lord Malcolm Romilly’s house party, Tiberius persuades Veronica to pose as his fiancée–much to Stoker’s chagrin. But upon arriving, it becomes clear that the party is not as innocent as it had seemed. Every invited guest has a connection to Romilly’s wife, Rosamund, who disappeared on her wedding day three years ago, and a dramatic dinner proves she is very much on her husband’s mind.
As spectral figures, ghostly music, and mysterious threats begin to plague the partygoers, Veronica enlists Stoker’s help to discover the host’s true motivations. And as they investigate, it becomes clear that there are numerous mysteries surrounding the Romilly estate, and every person present has a motive to kill Rosamund…
The first time I read this book I didn’t particularly like it. There was too much stress between Veronica and Stoker. It wasn’t the normal disagreements and shouting matches, it was indifference. Even though I thought Stoker’s attitude was false, I wasn’t sure. And Veronica is never comfortable showing her softer feelings.
With the second reading, however, I was better able to see that even though it looked like they were drifting apart, they were really struggling to make a connection. I could breathe a sigh of relief.
Stoker’s eldest brother Tiberius is integral to the plot. Not only does he drag Veronica and Stoker into solving a murder, there are subplots as well. They grew up together as brothers, but Tiberius had always tormented Stoker. And Stoker being Stoker certainly returned the favor. Their relationship was explored and hopefully improved in this book. In addition, Tiberius strikes me as a man-whore and he definitely makes a play for Veronica. I am not sure how much is because he desires her or because he is getting back at Stoker. Either way, he doesn’t come across as very likable.
The murder case itself is three years old. The way they talk about it, it seems more like decades old. Anyway, I can’t really say Stoker and Veronica solve the case. It is more the murderer gives themselves away because they are afraid of being discovered. It all takes place on a island off England which is inhabited by mermaids, piskies, and those with the sight. There is a garden of poisons where even breathing the air is dangerous. All in all, not a comfortable place to live . . . or die.
My immediate reaction after finishing the book the first time was when is the next one due out? After the second reading, my reaction is “I want it now!” It’s definitely worth four stars and if I hadn’t spent most of the book worrying about Stoker’s and Veronica’s relationship, I would probably have given it five stars.
This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.