A Murderous Relation

A Murderous Relation

by Deanna Raybourn

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Overview

A royal scandal’s connection to a brutal serial killer threatens London in this new Veronica Speedwell adventure from New York Times bestselling and Edgar® Award–nominated author Deanna Raybourn.

Autumn 1888. Veronica Speedwell and her colleague Stoker are asked by Lady Wellingtonia Beauclerk to stop a potential scandal so explosive it threatens to rock the monarchy. Prince Albert Victor is a regular visitor to the most exclusive private club in London, and the proprietress, Madame Aurore, has received an expensive gift that can be traced back to the prince. Lady Wellie would like Veronica and Stoker to retrieve it from the club before scandal can break. 

Worse yet, London is being terrorized by what would become the most notorious and elusive serial killer in history, Jack the Ripper—and Lady Wellie suspects the prince may be responsible.
Veronica and Stoker reluctantly agree to go undercover at Madame Auroreʼs high-class brothel, where a body soon turns up. Secrets are swirling around Veronica and the royal family—and it is up to Veronica and Stoker to find the truth, before it is too late for all of them.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451490742
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/10/2020
Series: Veronica Speedwell Series , #5
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 6,483
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Deanna Raybourn is the author of the award-winning, New York Times bestselling Lady Julia Grey series, currently in development for television, as well as the USA Today bestselling and Edgar Award nominated Veronica Speedwell Mysteries and several standalone works.

Hometown:

Williamsburg, Virginia

Date of Birth:

June 17, 1968

Place of Birth:

Ft. Worth, Texas

Education:

B.A. in English and History, University of Texas at San Antonio, 1990

Read an Excerpt

Chapter

 

1

 

London, October 1888

 

What in the name of flaming Hades do you mean his lordship wants me to officiate at the wedding of a tortoise?" Stoker demanded.

 

He appeared properly outraged-an excellent look for him, as it caused his blue eyes to brighten, his muscles to tauten distractingly as he folded his arms over his chest. I dragged my gaze from the set of his shoulders and attempted to explain our employer's request again.

 

"His lordship wishes Patricia to be married and asks if you will do the honors," I told him. The fact that the Earl of Rosemorran had made such a request shouldn't have given Stoker a moment's pause; it was by far not the most outrageous of the things we had done since coming to live at Bishop's Folly, his lordship's Marylebone estate. We were in the process of cataloging and preparing the Rosemorran Collection-amassed thanks to a few hundred years of genteel avarice on the part of previous earls-in hopes of making it a proper museum. With our occasional forays into sleuthing out murderers and the odd blackmailer, we were a bit behind, and his lordship's latest scheme was not calculated to improve matters.

 

"Veronica," Stoker said with exaggerated patience, "Patricia is a Gal‡pagos tortoise. She does not require the benefit of clergy."

 

"I realize that. And even if she did, you are not clergy. The point is that Patricia has been quite agitated of late and his lordship has taken advice on the matter. Apparently, she requires a husband."

 

Patricia had been a gift from Charles Darwin to the present earl's grandfather, a souvenir of his travels to the Gal‡pagos, and she occupied herself with eating lettuces and frightening visitors as she lumbered about with a disdainful expression on her face. She was as like a boulder as it was possible for a living creature to be, and the only moments of real interest were when she managed to upend herself, a situation that required at least three grown persons to rectify. But lately she had taken to hiding in the shrubbery, moaning mournfully, until the earl consulted a zoologist who suggested she was, as the earl related to me with significant blushes, tired of being a maiden tortoise.

 

I explained this to Stoker, adding, "So his lordship has ordered a suitable mate and has every expectation that when Patricia is properly mated, she will be right as rain."

 

Stoker's expression was pained. "But why a wedding? Tortoises are not precisely religious."

 

I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. "Of course they aren't. But Lady Rose is home just now and overheard her father discussing Patricia's new mate." I started to elaborate but Stoker held up a quelling hand. The mention of the earl's youngest and most precocious child was sufficient.

 

"I understand. But why am I supposed to perform the ceremony? Why can't his lordship?"

 

"Because the earl is giving away the bride."

 

Stoker's mouth twitched, but he maintained a serious expression. "Very well. But whilst I am marrying two tortoises, what will you be doing?"

 

"Me?" I smiled graciously. "Why, I am to be a bridesmaid."

 

 

I would like to say that a tortoise wedding was the most eccentric of the tasks to which we applied ourselves during our time in his lordship's employ; however, I have vowed to be truthful within these pages. Even as I persuaded Stoker to officiate at reptile nuptials, I was keenly aware that we were perched on the precipice of a new and most dangerous investigation. Our previous forays into amateur detection had been largely accidental, the result of insatiable curiosity on my part and an unwillingness to let well enough alone on Stoker's. (He claims to involve himself in murderous endeavors solely for the benefit of my safety, but as I have saved his life on at least one occasion, his argument is as specious as Lamarck's Theory of Inheritance.)

 

We had just emerged from a harrowing ordeal at the hands of a murderer in Cornwall when we were summoned back to London by Lady Wellingtonia Beauclerk, Lord Rosemorran's elderly great-aunt and éminence grise behind the throne. For the better part of the nineteenth century, she and her father had made it their mission to protect the royal family-not least from themselves. Lady Wellie meddled strategically, and no one save the royal family and a handful of very highly placed people of influence knew of her power. She dined twice a month with the Archbishop of Canterbury and regularly summoned the Foreign Secretary to tea, and the head of Scotland Yard's Special Branch held himself at her beck and call. This last, Sir Hugo Montgomerie, was my sometime ally, albeit grudgingly on his part. He knew, as did Lady Wellie, that my natural father was the Prince of Wales. I was unacknowledged by the prince, which suited me perfectly, but my very existence was dangerous. My father had undergone a form of marriage with my mother-entirely illegal, as she was an Irishwoman of the Roman Catholic faith and he was forbidden by law to wed without the permission of his august mother, Queen Victoria.

 

"Bertie always was a romantic," Lady Wellie once told me with a fond sigh.

 

"There are other words for it," had been my dry response. Lady Wellie did not appreciate levity where her favorites were concerned, and my father occupied a particularly cozy spot in her affections. For that reason, perhaps, she was sometimes indulgent with me, turning a blind eye to my unconventional occupation as a lepidopterist. Butterfly hunting was a perfectly genteel activity for ladies, so long as one was properly chaperoned and never perspired. But I had made a comfortable living from my net, traveling the world in search of the most glorious specimens to sell to private collectors. Even if my parents' union had been a conventional one, sanctioned by both church and state, the fact that I frequently combined business with pleasure-using my expeditions to exercise my healthy libido-would have made it impossible for the prince to recognize me officially as his child. That Lady Wellie had, in the days of her robust youth, indulged regularly in refreshing bouts of physical congress no doubt influenced her attitude of bland acceptance to my discreet activities.

 

In fact, she had encouraged them on more than one occasion, at least as far as Stoker was concerned. In spite of his numerous attractions-and the fact that we were both more than a little in love with one another-we had hitherto resisted the more primitive blood urges. Stoker frequently swam in whatever available pond or river provided a chilly respite, and I submerged my yearnings in rigorous scientific study and the odd evening spent sampling the collection of robust phallic artifacts I had been sent by a grateful gentleman who had escaped the noose thanks to our efforts on his behalf.

 

But in the course of our most recent adventure, Stoker and I had cast off our reticence at last, acknowledging that the curious mental and emotional bond we shared seemed to comprise a physical element as well. At least that was how I liked to phrase it. The truth, dear reader, is that I was as ready for him as any filly ready for the stud. My blood thrummed whenever he came near, the air crackling between us like one of Galvani's electrical experiments. It was a mercy that we had not been alone in our train compartment on the journey back to London; otherwise, I suspect the urgent swaying of the conveyance would have proven too much for my increasingly limited self-control.

 

Stoker, as it happens, was possessed of more decorum. Lady Wellie would have pronounced him a romantic as well, for he insisted that our inaugural congress must be properly celebrated-to wit, in a bed. A comfortable bed, he added firmly, with a wide mattress and a sturdy frame and a headboard that would bear some abuse. I blinked at this last, but agreed, realizing that time and privacy would be required to fully sate us both.

 

The result was that we arrived back in London in a fever of anticipation, bickering happily about which of our lodgings should provide the better setting for our genteel debaucheries. Lord Rosemorran housed us in two of the follies on his estate, Stoker in a Chinese pagoda, and me in a miniature Gothic chapel.

 

"Mine has a wider bed," I pointed out.

 

"Mine is nearer the Roman temple baths," he reminded me. I fell into a reverie, distracted at the notion of a very wet, very imperfectly clothed Stoker and the hot, heavy air of the baths with their vast pools of heated water and comfortable sofas.

 

"Excellent point," I managed.

 

But we returned to find that the plumbing in the Roman baths had exploded modestly, damaging the temple and Stoker's adjacent pagoda.

 

"No worries," Lord Rosemorran told him, unaware of our predicament and therefore jovially oblivious to our dismay. "I have had Lumley move your things into the house. You can sleep upstairs. There is a very nice guest room next door to the night nursery."

 

I spent the better part of that day trying to decide whether Stoker should break out of the house that night or whether I should break in, but in the end, the matter was decided for me. Preparations for the upcoming tortoise nuptials had set the household at sixes and sevens, and amidst the chaos, Lady Wellie sent for us. We had been summoned back to London at her insistence. The audacious killer known as Jack the Ripper had begun a murderous rampage, slaughtering his victims so brutally that it had caught the nation's attention-and Lady Wellie's. We knew the villain had struck again, two victims in the same night, and it was this heinous double crime that caused her to dispatch a telegram insisting upon our return and ending our Cornish adventure.

 

After the bracing air of Cornwall, London was a contrast of sooty fogs and afternoon lamps lit against the early October gloom. Lady Wellie awaited us in her private rooms, her dark gaze alert. A clock on the mantel ticked softly, and in the corner stood a large gilded cage in which two lovebirds chattered companionably. Lady Wellie flicked a significant glance towards the clock.

 

"It is about time," she said by way of greeting.

 

Stoker bent to brush a kiss to her withered cheek. She did not simper as she usually did, but her expression softened a little.

 

"I do apologize," I told her. "His lordship waylaid us on the way in with news of alterations in our lodgings, and then we were sorting the details for a tortoise wedding. Patricia is to be a bride."

 

Lady Wellie's clawlike hand curved over the top of her walking stick. "I know. I was asked to provide her with a bit of Honiton lace for a veil," she replied. "But I have not summoned you here to discuss the latest family foray into madness. I need your help."

 

Lady Wellie was plainspoken by habit but seldom quite so forthright. Stoker shot me a glance.

 

"The East End murderer," he supplied. "We read the latest newspapers on the train this morning. He has a penchant for prostitutes, this fellow."

 

"Not prostitutes," she corrected swiftly. "The newspapers know what sells, but the most one can say definitively of these unfortunates is they are women who possibly turn to the trade in moments of necessity. None of them has been a true professional."

 

"Does it make a difference?" I put in.

 

"I imagine it does to them," she replied. Her hand flexed on the walking stick, and I noticed she did not offer us refreshment. Lady Wellie kept one eye on the ormolu clock upon the mantel as she spoke. For the first time, I was aware of a taut stillness in the room, something expectant, stretched on tiptoe. Even the lovebirds fell silent.

 

She went on. "It is still early days in the investigation, but it seems each of them had a regular occupation-flower seller, hop picker. If they sold themselves, it was only to make the price of a bed at night or a pint of gin. When they had need of ready cash and nothing left to pawn, they exploited the only asset in their possession."

 

"Poor devils," Stoker said softly. We lived in luxury thanks to his lordship's largesse, but we had seen such women often enough in our travels about the city. Haggard and worn by worry and poor nutrition, they were old before their time, their flesh their only commodity. Whether they used their bodies to labor in a field or up against the rough brick of an alley wall, every ha'penny they collected was purchased at a dreadful cost.

 

Lady Wellie cleared her throat. "Yes, well. As you can imagine, the newspapers cannot contain themselves. They are utterly hysterical on the subject, whipping up the capital into a fever of terror and speculation. I do not like the mood at present. Anything is possible."

 

She narrowed her eyes, and I filled in the rest. "You mean republicanism is on the rise again."

 

"There is agitation in every quarter. These journalists"-her voice dripped scorn upon the word-"are taking this opportunity to stoke resentment against immigrants, against the Jews, and against the wealthy."

 

"Not groups that ordinarily fall in for resentment from the same quarter," Stoker observed.

 

"They do now. The middle class is perfectly poised to hate in both directions. They think the lower orders criminal and they fear them even as they look down upon them. And they resent the rich for not taking better care of the situation, policing the poor and the indigent."

 

I thought back to the tent city that had occupied Trafalgar Square for the better part of the year, row upon row of temporary structures sheltering those who had no other place to go. For months, the indigent had slept rough, washing themselves as best they could in the fountains, passing under the gaze of the Barbary lions. There were not enough soup kitchens and shelters and doss-houses to keep everyone fed and warm, and it was all too easy to step over some slumbering wretch upon the pavement and dismiss it as someone else's trouble to solve.

 

"The mood, at present, is dangerous," she went on. "The goodwill from last year's Jubilee seems to have evaporated." Queen Victoria, desolate in her widowhood, had withdrawn from public life, immuring herself in stony silence at Windsor Castle.

 

But it had been two and a half decades since Prince Albert's death, and the queen's unwillingness to show herself to her people had bred annoyance, which had turned to outright debate about whether a monarchy was even relevant in modern times. The previous year's Jubilee had seen the queen out and about, a rotund little figure swathed in black silk and larded with diamonds, nodding and waving to the cheers that resounded as her extended royal clan trotted obediently in her wake in a glorious and glittering panoply. But a year was a long time in public memory, and over the winter-the hardest in decades-privation and want had grown so terrible that all of the warm feeling of patriotism and bonhomie towards the royal family had melted like ice on a summer's day.

Reading Group Guide

Readers Guide for A MURDEROUS RELATION
Questions for Discussion

1. The year 1888 is the setting of the Jack the Ripper murders. How do these crimes affect the atmosphere of the city? What other factors are in play, influencing the social unrest?

2. Lady Wellingtonia Beauclerk meddles excessively in the lives of the royal family. Is her interference justified?

3. What drives Veronica to undertake this investigation? What drives Stoker?

4. This novel sees the introduction of another member of Stoker’s family. How would you characterize Stoker’s relationship with his family?

5. Madame Aurore has had to make her way in the world. What do you make of her choices?

6. How do you think Stoker and Veronica’s relationship will progress?

7. In this novel we meet the character of Prince Albert Victor (Eddy). Discuss his relationship with Veronica.

8. Like Veronica, J. J. Butterworth is unusual for a Victorian woman. How does she differ from the stereotype?

9. Veronica has a brief interlude with a shadowy man in the streets of Whitechapel. Who do you think he was?

10. How do the skills Stoker and Veronica have acquired from their work and travels translate to solving mysteries in Victorian London?

11. Who of the supporting characters do you feel has the most to offer as a member of Veronica’s “found family”?

12. What is the significance of Chester, the velvet mouse?

13. What drives the villain? Is their scheme doomed to fail?

14. The Club de l’Étoile is based upon actual establishments in London at the time. How does this fit with your ideas of Victorian propriety?

Customer Reviews

A Murderous Relation 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
3545384 19 days ago
I really enjoyed this story and seeing Veronica and Stoker leave the awkwardness that they had in the last book behind them. They were back to their normal selves. Enjoyed seeing past characters too and how contributed to the plot. Also the ending was satisfying and I hope that there will be more books. I hope to see more adventures. If you like Victorian mystery adventures with witty, fun characters then you'll love this series...
marongm8 21 days ago
This book was received as an ARC from Berkley Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. Having read all of the Veronica Speedwell series and impressed with all of them, I had high expectations for the fifth installment A Murderous Relation and I must say the expectations were met and then some. Veronica and Stoker are on another mission for Lady Wellingtonia Beauclerk that mostly involves tracking and retrieving a royal heirloom that could make or break the present and future monarchy tracing back to Prince Albert Victor a regular guest at the most exclusive club, Club de l'Etoile. Veronica and Stoker must get the heirloom back before a scandal arises. While in search Veronica uncovers some long kept secrets that changes not only the game itself but the fate of the monarchy including involvement with the most notorious villain Jack the Ripper. I could not stop reading this book, my time was so invested that I had to see what happens with the case. Deanna Raybourn does a great job in this series by keeping the case going without it going on a tangent and dragging it along finally getting to the point. Just when you thought you'd had it figured out, the story takes a new turn. We will consider adding this title to our Historical Fiction collection at our library. This is why we give this book 5 stars.
Jesslovesbooksanddogs 21 days ago
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher for an honest review. Veronica Speedwell is everything every little girl who grew up wanting to be Indiana Jones wants out of life. The Speedwell mysteries are all about the adventure, and Raybourn did not disappoint in this fifth installment. Veronica is just as sharp, intelligent and courageous. Stoker is just as gallant, brooding, and gentle. We return to Veronica's roots in this adventure, and her dangerous secret is at risk of being exposed. But with the help of Scotland Yard and few members of the royal family, Veronica and Stoker are well positioned to once again save the day. The writing is gorgeous. Raybourn is as talented with the pen as Michelangelo was with a brush. Never before and never after will you ever encounter such sexy writing. Her characters are complex and complexly human, and because of this, you will bond instantly to them forever. The narrative is spine tingling and forceful. There is never a wasted word. Treat yourself to a Veronica Speedwell adventure. You'll be glad you did.
TheGenreMinxBookReviews 21 days ago
A Murderous Relation is the fifth book in the Veronica Speedwell series and this story is a game changer in many ways. At the start, Veronica and Stoker are once again brought into the confidences of those who, otherwise, choose to ignore Veronica’s existence at the best of times but, at the worst of times, have no issues asking her for the impossible. Although this time, Veronica has a little more steel to her spine, a little more acceptance for her worth, and things do not go as others had expected. With this change there is also another unexpected event that takes place and this was not one that Veronica or Stoker could ignore. For their own reasons they decide to launch an investigation into the feasibility of a heist which leads them into a world that Veronica was none too familiar with but all to ready to explore, that saucy minx. With each revelation they uncover, they are brought further into a web of deceit and treachery where their well-being is most definitely not assured. “He was not another half, for I was whole unto myself. But he was my mirror, and in him I saw reflected all that I liked best in me. I saw honesty and pride, loyalty, and a willingness to stand, however difficult, in service of one’s principles.” After the ending of A Dangerous Collaboration, I was not sure what to expect, relationship wise, between Veronica and Stoker. They had both finally accepted that they were drawn to each other in more than a partnership capacity and I was eager to see how that unfolded in A Murderous Relation. Even in their acceptance, there was complexity and simplicity woven with insecurities. What did take place was adorable, frustrating, and in the end, swoon worthy. Both Veronica and Stoker were deeply passionate characters who were also deeply emotionally scarred and there was an element of vulnerability that needed to be addressed internally before any progress could be made. I loved the emotional journey! Focusing on the mystery, there is very little sleuthing, not exactly a whodunit. Expect more along the lines of political machinations and surprising betrayal. I will say that I did enjoy the nods to the Whitechapel murders, along with the characters introduced from that quarter. They were impactful in their brief time in this story. Overall, A Murderous Relation was a delightful historical mystery with witty banter and plenty of escapades and exploits that kept this story moving at a fast clip. This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.
AmyM43 21 days ago
Upon the heels of returning from Cornwall, Veronia and Stoker are immediately swept up in a mystery involving the crowned Prince Albert Victor. When intelligence finds out that the Prince has been frequenting an exclusive club, Club de l'Etoile, and has taken a liking to the club's proprietress - going so far as to have given her tokens of his admiration - the scandal that could arise should this information be made public is astronomical. As the whole of London is also on high alert due to the Whitechapel murders, questioning the validity of the monarchy itself, a scandal involving the Prince would only add fuel to the fire. So enter Veronica and Stoker who have, by this time, gained quite the reputation for sleuthing. But between them, they still haven't yet acted on the feelings they professed to one another in Cornwall. And if left unsaid too long, Veronica fears they'll remain in the strange quasi-friendship / lovers stasis they currently find themselves occupying. Well the game is afoot as tensions mount from all sides. Excelsior! I think it's safe to say at this point in the series, I may be a little biased. I'm inclined to rate this series highly no matter what. Deanna Raybourn would have to pull a complete 180 on the characters, or pull something out of left field, to get me to change my views of this series. With that in mind, I always enjoy this series. It's one I look forward to with each release. The cultivation of Veronica and Stoker's relationship - first in friendship and now in, hopefully, something more - has been one of the best slow-burn romances I've read. While I was so giddy with the acknowledgement that readers finally received in the previous books - and what readers have known all along - I too was wondering: "well, what next?" It's such a tricky and delicate situation altering a relationship from platonic/friendship to something more. Once you take that step it alters what you previously had undoubtedly, and really there's no going back. This time around we see the reticence, the fear, of what altering their relationship will mean. Of course we only get Veronica's point of view on this, but I think it's a completely valid concern. So even though I personally was ready for Veronica and Stoker to jump right in, I appreciated that Deanna Raybourn took the time to deal with these issues. And I'll just say it outright so shippers like me will not worry. You will be satisfied. Moving on to the mystery aspect, it's another matter. While I always enjoy the adventures that Veronica and Stoker find themselves in, this time around, I guess I wasn't expecting how things would play out. Deanna Raybourn has been teasing Jack the Ripper for a couple of books now, and here it all finally comes to a head, although in completely not the way I thought it would. Deanna Raybourn goes the way of much of the new research into the Ripper cases has recently and focuses moreso on the women, the victims, rather than placing too much inherent focus on Jack the Ripper himself. This immediately brings to mind [book:The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper|37545347], which Raybourn mentions outright in her Author's notes at the end of the book. The story also focuses on the living conditions of those who were forced to call Whitechapel their home. The contrast between the wealthy and the poor. I thought that Deanna Raybourn works all of these issues into the story nicely making it a well-rounded view of histo
Esther Sorrell 2 days ago
A thoroughly enjoyable end to the series.
Anonymous 2 days ago
Veronica Speedwell is a jeweled star!! I place her in company with Enola Holmes as I think they would have enjoyed each other’s company immensely. While this is the 5th Veronica Speedwell in the series I didn’t feel that I was missing anything or behind in the story. I will however go back and read the others as it was an extremely enjoyable quick but well crafted read. This would be good for older, more mature young adults as there was a bit of salaciousness throughout. Thanks to #netgalley for the opportunity to read and review #amurderousrelation before publication.
cbooklover 2 days ago
FTC DISCLAIMER: I RECEIVED AN E-ARC FROM THE PUBLISHER THROUGH NETGALLEY. I VOLUNTARILY OFFER MY HONEST REVIEW OF THE BOOK, THOUGH IT IS NOT EXPECTED OF ME! RECEIPT OF THIS BOOK IN THIS MANNER DOES NOT AFFECT MY OPINION OF THE BOOK OR THE CONTENT OF MY REVIEW! 4.5 stars I loved this book! I'm so in love with this series overall. The characters are amazing, fully fleshed out, deep and multi-faceted. Veronica is an amazing heroine and I related to her a lot. Also, Stoker is an amazing romantic interest who lets Veronica let her be her own person. The one thing that disappointed me in this book, which is a tiny detail and a bit silly I know. But spoiler alert! When they finally got together, there were hardly and dirty graphic details. I know some may prefer this, but with a 5 book build-up, I would have loved more detail. Anyway, I loved the book, the characters, and the plot, though I would have liked the mystery to be about Jack the Ripper, I also loved the direction the author chose to go.
DiiFL 13 days ago
The unsinkable Veronica Speedwell is back with her handsome sidekick of the heart, Stoker and this time out, they go undercover in an attempt to retrieve a priceless gift and ferret out if a wayward royal could be the infamous monster, Jack the Ripper. Meanwhile, bodies begin dropping like flies and Veronica finds herself neck deep in another deadly mystery, a close encounter with a royal relative and, once again, the owner of many secrets! Deanna Raybourn’s A MURDEROUS RELATION is filled with that same rapid-fire pace, keen humor and brilliant deductions and seriously twisted twists that may be elementary for some, but trust me, being the fly on the wall of Veronica’s life is an experience no one should miss. Is Jack the Ripper closer to Veronica than she could ever have imagined? Is His Royal Highness really the innocent he seems? What is his mother all about? One thing for sure, page after page, Veronica’s adventures are fabulous reading that will propel readers into another era side by side with a woman very much ahead of her time! I was invited to receive a complimentary ARC edition from Berkley! This is my honest and voluntary review.
DragonNimbus 13 days ago
A Murderous Relation is the third in the Veronica Speedwell series. I read and loved the second book so I jumped at the chance to read the ARC and was charmed and delighted. In this book, Veronica and Stoker, her partner in adventures all over the world, have returned to England to the Earl of Rosemorran's estate. They are staying as his guests to catalog his considerable collection and trying to find a spare second to consummate their growing attraction. Delayed once again by an urgent call from the Queen's fixer, Veronica and Stoker find themselves embroiled in intrigue and politics as the Princess of Wales asks them to retrieve a valuable gem from a "house of entertainment" to save the young heir from scandal. The adventure takes place during the time just after the Queen's Jubilee while she is in mourning for the loss of her husband. The people are dissatisfied with the monarchy and various factions are plotting to overthrow the crown, All this amidst fear and unrest cause by the horrendous attacks of Jack the Ripper. As a legitimate daughter of the Crown Prince, Veronica is a tantalizing target which leads to more than one obstacle in her quest to help the Monarchy Raybourn creates a believable account of Victorian England and is a master at setting and atmosphere. The plot moves quickly and was thrilling to the end. Veronica Speedwell has an extensive vocabulary and her independence and self-reliance are inspiring, as is her attraction to the dashing Stoker. Raybourn gives enough background that you should be able to keep up without reading the first two books, but I recommend you read those too. Settle down with a cup of tea and immerse yourself in Speedwell's world - you'll be glad you did!
Cynthia Thygesen 14 days ago
I have read all of the books in this series and greatly enjoyed each of them. I read it in one day and the only regret is that now, I have to wait till the next adventure is released.
Kristi_thebookfaery 14 days ago
Oh. My. Freaking. Stars.! A Murderous Relation by Deanna Raybourn is outstanding! It is engaging and entertaining and it was so difficult to put down! As usual, Veronica’s trademark wit and feisty spirit combined with kidnapping, secret scandals, murder and the shadowy presence of Jack the Ripper made this a page-turner for me! First off, I want to start with how much I sincerely love Veronica and Stoker; their slow-burn romance has had me on edge for 4 books! To say that this is a couple who really need to act on their passion for each other is an understatement! This is slightly spoilerish but I was happy to see some joy in this area! I love their banter, their interactions together, and just the idea of those two …. Swoon! One of my favorite passages is outlined below: This was the first morning ever, the beginning of all creation as far as I was concerned. A new life for us had begun, hand in hand, arm in arm, facing down the rest of the world. What adventures would await us! It’s a beautiful relationship that I absolutely cherish in the bookish world! The main characters are gorgeously developed as are the secondary characters, they are all delightfully written and a pleasure to know. The writing is flawless and flows beautifully, Ms. Raybourn is always able to evoke a variety of emotions from me with her writing. There are certain books and series I’ve read that elicit a feeling of melancholy when reading the last page and closing the proverbial covers, it’s like losing dear friends. This is how I feel when I finish a Veronica Speedwell novel. As if I have to wait a while to see the people I’ve grown to care about and it’s a bit sad. This is one series and author that I will always read! I’m hoping for a Veronica Speedwell #6! This is a wonderful book/series for any lover of historical mysteries/suspense. A big thank you to NetGalley, Berkley Publishing Group, and Deanna Raybourn for providing me with a copy of A Murderous Relation in exchange for my honest review.
sufue 15 days ago
I’ve read and enjoyed several books in Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia Grey series, but have never read any titles in her Veronica Speedwell series. So I was really happy to get a chance to read a review copy of the fifth and most recent title in that series, A Murderous Relation. At the beginning of the book, I was pretty confused, and wished I had read the four previous books. It took me a while to start understanding the background, but once I learned more about the characters and their relationships, I really started to enjoy the story. In the end, I got sucked into the book, and ended up finishing it by reading far too late into the night. The book is an interesting combination of a “traditional” royal scandal (Prince meets madam, Prince gives madam a personalized gift, Prince is now vulnerable to exposure or blackmail) with the idea that Prince Eddy (Albert Victor) might have been Jack the Ripper. I really enjoyed these two somewhat linked storylines. In addition, there’s a thread related to Veronica’s parentage, and also some developments in the budding relationship between Veronica and Stoker. Both of these storylines were also enjoyable, but this more personal stuff is where I felt my lack of background the most. Overall, though, I enjoyed this book a lot, and now will go back and look for earlier titles in the series. My thanks again to Edelweiss and the publisher for the ARC. And also please keep in mind that I try to fight “star-inflation” a little bit. I reserve 5 stars for a very few of my most favorite books, ones I’m likely to read and re-read many times, and 4 stars is a great rating from me.
CindyFW 16 days ago
10 Stars! Loved it so much! But I have a sneaking suspicion this might be the last book in the series because of those last paragraphs in the book (knock on wood I'm wrong). Veronica and Stoker. What more can I say that hasn't been said about these two? Their relationship has been developing for four books, now five. After the ending of book four, we know what they're ready for. We already know they loved each other, but they're also the most stubborn people we've met. But the time isn't right to indulge in amorous relations, as Veronica would say. Lady Wellie falls ill and while trying to discover the reason, Veronica and Stoker involve themselves in quite the environment. Murder, kidnapping, Jack the Ripper, Prince Albert Victor, diamonds, secrets, life and death situations, and many many more things, happen. I COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN!!!! And then the thing we've all been waiting since the beginning.... finally. I hope there will be more, but if not, it's a satisfying conclusion. Love, love these characters. I received a copy from the publisher (THANK YOU!) via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.
Anonymous 16 days ago
3.75 stars Another rollicking adventure with our favorite bantering, chemistry-laden couple. This Edwardian series features scientist Veronica Speedwell and her colleague Stoker. This time out they are charged with recovering an ill-advised and potentially scandalous gift from young Prince Eddy to a brothel owner. Running in the background are the horrific Jack the Ripper murders. There is even a shadow of suspicion that falls on the prince. Of course Veronica's discovery that she and the prince are actually half brother and sister add another plot thread involving one of her mad relation's desire to see her as a royal successor, a goal Veronica does not share. As usual, our heroine is dauntless, fearsome and strong. She and Stoker edge ever closer to throwing caution to the winds and committing themselves to the combustible relationship they clearly are meant to have. The historical notes are interesting. We know that the Ripper was never arrested. And we know that Prince Eddy, presented here as sweet but perhaps simple as well, died young and never assumed the throne. His first love, Princess Alix, became the Tsarina of Russia and was murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918. These are always entertaining and fast-paced. Thanks to the publisher and to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Anonymous 16 days ago
After their latest amateur sleuthing case, Veronica Speedwell and Stoker return to London to their vocations and a determination to define their relationship with each other. However, before they can proceed, they are called to Lady Wellingtonia Beauclerk’s home (Lady Wellie) where the Princess of Whales, Veronica’s step mother, implores them to recover an expensive gift that may compromise her son, the future king. All this occurs as the city is appalled and police are stymied by murders enacted by Jack the Ripper, as the serial killer of women of the evening is known. This is the latest installment of Deanna Rathbourn’s series featuring the lepidopterist, Veronica, and natural historian, Stoker, and their adventures solving crimes. Told with humor and clever banter, Veronica and Stoker, defy propriety of conventional Victoria society as they go undercover at an elite private club and discover the murder of the proprietress. Madness and mayhem ensue as they try to clear Prince Eddies name and discover the murderer.
Susan Nieves 20 days ago
I find Ms Raybourne to be a thoroughly enjoyable Authoress
Murasake 21 days ago
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
PNWBookworm 21 days ago
I loved this installment in the series! Although it could be read as a stand alone you would be missing out on a lot of back story and explanation so I highly recommend starting at the beginning! I love the characters in this series and this installment was no different. The sexual tension and connection between stoker and Veronica added a nice element to keep the story interesting. I also loved the uniqueness of the mystery and the way that it delved more into Veronica's past. It might read a little slower than the other books but I still enjoyed it just as much. I definitely recommend this series and starting with the first!
eyes2c 21 days ago
Ah! The tension of it all! Oh My! That unresolved attraction between Veronica and Stoker. I can hardly bear the tension. Veronica shares that. Moments of seething awareness has appeared between them constantly, only to be shelved as something or someone rudely interrupts. Even here Veronica complains to herself at a key moment, "This was not the time for erotic pursuits, I told myself severely. We had a mystery to solve and would need all of our wits about us. There would be ample opportunity later for the amatory arts." By now Veronica Speedwell and Revelstoke Templeton-Vane, have become deeply involved in mysteries involving the ton, and the unacknowledged Veronica's royal relations. Veronica and Stoker are called to Lady Wellie's (Wellingtonia Beauclerk) as a pretext for a direct request from the Princess of Wales, wife to Veronica's father, to recover an ill advised jewellery item, a distinctive diamond star badge, gifted by Prince Albert Victor or Eddy, Veronica's half brother, to a renowned courtesan. What begins as a refusal to bow to unlooked for and unappreciated family entanglements by Veronica ends in a plot to wrest kingship away from the Prince of Wales, and a deeper motive, that of leaving Britain in the throes of anarchy. An on the edge of your seat adventure with my two favorite characters Veronica and Stoker, that encompasses unrest in 1880 Britain, the public's Jack the Ripper fears and suspicions, the idiosyncrasies of the Royals, the legality of Veronica's mother relationship with the Prince, murder and mystery, and the magical tie that lies between Veronica and Stocker. Friends and enemies appear from unlooked places, upping the ante and occasionally levelling the playing field. There's a host of interesting side characters including the audacious lady journalist J. J. Butterworth and Special Branch policeman, Mornaday. Let's not forget Lady Rose, youngest daughter of their delightfully eccentric, and very British patron, Earl of Rosemorran. Lady Rose is a wonderful inclusion who when we first meet is organizing a marriage for the Galapagos Tortoise Honoria. So quirky! I adored every minute! A Berkley Group ARC via NetGalley (Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.)
CharlotteLynnsReviews 21 days ago
Each book in the Veronica Speedwell series is an adventure that introduces you to new and interesting characters while bringing back some of my favorites from past books in this series. I picked up A Murderous Relation excited to follow Stoker and Veronica on their next adventure. This adventure introduced me to more of Veronica’s family and showed that not all of them think she is should be kept a secret. There was some history shared with Jack the Ripper storyline but it was mostly fiction and fun. The attraction between Stoker and Veronica is so hot. I expect them to explode at some point. I enjoy that their relationship is moving slow and that Stoker wants them to come together at the right time but oh my gosh… how long does a girl have to wait? The excitement, the characters, the mystery kept me turning the pages with the need to find out the rest of the story. I am excited for book 6 to be released since these are now characters that I am invested in, that I enjoy reading about and look forward to seeing what new trouble they can get themselves into.
Caroles_Random_Life 21 days ago
This was a fantastic installment in a much-loved series! This is the fifth book in the Veronica Speedwell Mysteries series which is a series that is best read in order. I have been with Veronica since the beginning and am finding that I like this series more and more with each installment. I read this book in just a couple of days and found it to be incredibly entertaining. I really had a great time with this book. I have grown to love Veronica, Stoker, and some of the other recurring characters in this series. Veronica and Stoker work very well together and obviously are quite good at solving mysteries. They also have a lot of chemistry. We have been gradually watching the heat grow between these two since the beginning of the series and while I do sometimes wish things would move a bit faster, it is obvious how much they care about each other. The mystery in this book was a bit unexpected. Veronica's heritage is a well-kept secret. Because of her connections, she is asked to look into some of the dealings of the prince. He has given a piece of jewelry that can be traced back to him to a woman who runs a scandalous club and his family wants it back before anyone can find out about it. Of course, things are never easy and Veronica and Stoker must navigate a pretty dangerous situation before everything is settled. Throw in the famous Jack the Ripper murders which are happening and you have quite an exciting story on your hands. This book had everything that I hoped it would have. There were some rather light-hearted moments and some pretty intense scenes. I loved the chemistry between the characters and am loving the way Veronica and Stoker are slowly working their way towards each other. There were a few surprises in this book and I really enjoyed the fact that the Jack the Ripper murders were a part of this story. I thought that the pacing of the story was very well done and I found the book hard to put down. I would highly recommend this book to others. This is a smartly written mystery series with incredibly wonderful characters. I cannot wait to read more of Veronica and Stoker's adventures! I received a digital review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley.
nfam 21 days ago
Veronica and Stoker Again Caught up in a Royal Scandal As the ripper stalks London, Veronica and Speedwell are hard at work on their projects. This changes abruptly when Lady Wellie asks for their help. Prince Albert Victor had become entangled with a woman, Madame Aurore, who runs a scandalous private club. He plans to gift her with a jeweled star, her favorite jewel. Because he plans to use his mother, Princess Alexandra’s, jeweler, the star could be traced to the royal family and would cause a scandal. Even worse, there are rumors that the prince could be the ripper. Confronted with Princess Alexandra, her step-mother, Veronica refuses to help. She’s been snubbed by the royal family and sees no reason to help them. Stoker tells her that it’s her duty to the country. Finally, she agrees and they set off to Madame Aurore’s club to steal the jewel, but is anything ever that simple when Veronica and Stoker set out to solve a problem? This is the fifth book in the Veronica Speedwell series. As usual, Veronica is a witty, sarcastic, and her own woman. She may love Stoker, but in many ways she’s in charge. I love Stoker. He takes care of Veronica without making her feel inferior. I thought at the end of the last book that we would see more of a sexual relationship, but they’re still teetering on the edge of commitment. I was a little disappointed in the plot. There were gorgeous scenes at Madame Aurore’s, and it was nice to see Veronica getting to know her little brother, but much of the plot moved slowly with great swathes of dialog. It’s not my favorite in the series, but it’s a good read. It you’re a fan, don’t miss it. I received this book from Net Galley for this review.
Vesper1931 21 days ago
1888. Lady Wellingtonia Beauclerk needs the help of Veronica Speedwell and Stoker, to help solve a problem. Actually two problems, both involving Prince Albert Victor, known as Eddy. He the foolish man has given his l'amour a distinguish piece of jewellery, and now is the time of the Ripper. An enjoyable and well-written historical story, with its entertaining interactions, not just between the main pair.
literarymuseVC 22 days ago
Veronica Speedwell is asked to recover a beautiful piece of jewelry that has been given to a rich courtesan in a high-class bordello for the aristocracy. The jewelry is to be used to unite a Prince of the British Kingdom to a woman he admires. However, the Royal Family has other plans for his future marriage. Left alone the passing of this jewelry will cause a scandal that would destroy the monarchy. Veronica, as the unrecognized daughter of the ruling Prince, agrees to carry out this task. She protects the Kingdom even if her shameful status remains unacknowledged. The pages that follow will put the life of Stoker, a natural history colleague, and Veronica at risk since they are kidnapped as part of a plot to remove the remaining Germanic people from the Royal Family and begin a new reign supposedly ruled by Veronica but in reality dictated by a failing police officer and an anarchist. In the process readers will meet some of Stoker’s dead animals ready to be mounted, will see how Stoker and Veronica will survive being wounded several times, and will meet Eddy, a Prince, who is spoiled but wants to leave a good mark on the people of his Kingdom but is clearly unprepared to do any ruling. Meanwhile Veronica has finally realized how much she loves Stoker and is resolved to be united with him but is stymied by circumstances which leave the two closer to dead than alive and passionately connected. However, determination may eventually pay off which would definitely change the nature of their future sleuthing activities. You will also meet a journalist and the head of police who care about the poor and homeless individuals who wind up in lives of prostitutes and thieves. The social connection is touching although these characters seem powerless to change the lives of those they most pity. This situation makes the Jack the Ripper murders to which their plight is connected all the more devastating! A Murderous Relation… is a fun read, full of adventure, danger, mystery and passion! Enjoy the great read!