Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn

How often do you read a novel and find it so wonderful that it makes you want to not only reread it, but also read another book? Deanna Raybourn's third Veronica Speedwell mystery, A Treacherous Curse, moves the characters' relationship along, while also making me want to go back and reread Jane Eyre.

After the Earl of Rosemorran fell over his Galapagos tortoise, the planned expedition to the South Pacific is off, and Veronica and Stoker, the scientist, Templeton-Vane, are back to piecing together museum pieces at Belvedere, the earl's estate. For entertainment, Veronica and George, the young hall boy, read newspaper reports of the Tiverton Expedition to Egypt.The stories turned to accounts of appearances of Anubis, the god of the underworld, and curses because of a recovered sarcophagus. Did the curses cause the death of the project director and the disappearance of photographer John de Morgan, who seemed to have absconded with wife and a diadem? It was only when Sir Hugo, head of Scotland Yard's Special Branch, called Stoker and Veronica to his house, that Veronica learns De Morgan was once Stoker's best friend, the man who left him to die in the Amazon. And, De Morgan's wife? She is Stoker's ex-wife, whose stories of Stoker's brutality scandalized London.

If Stoker hadn't once beaten De Morgan almost to death, he might not now be considered a suspect in his disappearance. The meeting with Sir Hugo sets the two on an investigative path. They need to find the missing photographer, who seems to have disappeared from Dover, look for the stolen diadem, and, worst of all, in Stoker's opinion, interview his ex-wife. The two also arrange a meeting with the Tivertons, to discuss the expedition and ask a few questions. They don't realize how dangerous their task is. And, someone seems to be following them all over London.

A Treacherous Curse is an exciting adventure with marvelous characters. Veronica, with her independence, and her ability to match wits with Stoker, has become a favorite character. She's an intelligent, adventurous woman who actually is derived from stories of women of the Victorian age who did travel throughout the world. She's shrewd and knowledgeable as to how to deal with men, Stoker in particular. The two are irreverent about everything, and they make a perfect duo. Their developing relationship is fascinating to observe.

Fans of Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody books should enjoy this series, and this book in particular. Jane Eyre? I don't want to spoil the actual story. Both A Treacherous Curse and Jane Eyre deal with social standing and prejudice. But, I'm not going to set the scene for you when the similarity hit me in the face. My favorite line from the book, though, is, "Reader, I carried him."

Deanna Raybourn's website is www.deannaraybourn.com

A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn. Berkley. 2018. ISBN 9780451476173 (hardcover), 320p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.




10 comments:

Kay said...

OK, I love the 'reader, i carried him' quote. LOL

I need to begin this series. I've enjoyed other books by this author and I love Amelia and Radcliffe.

Lesa said...

Well, it's about time, Kay!

Trisha said...

Hmm, maybe I'll have to give these a try also. I liked her other series with Lady Julia and have resisted trying this one. Something about the blurbs' descriptions of Veronica rubs me the wrong way. My guess is that she seems anachronistic. But I do love and miss Amelia (and Nefret and Ramses) and trust your judgement.

Lil said...

This sounds like quite the read. And I still have my tattered paperback copy of A Crocodile on the Sandbank. It had carried me through a difficult time when I needed a good dose of humor. I love how books can do that for you.

Lesa said...

Actually, not at all, Trisha. I heard the author speak about women such as Veronica, and there were all kinds of women adventurers of her type in that period of history, women who went off on their own, and wrote books afterwards. It helped to hear Deanna talk about them.

Lesa said...

Yes, they can, Lil. They certainly can.

Sharon said...

I loved the other two books in the series and cannot wait for this one. I am number one in the reserve queue at my library. Great review Lesa!

Lesa said...

Thank you, Sharon. You're going to love it. It's even better than the earlier books.

Gram said...

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, it sounds as if it is time to play catchup...

Lesa said...

The second wasn't quite as good, Gram, but I loved this one!