Desert Isle Keeper
A Murderous Relation
Take Veronica and Stoker’s steamy attraction, add an engrossing mystery, and you’ve got another hit in the Veronica Speedwell series.
A Murderous Relation starts off where A Dangerous Collaboration ends – right after Stoker has uttered the words
“Veronica Speedwell, I meant it then and I mean it now and I shall mean it with every breath until my last. I love you”
“I have plans for you in London.”
Swoon… alas Lady Wellie (Veronica and Stoker’s patron’s aunt, who also happens to be involved with the Scotland Yard Special Branch that protects the Royal Family), has plans for them too. All of London is terrified by a string of horrific murders committed by the Whitechapel Murderer, later called Jack the Ripper, and Lady Wellie fears that the Royal Family is involved.
Lady Wellie has received an anonymous note remarking that young Prince Albert Edward (aka Eddy) has been near most of the scenes where and when the murders occurred. Lady Wellie is worried… could Eddy be involved? This would bring down the Monarchy and lead to anarchy for her beloved England. In the meantime, Eddy is on the verge of another scandal – he has given a recognizable jewel to Madame Aurore, the owner of a high class pleasure club called the Club de l’Étoile. If the jewel is sold, or used for blackmail, it will come out that Eddy has behaved badly and his public image, and hopes for a particular marriage, will be ruined. Lady Wellie has told Veronica and Stoker about the second problem, but is hesitant to mention the first. Before she can, she suffers a stroke.
Veronica is reluctant to help the Royal Family, and readers of the series will know why. But then Stoker and Veronica come across the anonymous notes suggesting Eddy’s role in the Whitechapel murders and Veronica knows they must act:
“We have had riots this year. Can you imagine how much worse they would be if people believed even the merest possibility that a senior member of the royal family were involved in these crimes?”
“Anarchy,” Stoker said succinctly.
And so, Veronica and Stoker go undercover at the the Club de l’Étoile hoping to retrieve the jewel bestowed on Madame Aurore by Eddy and then clear Eddy’s name in relation to the Whitechapel murders. Once again, the game is afoot!
A Murderous Relation marks the return to Veronica’s story of the Royal Family and the cornucopia of secrets Special Branch is trying so hard to keep under wraps. We also see the return of beloved characters like Mornaday, JJ Butterworth, and Sir Hugo. Some not-so-beloved characters make their reappearance as well. As with the other books in the series, A Murderous Relation is a delightful mixture of mystery and romance. But now, Veronica and Stoker know what they mean to each other and that throws them a little off kilter – especially Veronica.
Yet now that we had returned to London, I had been aware of a creeping sensation of doubt. That a physical union between us would be gratifying I had no doubt. I was only too aware of Stoker’s many attractions. But this new and burgeoning habit to rely upon him terrified me to my marrow. I had learnt not to be dependent through the harshest of circumstances. Could I now alter that practice? Could I really throw my hard-won independence to the wind and lean upon him?
Oh, Veronica! Ms. Raybourn writes of Veronica’s struggles so beautifully. And, of course, Stoker is his usual delicious self, always there in whatever capacity Veronica needs him. The delightful banter between the two of them continues and the story is, as one has come to expect, splendidly told. Ms. Raybourn has done her homework again and she beautifully walks the line between historical truth and historical fabrication.
But, I know what most of you fans of the series want to know…will they or won’t they finally enjoy that “physical union”? Well, dear reader, I cannot say. Just read the book. You will not be disappointed either way!