Berkley, 313 pages, $26 (c2018) (paperback due date 2/12/19)
We at MBTB enjoyed Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia Grey and her amorous and detecting experiences in England and India. It was a fight to the finish when a new book came in to see who would get to read it first. Since 2015, Raybourn has written the Veronica Speedwell series, set in Victorian London. “A Treacherous Curse” is the third in the series.
Veronica made the acquaintance of the dark, dangerous, and dashing Revelstoke “Stoker” Templeton-Vane (!) by saving his life and being saved by him in “A Curious Beginning” (c2015) and “A Perilous Undertaking” (c2017). Their mysteries are curious and involve heaving bosoms. Between them they have many talents. Stoker is a surgeon (ret.) and taxidermist. Veronica is a butterfly specialist, with some knowledge of a lot of other things, including the erotic. Their relationship is momentarily platonic, but that may change in the next volume, or the next, or the one after that. (Exhale a gentlemanly or ladylike Victorian sigh.)
Raybourn is so good at creating an intriguing set of circumstances — in this case, an Egyptologist whose expedition seems cursed — and interesting characters. We meet Stoker’s ex-wife and learn the bitter circumstances of their parting. It is her current husband that Stoker and Veronica seek to find. He was associated with the cursed expedition and now is nowhere to be found. We also meet the eccentric Tivertons of the Egyptian archaeological dig: Sir Leicester, his much younger second wife, and his daughter, Figgy. Soon we are introduced to American billionaire Horace “Horus” Stihl, a former business partner of Sir Leicester, and Horus’ son, Henry. There are the requisite associated characters to both the recent excavation and from everyone’s past. As with Agatha Christie’s classic set up, Raybourn adds a bunch of characters, then stirs and serves.
This was very entertaining with a credible mystery and tongue-in-cheek romantic asides.