What do Jack the Ripper, the heir to England’s throne and a murder in a brothel have in common? The shenanigans of Veronica Speedwell and Stoker Templeton-Vane, of course! In this fifth addition to the popular historical mystery series by Deanna Raybourn, Veronica Speedwell, our favourite lepidopterist and her right-hand man Stoker, the dashing taxidermist, get embroiled in a royal scandal with connections to the vicious murders committed by Jack the Ripper. Oooo, right?!
As the blurb indicates, A Murderous Relation has a Jack the Ripper connection but Veronica has only a brief, albeit totally sinister, brush with the Ripper legend. I had hoped Ripper would have been included more substantially into the main plot but I give Raybourn high praise for including information on the misrepresentation of Jack the Ripper’s victims (for further info, I highly recommend reading Hallie Rubenhold’s book The Five, which gives a detailed and accurate look at the lives of the victims).
This is one of my favourite series but this installment took me a bit of time to get into the nitty gritty of the mystery. There’s a little less action this time around and while there are scenes that ramp up the energy, the shenanigans seemed to be somewhat subdued. But never fear, the simmering sexual tension between Veronica and Stoker continues! A couple of sassy secondary characters also make a return – including Lady Wellie and an amorous tortoise (naturally). These lovely ladies make brief appearances and add some levity.
This is a good addition to one of my favourite series that continues to pair a wonderfully atmospheric mystery with two characters that have a penchant for getting into trouble and an affinity for wonderfully witty banter. If you haven’t met Victoria and Stoker yet, I highly suggest you do. You can find copies of the first four books in the series at WPL and can put a hold on A Murderous Relation at WPL for its March 10th release date!
— Laurie P.