A Dangerous Collaboration

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

Initial Thoughts
I really liked this installment in the Veronica Speedwell series. Almost the entire book takes place on a small island with a small cast of characters. There is a mystery from years before that is tied to Stoker's brother and a newer mystery before the book is over. Stocker and Veronica are both wonderful characters especially when they are working together.

ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley. Full review to be posted soon.
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Hands down my favorite Veronica Speedwell book! I love this series, and the characters have become some of my dearest friends. I love the banter, the charm, and the mystery of Deanna Raybourn's books, and A DANGEROUS COLLABORATION is no exception!
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Mystery island hides its secrets well!

The dance between Stoker and Veronica Speedwell continues. Stocker is miffed with Veronica for disappearing to Madeira for six months. Stocker's brother Tiberius (Lord Templeton-Vane) calls on Veronica to persuade her to visit an old friend of his who lives on a wind torn Cornish Island. The carrot is a rare butterfly. How can Veronica resist that. Besides Stocker is being deliberately obtuse or provocative. I can't decide, and neither can Veronica.
Tiberius' request is a ruse for something more sinister from the past, and it turns out, complicated. Apparently his friend Malcolm Romilly was to be married but the bride, Rosamund, went missing and to this day no-one has discovered any trace of her.
The island has all the required sinister trappings that one would wish for and a village woman who has "the sight!" Veronica comes in for some foretelling that she recognizes when it's nearly too late.
I love the repartee and smoldering, unsung relationship between Stocker and Veronica. And smolder it does in this story. Really the sexual tension is almost too much to bear but it does make for some wonderful scenes.
I have read all of the series thus far and would say that this one is not the place to start first up.
Of course I enjoyed this offering. I always do, and I wasn't let down.

A Berkley Group ARC via NetGalley
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Shades of historical adventure and a heroine who is uniquely fascinating! Deanna Raybourn’s A DANGEROUS COLLABORATION not only takes readers back into another era, but makes us feel part of each scene as Veronica Speedwell defies all social norms and pigeon-holing with her witty dialogue, devastating charm and iron-willed sense of justice and curiosity. Even her fear of romantic entanglements is endearing!

Deanna Raybourn delivers mystery and madness at a rapid-fire rate that never quits as Veronica discovers that a visit to a remote island hides more than the rarest of rare butterflies. I was hooked from the opening pages, knowing that these characters were going to give the performance of their lives through the twists and turns of murder, mystery and mayhem.

Move over Sherlock, Veronica is on the case! Fun, fast and freakishly addicting, love this series!

I received a complimentary copy from Berkley!

Series: Veronica Speedwell - Book 4
Publisher: Berkley (March 12, 2019)
Publication Date: March 12, 2019
Genre: Historical Mystery
Print Length: 333 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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In their fourth outing, A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn, Veronica (the semi-legitimate daughter of the Prince of Wales) and Stoker (aka the Honourable Revelstoke Templeton-Vane, third son of the sixth Viscount Templeton-Vane)  get embroiled in a murder mystery in the far reaches of Cornwall. 
It is London March 1888, and as the book opens Veronica announces to Stoker that she is off to Madeira with Lady Caroline, sister to their employer, The Earl of Rosemorran. Taken by outraged astonishment, Stoker asks if “one might inquire as to the expected duration of this expedition?” 
“One might,” Veronica replies “but one would be disappointed with the reply. I have not yet formulated my plans, but expect to be away for some months. Perhaps until the autumn.” 
Stoker is thrown for a loop, but Veronica has promised Lady Caroline to be at her side during a difficult time and for herself, she needs some distance from the “powerful emotions” Stoker has stirred in her.
Although they banter like Nick and Nora Charles of The Thin Man novel and movies, their chemistry is more like that of Sam and Diane from Cheers. They bicker, they flirt, they start to become aware of their less than platonic feelings for one another. Veronica muses that she and Stoker “were solitary creatures” but they “had discovered a mutual understanding beyond anything we had shared with others. What would become of it, I could not say. In spite of six month’ distance, I still though often of that last significant meeting, when words had hung unspoken but understood in the air. I had alternately cursed and congratulated myself on my narrow escape from possible domesticity—a fate I regarded as less desirable than a lengthy bout of bubonic plague.” Veronica thinks that “Stoker was the only man I knew who could have weakened my resolve, but it would have been a mistake, I insisted to myself. I was not made for a life of ordinary pursuits, and it would take an extraordinary man to live with me on my terms.” We shall see how long Veronica’s resolve holds. 
Veronica is home from Madeira for just a few short days when Stoker’s brother, Viscount Templeton-Vane, whisks her off to St. Maddern, a remote island off the tip of Cornwall to a possibly haunted castle. He has promised her the larvae of an elusive rare butterfly and all she must do is accompany him and, um, well, pose as his fiancé.  
Stoker’s concern is that his brother Tiberius, the Viscount means to seduce Victoria.
“Of course he does” [Victoria] agrees.
‘He stopped and fixed me with a disbelieving start. ‘You know that?”
‘I sighed. ‘Stoker, I am twenty-six years of age. I have traveled around the world three times, and I have met scores of men, some of whom I have known far more intimately than you can imagine. I promise you, I can smell a burgeoning seduction from across the room. I am no fainting virgin,” she reminds him.
“Then why in the name of bleeding Jesus are you going with him.”
“He promised Romilly Glasswings,” she said simply.
“And that is all it takes? Bought with a butterfly? He said in a particularly harsh tone.”
“Oooh, how nasty you can be when you are sulking” she observed.
Avid Lepidopterist that she is Veronica can’t resist. Just as the train is about to leave the station, Stoker appears ready to tag along.
On the train journey the Viscount mention that Lord Romilly is a dear longtime friend and that a few years ago, Lord Romilly's wife disappeared and the island gathering is a secret mission to discover what happened to Rosamund. 
But it is not just a simple case of murder. Everyone invited to Romilly’s home has a connection to his wife Rosamund who disappeared three years ago on their wedding night. Romilly is determined to find her killer. Viscount Templeton-Vane has his own reasons for wanting to find the culprit. What those reasons are remain a mystery for much of the novel.
As they get to the castle, they find priest holes and hidden hallways enough to make the atmosphere vividly spooky There will be seances, ghosts, a garden filled with beautiful but poisonous plants, and a murderer. However, this time away also gives Veronica and Stoker some alone time although the ghostly memory of Stoker’s ex wife Caroline de Morgan still bedevils the budding relationship between Stoker and Vanessa.
Veronica says that “We have both of us, acknowledged that our bond is unlike any we have shared with another on this earth. This friendship, this strange alchemy that knits us together, it is too find a thing to let it be tarnished with whatever corrosion [Caroline] has left behind. I think there can be nothing more between us until and unless all ghosts from the past have been exorcised.”
When they focus on the murder, signs point to Rosamund’s having never left the island. Her tattered travelling bag is found in one of the hidden hallways. Guests are being poisoned; a harpsicord is playing unnerving music on its own. The scene lacks only Mrs. Danvers.
As they close in on the culprit, The Viscount, Stoker, and Veronica find themselves in danger. Without drastic action they might all perish. Even at this perilous time, the brothers argue. The Viscount and Stoker have long been at odds over Veronica. The Viscounts says to Stoker, “She deserves better than you, you bloody fool. She deserves a man who would kill for her.”
“Stoker’s smile was slow and terrible. ‘You think that is love brother? That I should kill for her?” . . . “You are the fool, Tiberius, because you still do not understand. I do not love her enough to kill for her. . .. I love her enough to die for her.” And he nearly does.
Although Raybourn does not exactly follow the Twenty Rules of Detective Fiction as laid out by  Philo Vance author S.S. Van Dine, readers will love this book. And if you are not already a fan of the series, you will be.
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There’s just something about these books that make me go back for more and more, and I don’t regret it for one bit. They keep you guessing, and when you think you know who did it turns out you really don’t! I absolutely love the way Raybourn has these plots within an overarching plot, and they’re each more intricate than the next. And the way she does it reveals more and more of each character, shining a light on them that make you question whether you would befriend them the way Veronica does. But if you’ve eagerly been awaiting progress between two particular characters, it’s here in this book and boy, is it a good one!

“I loved following Veronica, Tiberius, and Stoker onto St. Maddern’s. I loved being introduced to the superstitious Cornish folk and learning about their secluded life on the island. The Romillys were certainly an interesting bunch as well, each with a story of their own to add to the mystery of the family, the island, and what exactly happened to Rosamund. I like how there are equally strong women around Veronica, and though there are things she may not necessarily agree with, Veronica appreciates them. The same goes for the men, too. I’m not sure I could be as understanding of Tiberius as she is. Sometimes I wanted to strangle him! As for Stoker, how can you not love him? He’s stubborn and an absolute softie underneath especially about those he cares.

Raybourn has done a fantastic, painstaking job of creating this utterly slow burn between Stoker and Veronica. Sometimes you question whether or not the two actually should be together due to events from their past and their present ideals. But this book was an gem to read, and Raybourn teases you mercilessly throughout–just enough to satisfy you and when you want more… She leaves you hanging!

What is there to say about the writing? Absolutely perfect and such a joy to read! Raybourn takes you right into the heart of Victorian London, and each word is delectable to read. She creates such an easy atmosphere to fall into, bringing you right into the story. I never want to go, to be honest! Others might be bogged down by the precise language, but there were times I had to look up a few phrases and words because I didn’t know what they meant. That didn’t take away from the story though, but made it all the more real.

I can’t believe the fifth and final book will be here next year! What am I going to do without Veronica and Stoker?
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The house party with a twist is such a trope in old-timey feeling mysteries... and with good reason. Take a remote location, preferably in a house with some grandeur or mystique, add in a motley assortment of house guests, all invited for a variety of reasons, most of which end up being pretenses, maybe mix in some gothic family secrets... and bam! You're all set up for a slightly claustrophobic, atmospheric whodunnit.

In the case of A Dangerous Collaboration, while the set-up is reminiscent of Agatha Christie, with perhaps a hint of Rebecca too, it's a trope that works extremely well. We pick up with our plucky heroine Veronica Speedwell, already a world-famous lepidopterist despite being only in her mid-20s, and her dark and dangerous colleague Revelstoke Templeton-Vane, known as Stoker. The two have chemistry galore. When we last saw them in A Treacherous Curse, Veronice and Stoker had just solved a mystery involving plundered Egyptian tombs and Stoker's notorious past... and were on the verge of a long-awaited lip-lock and possible confession of feelings, when they were interrupted by Stoker's older brother, the Viscount Tiberius Templeton-Vane.

In A Dangerous Collaboration, we continue mere moments later. Tiberius arrives with a proposition for Veronica -- to accompany him to a gathering at his friend Malcolm's Cornish island castle, where she'll be able to collect specimens of a rare butterfly previously thought extinct. Naturally, Veronica jumps at the chance, despite Stoker's objections. So also naturally, Stoker shows up at the island too, where the two brothers and Veronica join Malcolm, his spinster sister, his widowed sister-in-law, and his nephew for a social gathering. At which point Malcolm informs them all that he needs their help -- he wants to learn the truth of what really happened to Rosamund on their wedding day. Did she flee? Did she die? Was she murdered? There are some dark and disturbing possibilities, and all of the assembled guests, apart from Veronica and Stoker, seem to have much more at stake than is initially apparent.

The Veronica Speedwell books are utterly delightful, with their arch humor, constant sense of adventure, and layered mysteries to solve, all of which are enhanced a thousand times over by the sparks continually flying between Veronica and Stoker. While A Dangerous Collaboration felt at first a little tamer than the previous three books, probably because Veronica and Stoker did not appear themselves to be in mortal peril this time around, soon the danger grows and before long they're once again risking life and limb to learn the truth.

Along the way, we get to know Tiberius better and understand what makes him tick, as well as gaining insight on the highly charged relationship between the brothers. For me, the most delicious part of the reading experience was the mounting tension between Veronica and Stoker, as they creep closer and closer to the point where they'll just have to finally admit their feelings and declare their intentions toward one another. Like I said, these two -- chemistry, sparks, fire, passion... you name it. (But no, there's no graphic physical stuff, just tension and attraction galore.)

At the end of A Dangerous Collaboration, we get a hint about what Veronica and Stoker's next adventure will be in book #5. And now I'm jumping out of my skin, dying to read it NOW. This is really a terrific series, and I encourage everyone to start at the beginning and dive in!
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This was a series that I perpetually have no pre order. I was sold on it even before it came out. I saw the cover in 2015 and immediately knew I needed this book so I pre ordered a copy. I fell in love with Veronica Speedwell the moment I started reading.

She was refreshing, unconventional, over the top, and just so sassy. I loved the chemistry between her and her leading man, Stoker. Since the inception of this series, I have been first in line with the next installment comes out.

The last book left me feeling a little wanting in the relationship department though, so I was extra eager to get my hands on this book to see if Veronica and Stoker finally finally finally, admit that they are clearly made for each other.

Summary

Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell is whisked off to a remote island off the tip of Cornwall when her natural historian colleague Stoker’s brother calls in a favor. On the pretext of wanting a companion to accompany him to Lord Malcolm Romilly’s house party, Tiberius persuades Veronica to pose as his fiancée–much to Stoker’s chagrin.

But upon arriving, it becomes clear that the party is not as innocent as it had seemed. Every invited guest has a connection to Romilly’s wife, Rosamund, who disappeared on her wedding day three years ago, and a dramatic dinner proves she is very much on her husband’s mind.

As spectral figures, ghostly music, and mysterious threats begin to plague the partygoers, Veronica enlists Stoker’s help to discover the host’s true motivations. And as they investigate, it becomes clear that there are numerous mysteries surrounding the Romilly estate, and every person present has a motive to kill Rosamund (summary from Goodreads).

Review

While there were a few little things that I felt were frustrating, by and large this book met every one of my expectations. This book was really about Veronica for me. She was the front and center star with Stoker taking a back seat to her sleuthing. In this book we see her really coming into her own but also having to address some of her own issues that she’s tried to hard to bury.

At times I found Veronica so frustrating. Throughout the series there has been such an emphasis placed on her independence as a scientist and how unconventional she is. For an intelligent woman, she is daft when it comes to Stoker. It should be glaringly apparent to her that he loves her and what her feelings are toward him, but she struggles. While I might have found her frustrating at times, that did not diminish my feelings on this book—in fact it enhanced them.

Her struggles were authentic to her character and I think many strong women struggle with marrying or falling in love, because they fear that they will have to relinquish their independence to a measurable degree. Veronica clearly embodies this struggle and I love it. As a reader I feel a strong connection to a heroine like that.

Though Stoker takes a back seat in this book and the two don’t have a lot of ‘face-to-face’ time, I thought it was appropriate and they still managed to maintain their chemistry. I also enjoyed having Stoker’s brother in this book and hope we see him in future books.

I adore this series and am happy with the direction it’s going in and I can’t wait for the next Veronica book. I have recommended this series to a number of people (including my entire family) and I have heard nothing but positive reports!

Book Info and Rating

ebook, 336 pages
Expected publication: March 12th 2019 by Berkley
ISBN13 9780451490735
Free review copy provided by: Berkley Publishing and Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 5 stars.
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A Dangerous Collaboration: A Veronica Speedwell Mystery (Series #4). Deanna Raybourn. Penguin Publishing Group.  March 2019; hb and eBook, 336 pp.; ISBN: 9780451490711. 
 
Veronica Speedwell and her friend Stoker are off on another adventure.  This time they are initially split as Veronica is invited to travel to an island off the coast of Cornwall. Stoke’s brother, Tiberius, justifies her visit by saying Veronica is his fiancée.  High tension exists between Veronica and Stoker as both are facing their romantic feelings for each other and Veronica is unsure how such a romance would conflict with her long-held independent stance in moving through the world – whether that be mundane or adventurous with exploration.  Veronica is going to the island of the Romilley family, ostensibly to obtain a unique insect, the glasswing butterfly.

It turns out that Stoker shows up after having conjured an invitation.  Long before we meet the members of the Romilley family, there are words and an atmosphere foreshadowing something mysterious and tense.  It turns out they have been invited to help Lord Malcolm’s mystery – the disappearance of his wife hours after their wedding.  It turns out a bag belonging to the bride is all that remains.  

The plot pivots from secrets to clues in cycles – a poison garden, a woman with “the sight” who spreads her uncomfortable hints without permission, secret hide-a-way spots throughout the host’s home, the tumultuous sea adjoining the Romilley mansion, some curmudgeon characters to spice up the frequent verbal sparring, and so much more.  As usual, the author drops just enough clues at just the right spots to keep the river riveted from the first to the last page.

The descriptions of the meals will have readers drooling and heading for food, just a minor addition that deftly eases the tension between the increasingly hostile guesses and dialogue.  Every family member and even the “help” has a motive for causing harm to the missing bride.  Add to that some revelations between Stoker and Tiberius that are some part of the main mystery but become a sub-plot for Stoker, Tiberius and Veronica.

Again, A Dangerous Collaboration… is a delightful mystery that will satisfy every fan of the genre.  It’s a can’t put down book that will make readers want to also read the other three novels of the Veronica Speedwell Series.  Delightful, well-crafted writing from a highly skilled artist, Deanna Raybourn!
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I had forgotten how much I love Veronica and Stoker, but this book was a wonderful reminder. This is the fourth installment in the series and, although it started differently than previous books, I really enjoyed it. One of the things I liked best was that Stoker’s brother, Tiberius, was a major character and we learned a lot about their relationship. I also found the setting to be fun. What can be better than a castle on an island off the coast of Cornwall? Brought back memories of my misspent youth reading Victoria Holt!

My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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Veronica has an opportunity to collect a very rare butterfly and bring it to her museum at home.  She's going to stay on an island with the family that lives there and Stoker's brother is going to accompany her.  Stocker wants to go, too, but his brother tells him to say home...

Berkley sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It was published yesterday.  

Veronica is told she will have to act as his fiance during the stay so they don't scandalize the family.  She's not much worried about her reputation but she agrees.  It's hard for her, though.  He works on trying to charm her and get her in his bed but she turns him down.  She's in love with Stoker but isn't sure what to do about it.  Neither does he.  So they investigate together and remain friends.  She's not surprised when he shows up on their journey and goes to the island with them.

There's a mystery here, too.  Three years ago, Malcolm married a young woman.  She disappeared on her wedding day.  Did she run, did the sea get her, or was she murdered?  No one knows but Veronica wants to find out.

The family is odd, has strange habits and even has odd motivations.  Malcolm's little sister has a poison garden.  The housekeeper is weird.  Malcolm has become a recluse.  Whatever secrets are hidden here are hidden deep.

As they search the buildings, the outside, priest holes and caves, they find nothing.  But then Malcolm goes missing...

This is a tense dramatic tale with romance stitched in.  I love this series and am glad that Stoker and Veronica have admitted they love each other.  They're already on to the next case but maybe one day they'll have enough time talk about their future...
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This was everything I could have wanted from the next Veronica Speedwell installment. I continue to love Veronica as the narrator - she is pithy, headstrong, and also brutally honest. She subverts so many expectations of a Victorian lady while also maintaining certain elements of her femininity that make her such a compelling character. I also still love the dynamic between Veronica and Stoker, and this book kicks everything up a notch. This is a must-read for fans of historical mystery!
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I absolutely adore this series, it really has a bit of fun for everyone.  This installment might not be my favorite but it has its moments.   The beginning sets up a new adventure with Veronica taking off on an adventure without Stoker, which makes for some frustration.  The gothic/Island backdrop of the story is strong and gives off 'Rebecca' style vibes.  The first half tends to move a bit slow, dancing around the characters troubles in a frustrating way but it picks up after that and we're back in the groove of things with the mystery, danger and amazing back and forth of Veronica and Stoker, seriously I almost died when it seemed things were getting steamy in the secret passage and he leans in...to tell her shes standing on his foot...I caught the giggles and hit myself in the face with the book.  A big bonus in this is the tension running SO high bc between these two, its finally coming to a boil you guys and oh God I want it.  As usually now I will sit here in sadness waiting for the next one.
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At the close of the last book, things were left in an interesting place for Veronica and Stoker.  I was eager to proceed and see what came of them next as they faced another exciting murder adventure together while exchanging acrimonious quips.  A Dangerous Collaboration took them away from London to the atmospheric Cornish coast where they must solve a cold case mystery and perhaps discover something more.
Review

A Dangerous Collaboration is the fourth Veronica Speedwell mystery, but it doesn’t make a good standalone or place to jump into the series.  There has been a long, sizzling slow burn relationship building through the books along with other series developments making sense only when got in order.

A Dangerous Collaboration jumps in a little over six months after the finish of A Treacherous Curse.  It is six months because Veronica pulled a panic when emotions happened and ran off with her ladyship to go hunt butterflies on Madeira.  Naturally, she would die before admitting as much and she is in desperate straights when she returns knowing that she hasn’t purged Stoker from her system or found her mojo to go back to her butterfly hunts like what was supposed to result from the trip.  Life is decidedly flat particularly when her absence doesn’t spark even one letter from the person she desires to forget.  In fact, she knows she has no right to feel hurt when it was her choice and when she comes back and he treats her the same as he did before, but seeing right through her like he always had.
Fortunately, Stoker’s brother saves her with the dangling of a new mystery in the form of an old disappearance case involving his friend and the possibility of a new butterfly for her collection out on the Cornish coast so long as she poses as his fiance.  Stoker wasn’t invited, but he tags along as well for the houseparty in an atmospheric castle on the remote Cornish island with the Romilly family.  Malcolm Romilly is determined to discover once and for all what happened to his disappearing bride the day they married.

I always anticipate each new release of this series for this pairing who drive me nuts and pull me in, all the same.  But, I let myself believe things were a certain way between this pair at the end of the last book and this book snatched that away in the first pages and I had to reset and change my expectations.  As a result, I will probably be going the unpopular opinion route for a good portion of this review.  No worries, if you had a different experience when reading it.

Veronica and Stoker have been in denial since day one.  I remember saying in my review of the first book that she is terrified of commitments, relationships, and, most of all abandonment and rightly so, but hides it behind her independent, highly intellectual, equal in all ways including sexually, outrageous persona.  I call it a persona because it is something she has deliberately cultivated like her own version of armor.  Until Veronica met Stoker, this was adequate, but over the course of these books she has slowly, bit by bit had it proven to her that all that is a brittle and hollow thing, but she is too scared to try for more and then when she slips in the last book and cops to feelings, she runs in fear.

I bothered to say all that because I really thought Veronica had made it through the last hurdle by the end of the last book and this would be the start of them trying to build something deeper.  She’s a fierce, brilliant woman who will never be like the typical women of her day- Stoker never once expects her to nor does he ever disparage her mind or anything else.  He likes her as is and treats her as a partner and equal.  She knows all this on one level and revels in it, but then that sticky fear from the past takes over and she is right back where she started pretending she is an island and doesn’t want love or marriage or wanting a man for more than a night.

In this one, I skimmed and drifted through a book I felt dragged after the opening pages until around the fifty percent point when the suspense plot really kicked in and big things were happening.  It’s not that I minded the long set up of the situation or what was happening among the larger cast of characters, but with the focus, stronger than ever, on Veronica and Stoker while they churned up the same patch of earth with each other…sigh.   I couldn’t even get into the atmospheric setting and gothic overtones (that were great by the way) without being distracted.

Let’s just say, I’d had enough.  At this point, she’s a tease and an emotional coward.  Harsh, yes, but with Veronica, it’s always Stoker being juvenile with his brother or Stoker being ridiculous and sentimental because God forbid a person have feelings for you or feelings about his brother cutting in and Veronica letting him.  She knows what his wife did to him in the past and that his family was torn since he was a child and he’s just now tentatively starting things with his brother.  But hey, let’s rile the guy up emotionally and pull back and then play coy while involving the brother.  On purpose or not, she did it.  I was honestly to the point where I wanted Stoker to back away and leave her with his brother.  Yep, I was just that exasperated, but then I held in there for that precious solid gold moment when Stoker shines with a heroic inferno that burned away all the petty shirking she was doing.  That scene was almost worth putting up with everything before it.

The mystery was a gothic style and that was the bright and shining bit.  Even while the romance end was driving me batty, seeing them in action as a detecting pair, sparring and being witty while getting to the bottom of matters, I was as dazzled and thrilled as always.  This is where this pair has always shone for me.  I actually had my finger on the right answer, but then thought that I was wrong when the second disappearance happened.  Loved the setting of foggy, isolated Cornish island shrouded in legend and lore with a castle full of hidden passages, a possible ghost, a definite disappearance and a house full of suspects.

Now, I did yammer on for some time about something that got my dander up and it probably seems I didn’t like this book.  But in truth, aside from my wild hare about that relationship, everything else was stellar.  And, I would even go so far as to say that many people will have more patience and generosity than I did and not mind so much what got to me.  This was a solid historical romantic suspense in a shining, witty series that I can recommend to those who enjoy the genre and strong willed characters.

I rec’d this book via Net Galley from Berkley to read in exchange of an honest review.
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Series: A Veronica Speedwell Mystery (Book 4)
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Berkley (March 12, 2019)

A Dangerous Collaboration (A Veronica Speedwell Mystery) by Deanna Raybourn is the fourth Veronica Speedwell mystery. Normally, I don't read series books, but I'm glad I read this one.  I've added A Curious Beginning (A Veronica Speedwell Mystery Book 1) to my reading list.  I understand book 5 is underway!

A Dangerous Collaboration takes place in 1888 at a castle on an island in Cornwall, England.  This is a terrific setting for a who-done-it mystery.

Veronica is a feisty women for her time.  She is independent and vows never to marry.  Stoker is her colleague/love interest.  I enjoyed the sexual tension between the two of them.

The mystery is entertaining.  The lord of the castle gathers various people together to find out what had caused his new bride to suddenly disappear.

This was my first read on the Kindle Paperwhite.  The ability to look up words on the fly came in handy while reading this novel.  Not being familiar with some of the words did not hamper my enjoyment of this novel.  The Kindle Paperwhite has a Vocabulary Builder feature.  I'll share part of the definitions of a few words here:

chat-e-laine

n.  a women in charge of a large house.   HISTORICAL a set of short chains attached to a women's belt, used for carrying keys or other items.

 mid 19th cent.: from French chatelain, from medieval latin castellanus

ret-i-cule

1 CHIEFLY HISTORICAL a woman's small handbag, originally netted and typically having drawstring and decorate with embroidery or beading.

 easy 18th cent.:from French reticule, from Latin reticulum.

vis-count

n. a British nobleman ranking above a baron and below an earl.

late Middle English: from Old French visconte, from medieval Latin vicecomes, vicecomit

What Others Are Saying

Another spectacular addition to the Veronica Speedwell series--possibly my favorite so far, in fact. This is the series (and the author) that I go to when I just want to have a jolly good time reading a novel. (Raybourn never disappoints) I love the mysteries. I love the dialogue. I love the way Veronica and Stoker spar with one another. And I love the slow unraveling of these complex character's hearts and motivations. Nothing is rushed. Everything is savored. By me at least. This series should definitely be at the top of your list if you love historical fiction and want to read something whip-smart and engaging. - Ariel Lawhorn

A brooding castle, rain-lashed windows, hidden passages, and a séance all contribute to a delightfully creepy tale with twists that would make Daphne Du Maurier proud. Agent: Pam Hopkins, Hopkins Literary Assoc. - Publishers Weekly
First Paragraph

London, March 1888

What the devil do you mean you're leaving?  Stoker demanded.  He surveyed the half-packed carpetbag on my bed as I folded in a spare shirtwaist and Magalhaes's Guide to Portuguese Lepidoptery.  It was a weightier volume than one might expect, featuring an appendix devoted to butterflies of Madeira and certain flamboyant moths found only in the Azores.
Material Connection

Thank you to the author, Deanna Raybourn and the publishers at Penguin Random House/Berkley Publishing Group for providing me a copy of this novel.  I also downloaded the ARC from NetGalley.

I received this book, A Dangerous Collaboration (A Veronica Speedwell Mystery) by Deanna Raybourn , free of charge, from the publisher, Berkley Publishing Group.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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Veronica Speedwell and Revelstoke Templeton-Vane have come to an impasse in their relationship--each realizing their feelings for the other, and each believing the other is still too grieving and damaged by past events to act on such feelings. Hence Veronica heads for Madeira with Lady Cordelia for several months while Stoker continues cataloging and restoring the taxidermied creatures of Lord Rosemorran's proposed museum. When she returns, she finds she's still not ready to return to her previous, comfortable relationship with Stoker, and she leaps at the chance to go off with Stoker's elder brother, Tiberius, a.k.a. Viscount Templeton-Vane, to visit an old friend of his and acquire larvae of the rare Romilly glasswing butterfly.

While the butterflies and the offer of larvae is real, it's really just bait to get Veronica to accompany him, and to lure Stoker to follow them, thinking he's defying rather than accommodating his older brother.

The real reason is that their host, Malcolm Romilly, wants to investigate the disappearance, and possible death, of his his bride, Rosamund, on their wedding day three years earlier.

Malcolm wants Tiberius there. Tiberius wants Veronica and Stoker there. They are, after all, the ones who keep getting involved in quite dangerous investigations. Also present are Malcolm's sister Mertensia; Helen Romilly, widow of Malcolm and Mertensia's brother Lucian; Helen and Lucian's son Caspian; Mrs. Trengrouse the housekeeper, who started out ans the nursery maid when Malcolm and his siblings were infants; and assorted other servants.

Nobody, of course, is telling the whole truth. Tiberius was in love with Rosamund, and wasn't present for the wedding because he decided he couldn't stand it and went to Russia with his hated father, who has since died. Malcolm thinks it's very likely Rosamund ran away to be with Tiberius, or perhaps tried to and drowned, trying to get off the island. Helen and Caspian had reason to fear a marriage to Rosamund would produce an heir that would cut out Caspian as heir. Both Mertensia and Mrs. Trengrouse had quarreled with Rosamund the day before the wedding, because she had plans for the castle that would have eliminated their roles there.

Really, everyone had a potential motive for killing Rosamund and hiding her body. Of those present, only Veronica and the Templeton-Vane brothers couldn't have done it.

That means, of course, the murderer is among them. Unless it was an accident, but then where's the body? Or perhaps it was the mermaids or the piskies...at least some of the islanders believe that's a possibility.

It's a complicated mystery with not a lot to go on. Along the way, we learn interesting revelations about Stoker and Tiberius, especially Tiberius, and there are hints dropped from Lady Wellie that the next case Veronica and Stoker will tackle may be the case of Jack the Ripper.

Good characters, good story. Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley from the publisher via NetGalley, and am reviewing it voluntarily.
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Title:  A Dangerous Collaboration
Author:  Deanna Raybourn
Series:  Veronica Speedwell, #4
Pages:  336
Publisher:  Berkley
Date:  March 12, 2019

Summary:

Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell is whisked off to a remote island off the tip of Cornwall when her natural historian colleague Stoker's brother calls in a favor. On the pretext of wanting a companion to accompany him to Lord Malcolm Romilly's house party, Tiberius persuades Veronica to pose as his fiancée--much to Stoker's chagrin. But upon arriving, it becomes clear that the party is not as innocent as it had seemed. Every invited guest has a connection to Romilly's wife, Rosamund, who disappeared on her wedding day three years ago, and a dramatic dinner proves she is very much on her husband's mind.

As spectral figures, ghostly music, and mysterious threats begin to plague the partygoers, Veronica enlists Stoker's help to discover the host's true motivations. And as they investigate, it becomes clear that there are numerous mysteries surrounding the Romilly estate, and every person present has a motive to kill Rosamund...


Review:

The first time I read this book I didn’t particularly like it.  There was too much stress between Veronica and Stoker.  It wasn’t the normal disagreements and shouting matches, it was indifference.  Even though I thought Stoker’s attitude was false, I wasn’t sure.  And Veronica is never comfortable showing her softer feelings. 

With the second reading, however, I was better able to see that even though it looked like they were drifting apart, they were really struggling to make a connection.  I could breathe a sigh of relief.

Stoker’s eldest brother Tiberius is integral to the plot.  Not only does he drag Veronica and Stoker into solving a murder, there are subplots as well.  They grew up together as brothers, but Tiberius had always tormented Stoker.  And Stoker being Stoker certainly returned the favor.  Their relationship was explored and hopefully improved in this book.  In addition, Tiberius strikes me as a man-whore and he definitely makes a play for Veronica.  I am not sure how much is because he desires her or because he is getting back at Stoker.  Either way, he doesn’t come across as very likable.

The murder case itself is three years old.  The way they talk about it, it seems more like decades old.  Anyway, I can’t really say Stoker and Veronica solve the case.  It is more the murderer gives themselves away because they are afraid of being discovered.  It all takes place on a island off England which is inhabited by mermaids, piskies, and those with the sight.  There is a garden of poisons where even breathing the air is dangerous.  All in all, not a comfortable place to live . . . or die.

My immediate reaction after finishing the book the first time was when is the next one due out?  After the second reading, my reaction is “I want it now!”  It’s definitely worth four stars and if I hadn’t spent most of the book worrying about Stoker’s and Veronica’s relationship, I would probably have given it five stars.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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A Dangerous Collaboration is the fourth installment in author Deanna Raybourn's Veronica Speedwell series. If you are unfamiliar with this series, it is a historical mystery series set in Victorian England, featuring intrepid adventuress and sleuth Veronica Speedwell who loves Arcadia Brown's adventures. Having once again won the day in the previous installment called A Treacherous Curse, 26-year old Lepidopterist Veronica Speedwell decides to take a break. 

A break that lasts 6 months and puts a strain on her relationship with Revelstoke (Stoker) Templeton-Vane her partner in the past 3 books. Upon return, Veronica finds her self drawn to yet another mystery when Lord Tiberius Templeton-Vane asks her to accompany him to Lord Malcolm Romilly’s house party off the coast of Cornwall. Tiberius persuades Veronica to pose as his fiancée—much to Stoker’s chagrin. Upon arriving, it becomes clear that the party is not as innocent as it had seemed. 

Every invited guest, except Veronica and Stoker, had a connection to Romilly’s wife, Rosamund, who disappeared on her wedding day three years ago. The mystery in this one is especially interesting because it takes place on a small island, somewhat akin to a locked-room mystery, as it would be nearly impossible for the missing person to have left the island - alive or dead - without someone having helped and others having noticed. Yet it's been three years and she disappeared without a trace. What happened to her? Why? Who knows the truth? 

Even though Stoker and Veronica were often at odds due to what was presumed to have happened when she was gone, there are no better partners. Yes, there's Sherlock and Holmes, but Stoker and Veronica bring an entirely different skill set to helping solve curious mysteries that seem utterly unsolvable. Plus, I wouldn't want these two to be with anyone else. Not even Tiberius. Over the course of four books now, readers have watched the couple dance  around each other in what has sometimes been a most frustrating push-forward-pull-back dance you will ever witness. The sexual tension is so thick that you need a very sharp knife to cut through it. It's fair to say that I am excited about the possibilities for the 5th installment in this series having picked up on several Easter Eggs that appear in this book.
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I love this series! It has a strong female character who does what she wants, no matter what others think. Plus her strong personality isn't annoying like can happen in other books with a strong female who ends up seeming pushy and bitchy instead. I enjoyed the interaction between the main character and the people living on the island, showing how protective small villages could be of their ruling families. The ending had a great twist that I honestly didn't see coming. I really thought the killer was someone else.
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A Dangerous Collaboration between Veronica and Stoker’s brother, the Viscount, result in a much more gothic entry in the series.

Veronica Speedwell is not your typical Victorian woman. She doesn’t believe in marriage but does believe in male companionship. She has a career as a lepidopterist, or butterfly researcher. She has a flirtatious relationship with her work partner, Stoker.

In Victorian London, Veronica Speedwell is leaving her partner, Stoker, behind to search for exotic butterflies on Madeira, a remote island in the Atlantic Ocean. Lady Cordelia agreed to travel with Veronica as a vacation of sorts.

When they return, Stoker’s brother has a task for Veronica to complete. The Viscount Tiberius asks Veronica to go with him and retrieve a rare butterfly’s larvae on St. Maddern’s Isle. On the way to the island, the Viscount states that their host on the island, Malcolm, is religious and they must pose as an engaged couple.

Once they arrive, Malcolm’s true motive becomes apparent. He wants them to solve the mystery of his bride’s disappearance three years earlier. To do so, they call on Stoker for help.

I adore this series. In, I missed the usual banter between Veronica and Stoker. I wasn’t feeling the Viscount’s flirtation. What happened to the bro code? I did enjoy the atmosphere on the island especially the gothic castle and its poison garden. All fans of the series must read A Dangerous Collaboration as it advances the overarching story plus it is great fun. 5 stars!

Thanks to Berkley Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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