A Perilous Undertaking: A Veronica Speedwell Mystery (Book 2)
by Deanna Raybourn
“London, 1887. Victorian adventuress and butterfly hunter Veronica Speedwell receives an invitation to visit the Curiosity Club, a ladies-only establishment for daring and intrepid women. There she meets the mysterious Lady Sundridge, who begs her to take on an impossible task – saving society art patron Miles Ramsforth from execution. Accused of the brutal murder of his artist mistress Artemisia, Ramsforth will face the hangman’s noose if Veronica cannot find the real killer.
But Lady Sundrudge is not all that she seems, and unmasking her true identity is only the first of the many secrets Veronica must uncover. Together with her natural historian colleague Stoker, Veronica races against time to find the true murderer…”
I received A Perilous Undertaking at the same time as A Curious Beginning from Titan Books, this is due to the third book (at the time) was about to be released. I definitely feel that you need to read the first book to follow properly with the backstory of some of the characters. Although this is a different case if you chose to pick this one up first, but if you want to feel fully invested in the characters I would recommend reading A Curious Beginning first.
A couple of months after the events that transpired in A Curious Beginning, Veronica and Stoker have been building towards an adventure to Fiji, although that is now to be dashed after Lord Rosemorran breaks his femur falling over Patricia (his beloved pet Giant Tortoise). Cordelia extends an invitation to Veronica to the Curiosity Club where she introduces her to Lady Sundridge. Veronica quickly unmasks Lady Sundridge for who is truly is, but is then drawn in with a plea to help overturn a wrongful conviction in a murder case. Of course, Veronica cannot refuse a challenge and drags Stoker along for the ride.
After reading A Curious Beginning last week, I knew I had to jump straight back into Veronica’s story with A Perilous Undertaking. I was not disappointed. The sass that I love was there in buckets, along with the forward thinking of certain characters. Although there seem to be far more forward thinking characters in this book compared to the last, this may be due to the fact that we are dealing with Bohemians. I was completely hooked, and read it in one day, I could not put it down (I do think I took longer over it in total than A Curious Beginning).
My favourite characters have to be Veronica and Stoker, I did not get as attached to the new characters as I did in the first book, and I was saddened that we did not see more of returning characters. I love that the relationship between Veronica and Stoker has grown in the couple of months since we left them. However, they are still very sassy and sarcastic with each other but they still have a great partnership and can tell what the other wants to say, do or know. I am looking forward to seeing more of this pairing.
My favourite part has to be the parts with Stoker and Veronica, so most of it, but I do love the parts where they are not detecting and they are just themselves at the Belvedere. I also loved getting to know more of Stoker’s family and more of his allusive background. I enjoyed getting to know a different subset of Victorian culture as well, we all hear about the Bohemians but never get to delve too far into their lives.
A Perilous Undertaking does finish on a cliffhanger of sorts, and A Treacherous Curse has just been published so you do not have to wait to find out what happens next.
While reading this book, I described it as two Natural Historians taking on a case of reversing a murder charge in an artist’s death. I would recommend to older teenagers and adults. 4 out of 5.