By Deanna Raybourn
Publication Date: March 10, 2020
Series or Standalone: Veronica Speedwell #5
Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Goodreads
A Murderous Relation is Stoker and Veronica’s fifth adventure in the Veronica Speedwell series. While I love this series dearly, this is my least favorite in the series. Don’t get me wrong – I still really enjoy this book, but I also wanted more from it the first time I read it. On my second reread, I did grow to appreciate it a bit more, but I still think it’s the weakest book in the series thus far.
First off, I thought this book would have more to do with Jack the Ripper than it did. I would have loved Stoker and Veronica to take on that mystery since it remains one of the most fascinating unsolved crimes. And while we get a brief run in with the Ripper, this one is much more tied up in the affairs of Prince Albert Victor and Veronica’s parentage than I expected. Raybourn is the master of historical fiction and I really enjoyed her spin on Prince Albert Victor. There were indeed rumors he might have been Jack the Ripper and I liked how she wove that in as a catalyst for this adventure.
After the highs of A Dangerous Collaboration, particularly in regards to Stoker and Veronica’s relationship, I wanted a bit more from their relationship in this one. Yes, they do finally get together though it’s very much a behind closed doors scene AND it comes at the end of the book. I wanted a little more sexual tension between them through the rest of the book leading up to the end. I love them together but this book I felt didn’t do enough justice to their relationship. I think some of that was because I have high standards for them as a couple and expected this book to go in a different direction, so it’s not Raybourn’s fault.
The mystery we do get is still a lot of fun. I really enjoyed Stoker and Veronica’s foray into Madame Aurore’s high end brothel – that was a lot of the fun to read. The adventure in this book also feels like such a throw back to the first book as the villains we met are some familiar faces. As I did my reread of the series recently, it’s fun to see the breadcrumbs as to some of the bad guys’ true nature sprinkled in in the earlier books of the series.
I feel like this book is really hard to talk about without spoiling major plot points for the series, but while it’s not my favorite in the series, I still did enjoy this one even if I thought it would go in a different direction. I know that as I reread it that it will likely grow on me more and more. I’ve only reread it twice which pales in comparison to the number of times I’ve read the other books in the series.