ARC Review: Veronica Speedwell #8

A Sinister Revenge by Deanna Raybourn

Publication Date: March 7, 2023

Summary from NetGalley:

Veronica must find and stop a devious killer when a group of old friends is targeted for death in this new adventure from the New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award–nominated author Deanna Raybourn.

Veronica’s natural-historian beau, Stoker, has been away in Bavaria for months and their relationship is at an impasse. But when Veronica shows up before him with his brother, Tiberius, Lord Templeton-Vane, he is lured back home by an intriguing job offer: preparing an iguanodon for a very special dinner party.

Tiberius has received a cryptic message—along with the obituaries of two recently deceased members of his old group of friends, the Seven Sinners—that he too should get his affairs in order. Realizing he is in grave danger but not knowing why, he plans a reunion party for the remaining Sinners at his family estate to lure the killer out while Veronica and Stoker investigate.

As the guests arrive and settle in, the evening’s events turn deadly. More clues come to light, leading Veronica, Stoker, and Tiberius to uncover a shared past among the Sinners that has led to the fatal present. But the truth might be far more sinister than what they were prepared for.

ARC provided by Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley for an honest review.


Please note that this is the eighth book in a series. I promise not to spoil this one, but there may be spoilers for previous books.

I so enjoy this series and spending time with Veronica and Stoker. I really appreciate that even though this is book eight we are still seeing character growth and the mysteries have not become mundane and boring. If you have not yet tried this series you really should.

I just adore how independent Veronica is, especially because she lives in a time when women were not allowed all that much freedom. She can also be sarcastic, but also makes spot on comments about people and society. Because of the rift that happened between her and Stoker in the last book, she does spend much of her time alone trying to solve this mystery. I loved how baffled she was over Stoker’s reaction that she hadn’t really been married after all, and when she finally got it I was so happy for her! I also liked that she realized that she could love Stoker and not necessarily lose her independence because of that.

Because Veronica did most of the sleuthing on her own, we didn’t see that much of Stoker, and I did miss their usual repartee. But the few times they do get together it was wonderful. We also saw a bit of growth in Stoker, through his relationships with his brothers. And I think he came to terms a bit more with his past relationship with his father. I loved that we got to see more of his younger brother Merryweather. He was such a dear and so different from his bold and brash older siblings.

This was also an excellent mystery. There were some great clues and twists, but I especially loved all of the red herrings that led me to one particular suspect. I was totally convinced they were the culprit until they weren’t. Many of the guests at the party were fun and interesting and made for a lively chase to figure out who the murderer was.

The writing is excellent, as it always makes me feel like I am immersed in Victorian England, through everyone’s manners and dialogue. The setting was also nicely described. There are also some references to English history, especially concerning Mary Anning and fossils found in England during this time period. They even get to dine inside a Waterhouse sculpture! What fun!

This is a great addition to the series and I really hope not the last. I so enjoy these characters and the mysteries are divine. I really must look into this author’s backlist, she has some other historical mysteries that look interesting and those should keep me busy until the next Veronica Speedwell comes out.


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