A Sinister Revenge
reviewed by Linda Baker
Goodreads | NotABookSnob
Veronica Speedwell has been not precisely pining but concerned by the absence of Stoker for several months. The two parted at an impasse due to events in An Impossible Imposter, previous in the series. She has an idea where he might be but has decided to take him at his word and give him space.
However, when his older brother, Tiberius, Viscount Templeton-Vane, visits her and asks her to help him find Stoker, she drops everything. Tibirious has a problem that requires Stoker’s talents. Twenty years previously, Tiberius made his “Grand Tour” in the company of several young men, self-named “The Seven Sinners.” When the seven finished their tour and were dispersing from the Devon Templeton-Vane estate, one of their number met his end on the crumbling Devon cliffs. Lorenzo d’Ambrogio was a fossil enthusiast and had just made the discovery of a lifetime, a megalosaurus buried in the cliff. When the cliff crumbled during a storm, it took both the megalosaurus and Lorenzo. Long thought to be an accident, Tiberious was none the wiser until he received news cuttings about the deaths of two of the “Sinners” enclosed in a threatening note, proclaiming “Revenge for Lorenzo” and a threat to Tiberius. His response is to set up a reunion of sorts with the remaining survivors.
When Veronica and Tiberius find Stoker wandering in the forests of Bavaria and present the plan to him, Stoker thinks it a hare-brained and dangerous scheme. But Tibirious knows his brother well and baits the trap with a commission to build a life-sized model of a megalosaurus. As a natural historian and taxidermist, Stoker cannot resist the challenge. He is also troubled about his brother’s safety but downplays it. The people who gather at the Estate are not seemingly murderous, but there are undercurrents. At least some of them are hiding secrets regarding the death of Lorenzo and are willing to do anything to keep those secrets.
Veronica Speedwell, modeled on various “Lady Travelers” from the Victorian Era, is completely emancipated, a lepidopterist by trade. She has traveled the world bringing back specimens to earn her living. She is also stubborn as a mule and perfectly matched to Stoker. The verbal by-play between the two is always entertaining, and the scrapes they get into are often hair-raising. I enjoy this series tremendously and look forward to each one eagerly.
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