Saturday, October 31, 2020

Review: A Murderous Relation by Deanna Raybourn

by Deanna Raybourn
Release Date: March 10th 2020
2020 Berkley
Kindle Edition; 320 Pages
ISBN: 978-0451490766
Genre: Fiction / Historical / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

3 / 5 Stars

Veronica Speedwell and her natural historian colleague Stoker are asked by Lady Wellingtonia Beauclerk to help with a potential scandal so explosive it threatens to rock the monarchy. Prince Albert Victor is a regular visitor to the most exclusive private club in London, known as the Club de l'Etoile, and the proprietess, Madame Aurore, has received an expensive gift that can be traced back to the prince. Lady Wellie would like Veronica and Stoker to retrieve the jewel from the club before scandal can break.

Worse yet, London is gripped by hysteria in the autumn of 1888, terrorized by what would become the most notorious and elusive serial killer in history, Jack the Ripper--and Lady Wellie suspects the prince may be responsible.

Veronica and Stoker reluctantly agree to go undercover at Madame Aurore's high class brothel, where another body soon turns up. Many secrets are swirling around Veronica and the royal family--and it's up to Veronica and Stoker to find the truth, before it's too late for all of them.
My Thoughts
A Murderous Relation is the latest entry in the Veronica Speedwell series and I enjoyed parts of it.  However, the combination of the setting, the mystery, and the characters is what truly made this series unique, and while the characters were as interesting as always, the mystery fell flat for me.  Unfortunately, the  mention of Jack the Ripper actually did the book more harm than good as it didn't really feature in this book other than I think to try to draw people into reading it. Not a big fan of commercial manipulation being used in this way.
Okay, I was finally ready for some interesting scenes between Veronica and Stoker, but all the author did was dance around their relationship; unfortunately, this left me with more of a feeling of negativity towards their developing personalities rather than something positive and I was ready to set them up with couples counselling.  I know authors often use this trope to keep readers on the tip of their toes in a 'will they, won't they' game, but as a reader, it's extremely frustrating.  It's interesting for a while, but it does eventually get old, fast.  
That being said though, I was thrilled that Veronica got to spend time with her brother.  If you are not familiar with the stories, I won't spoil it for you, but while her brother is incredibly naive and a bit thoughtless, he is definitely earnest and means well.  I was surprised to find myself really liking his character and feeling sorry for him.
This particular mystery runs parallel to the Jack the Ripper trauma and while it definitely impacts the story, it is not about the story, contrary to the synopsis.  I definitely thought there would be more interaction between the two cases but unfortunately, there was not and I think this is one of the problems with this particular entry in this series.  Things started off pretty well in the beginning of the book, and I was hoping that sentiment would hold out for the rest of the book as the previous instalment had a few plot holes to complete.  Unfortunately, at least for me, it went in a completely different direction than what I expected, almost going back to earlier instalments, which felt more like a rehash of an earlier book that I thought had been completed.   I am sincerely hoping this plot is now finally complete and new plot developments can finally be worked on and completed.  

A Murderous Relation had its moments that were definitely interesting, but I was not a fan of  the mystery as it seems like its become more plot convenience than plot development.  Furthermore, I am not a fan of the relationship dance over multiple books as it just becomes annoying after a while.  Either get on with it or get on with the story development.  However, I am not quite ready to give up on this series quite yet, so I will read the next book in this series and hope that we return to the interesting mysteries of the first three books.  As for these last two, I will leave that up to you to decide.