A DANGEROUS COLLABORATION Deanna Raybourn
A Veronica Speedwell Mystery
Berkley
ISBN: 9780451490735
March 2019
Mystery 

England 1888 

Veronica Speedwell, lepidopterist and amateur sleuth, has been invited to the island of St. Maddern off the Cornwall coast to, hopefully, find a presumed extinct butterfly called the Romilly Glasswing. It is her fellow scientist, Stoker's brother, Lord Templeton-Vane, who issues the invitation, much to Stoker's disdain. The brothers are not the best of friends, long story short Stoker is their mother's son, but not their father's son! At any rate, Veronica accepts and, because their host is a Roman Catholic, she and the viscount pretend to be engaged. Tiberius, Lord Templeton-Vane, is upset upon their arrival at the tiny train station in Cornwall to find Stoker waiting for them. What Tiberius hasn't completely confessed to either Veronica or Stoker is that there is a dark reason for their visit to St. Madden.

There is clearly tension between him and Tiberius, and all is revealed later. Three years ago, just after their marriage ceremony, Malcolm's new wife, Rosamunde, vanished. No trace of her has been found. Malcolm has invited Tiberius, a lifelong friend, his sister-in-law, Helen, widow of Malcolm's brother, and her son, Caspian to the island. Malcolm's sister, Mertensia, and housekeeper, Mrs. Trengrouse, round out the odd combination of people in the house. Just what does Malcolm have in mind by bringing this group together?

Veronica and Stoker are at odds due to her pretending to be Tiberius 's  fiancée. Both of them pretend not to care, but that tension is fairly apparent. They have worked together in the past on other mysteries, but this one seems to be more personal than others due to Stoker's brother's involvement. What connection is there between Malcolm, Rosamunde and the viscount? Things get even more confusing when Malcolm asks Helen, a self-professed psychic, to try to contact Rosamund.

What happens during that episode sets the tone for Veronica and Stoker to search for answers to more than one question.

A DANGEROUS COLLABORAT I ON is my first Veronica Speedwell mystery, and I will definitely read the previous ones now. There are plenty of red herrings in this tale, almost everyone except Veronica and Stoker seem to have a reason to not want Malcolm and Rosamund e 's marriage to work out. But who had the most to lose? An excellent, beautifully written mystery, I highly recommend A DANGEROUS COLLABORATION and encourage readers to also read the previous novels: A CURIOUS BEGINNING, A PERILOUS UNDERTAKING and A TREACHEROUS CURSE.

Jani Brooks