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A Grave Robbery

The ninth installment in NYT best-selling author Deanna Raybourn's captivating Veronica Speedwell historical mysteries series, is a wonderful blend of mystery, intrigue, history, and romance.

This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and it absolutely lived up to my high expectations. The intriguing plot, the vivid historical setting, and the compelling characters all came together to create an exciting and immersive story.

We are transported to Victorian London, where Veronica and Stoker find themselves embroiled in a macabre mystery. What starts as a seemingly innocent task of inserting clockwork into a wax figure takes a sinister turn when they discover the figure is not a mere "anatomical Venus" (a detailed wax model that medical schools used) but a real woman preserved in wax, setting off a thrilling investigation.

Raybourn's writing style is a perfect match for the Victorian setting, with Veronica's dialogue being a standout. Her beautifully crafted, period-appropriate turns of phrase are not only cleverly observational and quick-witted but also often very humorous, adding an entertaining layer to the narrative.

The characters are wonderful and well-developed. Veronica, our fearless feminist protagonist and lepidopterist/butterfly hunter, is a delight. Dashing and slightly dangerous, Stoker was raised a gentleman but has lived a colorful life and now works as a taxidermist. The sizzling chemistry between him and Veronica leaps off the page, making their romance and banter all the more enjoyable. Old favorites also appear, and new characters are introduced, ones I hope will return.

The mystery was fascinating, a bit dark, with gothic elements, and definitely unique. I had not heard of an anatomical Venus before. It was also well-plotted, twisty, and suspenseful. I cannot recommend this series highly enough! Excelsior!

Thank you to Berkley Publishing for the free book!

My steep was Violet Black Tea from Simpson Vail Tea

I love this violet-flavored black tea in the spring and summer!



Veronica and Stoker discover that not all fairy tales have happy endings, and some end in murder, in this latest historical mystery from New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award–nominated author Deanna Raybourn.

Lord Rosemorran has purchased a wax figure of a beautiful reclining woman and asks Stoker to incorporate a clockwork mechanism to give the Rosemorran Collection its own Sleeping Beauty in the style of Madame Tussaud’s. But when Stoker goes to cut the mannequin open to insert the mechanism, he makes a gruesome discovery: this is no wax figure. The mannequin is the beautifully preserved body of a young woman who was once very much alive. But who would do such a dreadful thing, and why? 

Sleuthing out the answer to this question sets Veronica and Stoker on their wildest adventure yet. From the underground laboratories of scientists experimenting with electricity to resurrect the dead in the vein of Frankenstein to the traveling show where Stoker once toured as an attraction, the gaslit atmosphere of London in October is the perfect setting for this investigation into the unknown. Through it all, the intrepid pair is always one step behind the latest villain—a man who has killed once and will stop at nothing to recover the body of the woman he loved. Will they unmask him in time to save his next victim? Or will they become the latest figures to be immortalized in his collection of horrors?

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