Posts Tagged ‘Veronica Speedwell’

mosaic butterfly austin tx

Today’s #mondaydelights post is a bit of a double-up – rather like its main character. Veronica Speedwell, whose name signifies both a plant and the butterflies she studies, is a lepidopterist working in (or, when she can, out of) 19th-century London. She’s the star of a mystery series by Deanna Raybourn, and her adventures have been keeping me highly entertained this winter.

I read Veronica’s first adventure, A Curious Beginning, several years ago, but picked the series back up after reading Raybourn’s recent witty standalone, Killers of a Certain Age. The series’ format is more or less standard by now: Veronica and her colleague, Stoker, a natural historian who has also had plenty of adventures abroad, are plugging along with their standard work of cataloging a natural history museum for their wealthy patron. A mystery, often brought to their door by a friend or one of Stoker’s brothers, interrupts their cataloging, and the two of them go haring off around London (or, sometimes, other parts of England) to recover a stolen item or solve a murder or clear a man’s name before he hangs.

I’ve said before that witty British mysteries are my catnip, and these fit the bill (though I occasionally get tired of Veronica’s rather high opinion of herself). Stoker is a complex, interesting character; their wealthy patrons are kind and also hiding a secret or two; and Stoker’s brothers, plus other London high-society types, provide plenty of wit and intrigue. I appreciate Veronica’s boldness and her scientific mind; the two of them usually land in at least one ridiculous situation, either romantic or life-threatening or both; and each book’s end usually sees them settled back at home, a glass of whiskey (or two) comfortably in hand.

Raybourn’s eye for historical detail is wonderful, including costumes, settings and England’s highly stratified class system. I love watching her and Stoker mix with characters from all levels of society, including aristocrats, Scotland Yard policemen, servants, barmaids and (occasionally) members of Queen Victoria’s royal family.

As both this winter and a head cold have dragged on, I’ve enjoyed curling up with Veronica – and I’ve learned a thing or two about butterflies (and taxidermy) along the way.

Have you read any of Veronica’s adventures? I’d love to hear what you think.


Read Full Post »