A Curious Beginning

Written by Deanna Raybourn
Review by Caroline Wilson

A Curious Beginning is the first installment in Deanna Raybourn’s new mystery series featuring Veronica Speedwell. Veronica is an intrepid traveler and natural historian who flouts Victorian morals with relish. Upon returning to England to nurse her dying foster mother, she soon finds herself embroiled in a complex plot that might mean the death of her. Along the way she meets the enigmatic Baron, who seems to know the details of her personal history, and his friend, the stoic and sometimes downright churlish Stoker. When the Baron turns up dead, Veronica and Stoker are launched on a race to discover whether their friend’s death was natural or nefarious. High jinks, suspense, and sexual tension ensue.

Deanna Raybourn excels at creating rollicking good reads featuring complex and hilarious characters. She is most known for her bestselling Lady Julia Grey mystery series. With Veronica, she takes on an entirely different character. While Lady Julia was courageous yet fairly straitlaced, Veronica is eccentric and sexually liberal, but downright fun to read about. Her mental observations are both sharp and humorous. Her sidekick (for want of a better term) Stoker is much like Lady Julia’s foil Nicholas Brisbane, dark and mysterious. Veronica and Stoker make an irreplaceable team who enjoy verbal sparring as much as sleuthing.

This novel will appeal primarily to mystery lovers, but those who like a thrilling story with romance and a lot of humor will find it and engaging read. Highly recommended.