The Woman in the Veil: A Victorian Mystery

Written by Laura Joh Rowland
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

In London, during the early summer of 1890, crime scene photographer Sarah Bain, along with her assistants Lord Hugh Staunton and young Mick O’Reilly, arrive to photograph the body of a young woman whose face is disfigured. Discovering the young woman is alive, Sarah’s newspaper prints a picture of her, identifying her as “Sleeping Beauty” because the woman is unable to remember her past.

Three different people claim she “belongs” to them; one little girl claims she is her mother who has not returned from Egypt while on assignment. The young woman recalls the little girl and leaves the hospital with her. The other two claimants still insist she is related to them. When a murder is committed and one of the claimants is killed, Sarah is accused. Sarah, with the help of her accomplices, must find the real killer before she finds herself on the gallows.

This book is the author’s fourth Victorian mystery in this series. The three main characters (Sarah and her two assistants) with different backgrounds provide an appealing trio of crime solvers. Tension continues to build throughout the story as Sarah tries to determine the real identity of “Sleeping Beauty.” It’s obvious the amateur detectives have little experience in solving crimes, especially those involving murder. The author’s knowledge and understanding of the Victorian age are flawless as she brings this mystery to an exciting conclusion.