MYSTERY

A Grave Robbery

Berkley (A Veronica Speedwell Mystery, Bk. 9). Mar. 2024. 336p. ISBN 9780593545959. $28. M
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The Earl of Rosemorran, patron and employer for Veronica Speedwell and Stoker, brings Stoker a new project. The earl has purchased a crystal casket containing a life-size waxwork sleeping beauty, and he wants Stoker to install a clockwork mechanism to make the figure appear to breathe. When Stoker makes the first cut, he discovers that the sleeping beauty is an actual human body disguised as an anatomical waxwork. He wants to identify her and provide a proper burial, while Veronica wants to find out if the woman died by suicide or was murdered. Their misadventures take them from a Victorian circus to a mortuary and underground railroad. In order to catch a villain, the couple recruit allies, including a woman reporter, a Scotland Yard detective, a hermit, and an undertaker. The entire team is needed to launch Veronica’s audacious scheme to substitute herself for the waxen beauty. But Veronica makes a costly mistake when she underestimates her opponent.
VERDICT The ninth Veronica Speedwell book, following A Sinister Revenge, spins off Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It’s possibly the best in the series, with Raybourn’s trademark banter, innuendo, and outstanding lead characters, along with a fascinating plot and supporting cast.
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