A princess is missing and a peace treaty is on the verge of collapse in this new Veronica Speedwell adventure from the New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-nominated author Deanna Raybourn.
January 1889. As the newest member of the Curiosity Club--an elite society of brilliant, intrepid women--Veronica Speedwell is excited to put her many skills to good use. As she assembles a memorial exhibition for pioneering mountain climber Alice Baker-Greene, Veronica discovers evidence that the recent death was not a tragic climbing accident but murder. Veronica and her natural historian beau, Stoker, tell the patron of the exhibit, Princess Gisela of Alpenwald, of their findings. With Europe on the verge of war, Gisela's chancellor, Count von Rechstein, does not want to make waves--and before Veronica and Stoker can figure out their next move, the princess disappears.
Having noted Veronica's resemblance to the princess, von Rechstein begs her to pose as Gisela for the sake of the peace treaty that brought the princess to England. Veronica reluctantly agrees to the scheme. She and Stoker must work together to keep the treaty intact while navigating unwelcome advances, assassination attempts, and Veronica's own family--the royalty who has never claimed her.
Set in 1889, Raybourn's lively sixth Veronica Speedwell mystery (after 2020's A Murderous Relation) finds Veronica, "the semi-legitimate daughter of the Prince of Wales," and her lover, Revelstoke "Stoker" Templeton-Vane, arranging a tribute exhibition at London's Curiosity Club for the late Alice Baker-Greene, a world-renowned mountaineer, who a few months earlier fell to her death from the highest mountain in the tiny European duchy of Alpenwald. While unpacking Alice's artifacts, they discover the rope she was using on that fateful climb was obviously cut, clear evidence that Alice's fall was no accident. As usual, the headstrong Veronica insists on investigating, and Stoker has no choice but to go along. In the rollicking adventure that ensues, Veronica impersonates a missing Alpenwalder princess in order to avert an international incident and ends up the target of an assassination attempt. Veronica's confused emotions about her birth family, as well as the touchingly complicated romantic relationship between fiercely independent Veronica and stalwart Stoker, bolster the appealing plot. Fans of feisty Victorian heroines will hope Veronica has a long career.