Tuesday, January 10, 2017


This January marks the arrival of New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn’s A PERILOUS UNDERTAKING (Berkley Hardcover; January 10, 2016; $26.00)—the highly anticipated second installment of the breathtaking Veronica Speedwell mystery series.

Though a lepidopterist by trade, Veronica Speedwell has been up to much more than chasing after rare specimens of butterflies. Continuing on after the exhilarating adventures of A Curious Beginning, it’s difficult to imagine how the spunky and spirited Victorian-era sleuth could find herself caught up in even more thrilling and dangerous exploits. But young Miss Speedwell is not one to disappoint. 

After weeks of chasing down clues leading to her mysterious past, being on the run for her life, and having quite literally run off to join a traveling circus, cooling her heels in a relatively calm London already has Veronica itching for her next invigorating jaunt. Happily, just such an opportunity soon arrives at her doorstep in the form of an invitation to the Curiosity Club, a ladies-only establishment dedicated to celebrating society’s most intrepid and brilliant women.

Shortly after arriving at the club, Veronica is introduced to Lady Sundridge who implores her to undertake a seemingly impossible task. Miles Ramsforth, one of society’s well-known patrons of the arts, has been convicted of a brutal murder that Lady Sundridge is certain he did not commit. With little time left to discover the true killer’s identity, Veronica is faced with a race against time before Miles is set to hang for the crime. However, Lady Sundridge is not exactly what she seems either—a revelation that only serves as the first of many that Veronica must make in order to solve the case.

Once again Veronica joins forces with her natural historian colleague, Stoker—her frequently uncouth, though ruggedly handsome companion—as they set off to unravel this dark mystery that becomes increasingly intricate with each clue they unearth.

With Raybourn’s clever plot construction and provocative storytelling, A PERILOUS UNDERTAKING is sure to appeal to fans of Alan Bradley, Jacqueline Winspear, and Ann Perry.

First Book in the Series

The inception of A PERILOUS UNDERTAKING started with the very real female adventurer known as Margaret Fountaine. Fountaine was a Victorian lepidopterist and diarist who spent her days traveling and studying butterflies, ultimately achieving financial independence through this career. This sort of independent lifestyle was certainly unusual (and even frowned upon) for a 19th century woman, however it wasn’t until 100 years after her death when her diaries were released to the public that it was revealed just how modern the life she led really was. In addition to recording her adventures and studies in lepidoptery, Fountaine wrote earnestly about her romantic pursuits during her travels, including details about a passionate love affair she shared with a Syrian dragoman. 

You can learn more about this incredible woman directly from Deanna Raybourn here.