A Dangerous Collaboration

This romantic mystery (336 pages) was published in March of 2019 by Berkley Books. The book takes you to a manor house in Cornwall, England. Melissa read A Dangerous Collaboration and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if she didn't recommend it.


Bookshop.org is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support independent bookstores and give back to the book community.


A Dangerous Collaboration

A Veronica Speedwell Mystery

Deanna Raybourn

Sharp-witted, sharp-tongued, and armed with a hatpin, lepidopterist Veronica Speedwell is attracted to trouble like a moth to a flame — and can’t resist the siren call of crimes that need solving. There’s not a 19th-century convention she won’t flout, and we love her for it.

She’s also admired (and bedeviled, as it turns out) by the Honourable Revelstoke Templeton-Vane, a.k.a., Stoker, her partner-in-crime-solving. He’s an aristocratic bad boy with the true heart of a raging feminist. The third son of a Viscount, he’s had to make his own way in the world, earning his keep as a taxidermist and working with Veronica to turn a collection of curiosities into a museum.

Or that’s what they’re meant to be doing with their time.

In reality, they’re more often bickering, flirting, and galavanting off into adventures. A charmingly antagonistic couple like Bogie and Bacall or Nick and Nora, we can see Veronica and Stoker belong together. But two of them are equal parts guarded and clueless, which lends a delicious will-they-or-won’t-they energy to their escapades.

And this particular caper — their fourth together — is a Gothic-tinged doozy.

It’s 1888, and Veronica has been lured to St. Maddern’s Isle — a moody island off the coast of Cornwall — for a glamorous weekend house party. In exchange for her attendance, she’ll take possession of larvae of the Romilly Glasswing, a rare butterfly with translucent wings that’s thought to be extinct.

But once she’s on the island, it becomes abundantly clear that this will not be a posh tea-drinking, card-playing weekend with polite conversation. Behind the manor house is a garden filled with poisonous plants. And locals in the nearby village tell tales of ghosts, pixies, mermaids, and giants.

During a very awkward dinner party (and accompanying violent storm), it’s revealed that everyone there has a connection to the host’s wife, who mysteriously disappeared on her wedding day three years ago.

As Veronica and Stoker poke into relationships and secrets best left unrevealed, they find themselves in grave danger.

It would be uncharitable to give anything else away, but rest assured that there are secret passages, a séance, love triangles, witty banter, brooding heroes, and perilous situations — as well as a harpsichord that plays on its own in the middle of the night.

A mist had risen, shrouding the island and its castle from sight until we were quite close, and then, without preamble, a soft sigh of wind blew the shreds of fog away, and there it was, looming above us, black and forbidding and utterly enormous from the vantage point of the tiny boat in the open sea.

‘There she be,’ the Cornishman said proudly. ‘The Isle.’ — Deanna Raybourn

keep reading

Would you rather... lean on a bookcase, then feel it swivel you into a previously unknown secret room — or pry open a small hidden door, grab a brass candelabra, and step into a secret passage to who knows where?
Would you rather... lean on a bookcase, then feel it swivel you into a previously unknown secret room — or pry open a small hidden door, grab a brass candelabra, and step into a secret passage to who knows where?

sharing is caring!

Wanna help us spread the word? If you like this page, please share with your friends.

our mission

Strong Sense of Place is a website and podcast dedicated to literary travel and books we love. Reading good books increases empathy. Empathy is good for all of us and the amazing world we inhabit.

our patreon

Strong Sense of Place is a listener-supported podcast. If you like the work we do, you can help make it happen by joining our Patreon! That'll unlock bonus content for you, too — including Mel's secret book reviews and Dave's behind-the-scenes notes for the latest Two Truths and a Lie.

get our newsletter

Join our Substack to get our FREE newsletter with podcast updates and behind-the-scenes info join in fun chats about books and travel.

no spoilers. ever.

We'll share enough detail to help you decide if a book is for you, but we'll never ruin plot twists or give away the ending.

super-cool reading fun
reading atlas

This 30-page Reading Atlas takes you around the world with dozens of excellent books and gorgeous travel photos. Get your free copy when you subscribe to our newsletter.

get our newsletter
Sign up for our free Substack!
follow us

Content on this site is ©2024 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.