Saturday, July 23, 2022

An Impossible Impostor (Veronica Speedwell #7)



An Impossible Impostor is the 7th Veronica Speedwell mystery by Deanna Raybourn. Released 15th Feb 2022 by Penguin Random House on their Berkley imprint, it's 325 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats.

This is a historical cozy mystery with a heaping helping of saucy romance between the main character duo (Veronica and Stoker). There is a fair bit of backstory for the characters and setup for the storyline, so I wouldn't really recommend it as a standalone. Additionally, there are some major spoilers for the characters' development contained in this volume (which literally had my mouth hanging open in shock). The entire series is well written, light, and diverting, so a definite contender for a binge reading session.

The main characters are a lepidopterist (Veronica) and a taxidermist (Stoker), so the author gets points for the characters' appealingly nerdy quirks. Their backstories are as varied as they are and there are significant subplot elements revolving around their family entanglements. Although some plot elements are rather dark (extortion, duplicity, etc) the book itself is firmly in the cozy mystery romance genre. I thoroughly enjoyed the denouement and resolution here.

Thoroughly readable and entertaining, the series reminds me a lot Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody. There's no objectionable language, but there are strongly sexually suggestive scenes between the two main characters, some minor (good humored) cross dressing, some shooting, stabbing, and other mayhem. Scattered throughout all of the books are references to specific nomenclature and natural history. It's nerdy and good fun. For readers in search of meticulously researched dialogue and verisimilitude, this one will likely engender teeth gnashing. Bring a hefty suspension of disbelief. On the other hand, it's delightfully wonky, humorous, and ever so slightly spicy (with a few bodices being metaphorically ripped in the course of the adventure). I really enjoyed both the returning characters and the ones who debut in this installment.

Four stars. Recommended for fans of the genre (light romantic historical cozy mystery). It would make a nice buddy or book club read as well as a solid choice for public library acquisition.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes


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