Veronica Speedwell and her stalwart companion Stoker find themselves drawn into the disappearance of a man associated with a cursed Egyptian excavation. Before he disappeared, however, he made off with a priceless artifact. This is not the first mysterious happening on the excavation but it is one that directly effects Stoker as the missing man is his former expedition partner whom after leaving Stoker for dead married Stoker's now ex-wife. If news of Stoker's past association, and bad blood, with the missing man gets out, he could be labeled as a suspect. Since there's nothing Veronica won't do to protect Stoker, they jump into the investigation with gusto.
When I first started this book I couldn't help but feel a ping of the great Ameila Peabody series with Veronica's no-nonsense attitude and the whole Egypt thing of course. And then there's Stoker so like Emerson....
I immediately got a smile on my face and was ready for our duo to embark on a voyage to Egypt. However, that is not exactly how things transpire, because of course Veronica will be her own person, as it were, and we wouldn't want her any other way.
In A Perilous Undertaking, readers were given a little insight into Stoker's past and background. I was really excited as events unfolded while reading A Treacherous Curse that we retain a lot of that focus on Stoker's past, here especially regarding his previous marriage. There's a lot of emotional struggle for Stoker in this one seeing as how his past is pretty much unavoidably thrown in his face. It's a good thing Veronica was there to knock some sense into him. And I must say I loved how downright fierce Veronica becomes in defense of her friend (from himself as well as those who would cast shade upon him), it's truly a wonder to behold.
The friendship (and dare I say blossoming romance) between Veronica and Stoker is further explored much to my delight. I think that Deanna Raybourn has now written my all-time favorite slow burn romance. You can clearly see that both Veronica and Stoker care for one another beyond a simple friendship or work-colleague relationship, but it's the fact that their friendship has been built up so well that makes anything that comes after between them seem like the cherry on top of the cake. There are some truly lovely and poignant moments between Veronica and Stoker in this installment, many that I highlighted or re-read just because they were such sweet and beautiful moments. It's not all just sweetness, however, as they both show they can push each other's buttons, but what better way to illustrate how well two people know each other than by showcasing all the ways, good and bad, in which they use this knowledge.
As a consequence of the strengthening of the bonds between Stoker and Veronica, I almost think that the mystery plot suffered. I didn't get caught up in it as much as I did the previous books. And I felt like, at the end when all was revealed, I wasn't particularly surprised. Honestly, though, I was ok with all of this because I felt like it was more about moving Veronica and Stoker forward, and what better way to do that than incorporate it with solving a mystery along the way?
This series is one that I continually look forward to, and with so much said throughout the story, there's still things left unsaid. I cannot wait for Veronica and Stoker's next adventure. If you haven't picked up this series yet, I highly recommend that you do, and definitely start from the beginning. The character developments over the course of these three books so far is not one to be missed.