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Publisher's Summary

Veronica Speedwell returns in a brand new adventure from Deanna Raybourn, the New York Times best-selling author of the Lady Julia Grey mysteries.

Victorian adventuress and butterfly hunter Veronica Speedwell receives an invitation to visit the Curiosity Club, a ladies-only establishment for daring and intrepid women. There she meets the mysterious Lady Sundridge, who begs her to take on an impossible task - saving society art patron Miles Ramsforth from execution. Accused of the brutal murder of his artist mistress Artemisia, Ramsforth will face the hangman's noose in a week's time if Veronica cannot find the real killer. But Lady Sundridge is not all that she seems, and unmasking her true identity is only the first of the many secrets Veronica must uncover. Together with her natural historian colleague Stoker, Veronica races against time to find the true murderer - a ruthless villain who not only took Artemisia's life in cold blood but is happy to see Ramsforth hang for the crime. From a Bohemian artists' colony to a royal palace to a subterranean grotto with a decadent history, the investigation proves to be a very perilous undertaking indeed.

©2017 Deanna Raybourn (P)2017 Recorded Books

Featured Article: Best Mystery Series—Listens That'll Take You Right to the Crime Scene


While a standalone mystery is great when you're in the mood for a one-and-done, sometimes you want to feed your craving with an entire mystery series—knowing there's a world and characters you can keep coming back to for the satisfaction of solving crimes. With audiobooks, you get the added bonus of sinking deeper into the setting, clues, and suspects as the story is performed for you, so you'll feel like you're alongside detectives, ready to bust a case.

What listeners say about A Perilous Undertaking

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoying Veronica and Stoker

BUT why is it that almost every "progressive" female in this genre must be at best promiscuous, if not amoral. These characters, these storylines, this dialogue would be even more enjoyable if all the sexual innuendo, activity, etc. were omitted. I stopped reading one author because her protagonist was forever jumping in someone's bed. I am going listen to book 3 and hope it manages to entertain without the superfluous debauchery.

15 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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An Intriguing Mystery

In this second installment of the Veronica Speedwell mysteries I find that I have come to like her character better than in the first book. I only have one complaint: it was a bit much that with every new acquaintance Veronica made she had to prove to them how unaffected she is by their lack of convention or morality, and try to one-up them with her own immoral views I find it hard to believe that everyone she meets would try to shock her and then admire her for not reacting. Other than that I really enjoyed the story. I loved seeing how Veronica and Stoker's friendship has grown and how they well they complement each other. I also like a book where I am not able to figure out the murderer right away. Now if only miss Angele Masters could narrate a female character, besides Veronica, that does not have a shrill voice . . .

26 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

What sex? No where is anyone actually having sex.

What made the experience of listening to A Perilous Undertaking the most enjoyable?

Ms. Masters is pretty much spot on. She enunciates, pronounces words properly and has the perfect cadence to tell this type of story. I could tell the difference between characters. She reads very well and I enjoyed her. The story flows.

What other book might you compare A Perilous Undertaking to and why?

A Curious Beginning. To compare it to another author's story is not something I do. To me each author is a separate entity. Apples and oranges thing.

What does Angele Masters bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The story isn't convoluted, simple relationship story with a bit of mystery, 19th century humor. Not sure, due to my Veteran PTSD, I cannot read a book anymore. So I can't give my opinion.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

chasing butterflies up a camels butt!

Any additional comments?

I don't understand the reviews about too much sex. No where in the story does anyone have sex. It is talked about and with some explicit descriptions. If you can't handle limited descriptions of sex, not the book for you

58 people found this helpful

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Can't get enough!!

Love this series!!! I have Deanna's Julia Grey book one in my wish list!

This series is best read in order.

Angele Masters narration is marvelous!!

Veronica and Stoker are wonderful together!! They have such a wonderful relationship. If you like a good mystery with great characters and a series that adds more history of the main characters each book. This is for you.

Good ending no cliff hanger (thank goodness). Still I cannot wait for the next book!!

16 people found this helpful

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A vulgar Amelia Peabody

I had chosen this series because it was compared to the Amelia Peabody series that I absolutely love. There are many ways in which the main character and setting are similar to Amelia Peabody: intrepid, independent heroine, Victorian setting, strong male love interest and partner in investigations. However, in this book in the series, the author lacks subtlety. The style of writing and the culture come from the Victorian area, and I understand that the personal sexual values of individuals throughout history may not change very much, but how the overlay of modern sexual values (one night stands, references to homosexuality, blatant comments on sexual body parts) are communicated in a manner that is inconsistent not only with the era, but with the otherwise charming style of the author. Miss Speedwell's fascination with phallic "art" is written in a coarse and vulgar manner that take away from the charm of the story and, unfortunately, as the theme of sexual adventures is woven throughout much of the book, these inconsistencies are jarring and unpleasant. I have listened to many books that have modern day sexual values and have enjoyed them. Amelia Peabody, herself, thoroughly enjoys her sex life and doesn't condemn others for their choices. However, this author doesn't make it work in this series, and especially in this book of the series.

7 people found this helpful

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Another winner!

Veronica is my kind of hero! I love her attitude.

This second book in Raybourn's latest series continues the excitement and humor of the first. The dialogue between Veronica and Stoker is fabulous! Their interactions - whether in a mortuary or an opium den - make for an amazing adventure.

The narration was perfect. I hope Angele Masters remains the narrator for the following books. And I hope Deanna Raybourn is writing frantically.

16 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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What happened?

I am not really a fan of this second book. I loved the first one but this one just rubbed me the wrong way. Why has Veronica turned into such a angry, bitter woman? She doesn’t have any redeeming qualities in this book at all. She’s no longer verbally sparring with witty repartee, she just insults and calls Stoker names such as stupid and the like. I am hoping the next book is much better than this one!

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Could have been a great series, but.........

There is merit in Deanna Raybourn's writing, however, she sells herself short with inserting titillation. The first book was well written, the characters interesting, and had a great plot. It was a little risque, but this second book is definitely soft porn, which is unfortunate. If you go in for that sort of thing, this series is definitely for you, but I personally don't want it. I don't read romance novels for a reason. I wish Ms. Raybourn recognized that she is a good writer without the titillation. I'm very disappointed and choose not to continue the series.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not as good as Book 1

This was a disappointment. I loved Book 1, but this one is not comparable. No action. A lot of sexual stuff -- not that anyone actually has sex, but they talk about it all the time. I got bored and gave up. The ending might have turned out to be great, but I didn't care enough to find out. Narrator is still wonderful, though.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fun book

As A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn opens, lepidopterist Veronica Speedwell and her colleague, the naturalist Stoker, have just had to put on hold their expedition to the South Pacific, and they are starving for adventure. Then Veronica gets invited to the Curiosity Club, where she meets Lady Sundridge, a mysterious lady who begs Veronica to investigate the murder of a woman known as Artimisia. The pregnant mistress of artist Miles Ramsforth was found murdered and in Miles’s arms. Convicted of the murder, Miles is scheduled to be executed in a week, and Mrs. Sundridge is certain that he did not commit the crime. She thus appeals to Veronica to solve the murder.

Veronica and Stoker find themselves getting immersed in the art world in which Miles Ramsforth has lived, a community with its own free love lifestyle. In doing this, the pair find themselves learning to trust each other even more and work together, traits they will need to survive this mission.

As with A Curious Beginning, I fully enjoyed A Perilous Undertaking. The book contained a strong plot that kept me drawn to the story and not wanting to put it down. Further, the characters were highly relatable and ones I got deeply invested in. I did think the book had too much discussion of sexual issues. Though there were no actual sex scenes, Veronica initiates many discussions of sexual performance, and the practices of the artists’ colony includes some rather lewd scenes, especially the grotto where people engage in orgies and other sexual adventures.

I appreciated the audiobook performance of Angele Masters, who takes listeners on a fun ride with the book as she performs the role of Veronica, the narrator of the book.

I liked A Perilous Undertaking, which kept me drawn to it throughout. The rush to find the true killer in time to save Miles’s life keeps the plot moving. If there was just a little less sexual content, I’d be happier, as this comes dangerously close to breaking out of the framework of a traditional mystery. We can still follow characters’ sexual escapades without some of the more graphic depictions of things. I give this book four stars.

3 people found this helpful