A Trace of Deceit (Victorian Mystery, #2) by Karen Odden – Spoiler Free Review

Publisher: William Morrow

Publication Date: December 17, 2019

Genre: Historical Mystery

Adventure Rating: 4 Stars

Amazon

” From the author of A Dangerous Duet comes the next book in her Victorian mystery series, this time following a daring female painter and the Scotland Yard detective who is investigating her brother’s suspicious death.

A young painter digs beneath the veneer of Victorian London’s art world to learn the truth behind her brother’s murder…

Edwin is dead. That’s what Inspector Matthew Hallam of Scotland Yard tells Annabel Rowe when she discovers him searching her brother’s flat for clues. While the news is shocking, Annabel can’t say it’s wholly unexpected, given Edwin’s past as a dissolute risk-taker and art forger, although he swore he’d reformed. After years spent blaming his reckless behavior for their parents’ deaths, Annabel is now faced with the question of who murdered him—because Edwin’s death was both violent and deliberate. A valuable French painting he’d been restoring for an auction house is missing from his studio: find the painting, find the murderer. But the owner of the artwork claims it was destroyed in a warehouse fire years ago.

As a painter at the prestigious Slade School of Art and as Edwin’s closest relative, Annabel makes the case that she is crucial to Matthew’s investigation. But in their search for the painting, Matthew and Annabel trace a path of deceit and viciousness that reaches far beyond the elegant rooms of the auction house, into an underworld of politics, corruption, and secrets someone will kill to keep. “

*I received this book from the publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review!*

I don’t know what it is about the end of the year but I always read a historical mystery around this time. This one did not disappoint! It was a bit slow paced in some areas but not in a bad way. It felt more relaxed rather than boring if that makes sense.

Annabel was a likable heroine who fought to find her brother’s killer. She had a quit wit and used her art intelligence to figure out clues to help the police. Matthew seemed really sweet and genuinely wanted to help people through his police work. They made a great pair.

I really liked the art references. I am a person who only sees a piece and wants it because it’s pretty. Because, clearly, I am uncultured when it comes to art, I enjoyed learning a bit about the art world. This is one instance where I really did learn something from reading a fiction book. I love when that happens. I love how the author wove the crazy art world into her mystery.

The ending wasn’t too big of a surprise BUT one of the secrets Edwin held onto was. I hurt so badly for him.

I don’t know how else to say how this book made me feel other than relaxed and cozy. It was a perfect Winter read for me! I definitely want to read the first book, which is about Matthew’s sister and piano playing (of which I have much more experience with)!

I’m always on the lookout for more Historical Mysteries! Tell me some of your favorites!

*Amazon link is my affiliate link*

A Treacherous Curse (Spoiler Free)

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“She regarded him and counted only the damage; I saw only the places where he had stitched himself back together. What repelled her was to me the greatest part of him. Every mark that his suffering had left upon him was a must monument to his strength, the inhuman courage that had caused him to reject death and degradation and every evil with which he had consoled himself on the long journey back from his destruction. He had walked through hellfire and back again and she saw only the scorch marks whilst I saw the phoenix.” – A Treacherous Curse

Title: A Treacherous Curse

Author: Deanna Raybourn

Publisher: Berkley

My Rating: 5 Stars

*Synopsis taken from Goodreads*

“London, 1888.

As colorful and unfettered as the butterflies she collects, Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell can’t resist the allure of an exotic mystery—particularly one involving her enigmatic colleague, Stoker. His former expedition partner has vanished from an archaeological dig with a priceless diadem unearthed from the newly discovered tomb of an Egyptian princess. This disappearance is just the latest in a string of unfortunate events that have plagued the controversial expedition, and rumors abound that the curse of the vengeful princess has been unleashed as the shadowy figure of Anubis himself stalks the streets of London.

But the perils of an ancient curse are not the only challenges Veronica must face as sordid details and malevolent enemies emerge from Stoker’s past. Caught in a tangle of conspiracies and threats—and thrust into the public eye by an enterprising new foe—Veronica must separate facts from fantasy to unravel a web of duplicity that threatens to cost Stoker everything. . . .”

Deanna Raybourn is a masterful storyteller. She weaves a tale so intriguing that you feel as the characters feel. You hurt when they hurt. You are happy when they are happy. Just read again the quote from above! How moving!

One of my favorite things about the third book in this series is the character development. Veronica especially. She starts off this whole shebang as a one woman show. She slowly starts to melt until this third book where she becomes a puddle of emotion, in a good way. Her outer shell starts to crack when she finally decides to let someone in. And that someone is Stoker.

Oh Stoker. I’m thinking about making him a book boyfriend. I adore him to pieces. You get a lot more of his backstory and it just makes you feel for him! And the strength and courage he has is amazing. Why can’t all men be like this? (For the record, I have a man like this. They are just rare. :P)

And can we talk about the plot?! Sweet Abraham’s mother this was good. This was my favorite out of all the books because, in my opinion, it has the best story line. A supposed curse from Egypt, a man masquerading as Anubis, a few murders, AND Stoker’s backstory. Um, yes please.

So, I gave this book 5 stars. However, there was one thing I didn’t like. There is a suicide in this book. I didn’t like that. I don’t like reading about suicide. It’s dark and depressing and I think it’s one of if not the worst way to die.

All in all, I’m still in love with this series. The writing, the characters, the story, all of it just speaks to me. I highly recommend this series to anyone who likes historical mysteries!

Happy Adventuring!