Less than two weeks ago, I mentioned in a review that The Girl on the Train was going into my "Best Books of 2015" list. I still have every intention of adding it, but this book, A Curious Beginning, is going to be right next to it. The beautiful cover was the first thing I noticed and it attracted me to the book right away. I knew Deanna Raybourn was also the author of the Lady Julia Gray mysteries, which I adored, so when I was contacted to read and review her newest work, I was excited and it went right to the top of my TBR list. I'm so glad I dove right in right away because this book was just as much fun as her other series and engaged me immediately. I love a good British mystery and this book delivered exactly what I was hoping for.
As with her Lady Julia Gray series, the main character in A Curious Beginning is a fascinating study. Veronica Speedwell (a great name for a British heroine if I do say so myself) is a woman ahead of her time. She is a female scientist who oozes independent thinking, women's rights, and who of course, is a supporter of the free love movement, much to the shock and dismay of her peers in this time period. Veronica's forward thinking and blunt conversational style produce quite a few laughs throughout the story. The mystery itself reveals itself once we are acquainted with Veronica's situation and revolves around a murder connecting to her past. She teams up with a sexy but shady (and initially unwilling) sidekick/protector and the interplay between the two is full of clever wit and shenanigans. We are sent on an adventure with various clues, red herrings, and a bit of intrigue. Anyone who is a fan of Amelia Peabody or Mary Russell will adore Veronica Speedwell. I'll certainly be on the look out for the next book in the series.