Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
Series: A Merriweather and Royston Mystery #1
Title: The Butterfly Conspiracy
Author: Vivian Conroy
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Published: August 7th, 2018
This is the first book in a new series by this talented mystery writing author. Set in late Victorian times, Miss Merula Merriweather is something of a blue stocking, much preferring to spend time investigating exotic insects to hunting for a husband. Although her gender would normally prevent her sharing her achievements, her uncle Robert encourages and supports her, even taking her to meetings of the Royal Zoological Society. However, at one such meeting, one of the butterflies which Merula has raised lands on Lady Sophia, the guest of honour, who immediately dies. Her uncle is arrested, accused of murdering the victim and so begins Merula’s determined efforts to prove his innocence – with the help of Lord Raven Royston. As the two try to evade the police’s attempts to find them both, they’ll face deadly danger in their attempts to discover the murderer and clear her Uncle of the charges.
This is a delightful start to a new cosy Victorian mystery series and I really can’t wait to read more adventures involving the brilliant Merula and Raven! Both characters have some of their backstory revealed in this story, with hints and clues I presume relating to aspects to be further explored in future stories in the series. I enjoyed how their relationship develops and I really hope it will continue to do so as the series progresses. The story is well paced, has laugh out loud moments and is a real page turner that had me enthralled from the start. There are some superb secondary characters, too, especially Galileo and Bowspirit as well as Lamb who assist the duo in their investigations. There are plenty of twists and turns as well as dead ends necessitating reevaluating the evidence and discarding the red herrings discovered along the way. The plot is intriguing, misleading and highly entertaining and I can’t wait to read more stories starring this duo in future!
I requested and was given a copy of this book, via NetGalley. This is my honest review of the book after choosing to read it.
Perfect for fans of Deanna Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell mysteries comes the enchanting series debut from Vivian Conroy, The Butterfly Conspiracy.
In late Victorian times, when new inventions cause both excitement and terror, a mysterious death at a zoological lecture brings together two unlikely allies in a quest through London’s upper crust and underbelly to unravel the ingenious murder method and killer behind it.
Miss Merula Merriweather is not like other women her age: instead of hunting for a husband at balls and soirees she spends her time in a conservatory hatching exotic creatures. As the Royal Zoological Society won’t accept a woman’s accomplishments, she has her uncle Rupert take credit for her achievements. But at a zoological lecture, the guest of honor dies after contact with one of Merula’s butterflies, and Merula’s uncle is arrested for murder.
In an attempt to safeguard evidence to prove his innocence, Merula almost gets killed but for the timely interference of enigmatic Lord Raven Royston. Viewing natural history as a last resort to regain respectability lost by too many dubious business investments, Raven didn’t expect his first lecture to take a murderous turn. Feeling partially responsible because he encouraged Merula to release the gigantic butterfly from the glass case in which it was kept, Raven suggests they solve the puzzle of Lady Sophia’s sudden death together by looking closer at her relations with estranged friends, long suffering staff and the man groomed to be her heir, so close to her money and yet unable to touch any of it.
With the police looking for them, and every new discovery raising more questions than answers, especially about the murder method which left no traces of foul play on the body, Merula will have to risk her own life to get at the truth and save her uncle from the gallows in The Butterfly Conspiracy, Vivian Conroy’s enchanting series debut.
Cornish Castle Mysteries:
Country Gift Shop Mysteries:
Written into the Grave
Dead to Begin With
Later this year, this series is to be released as a single publication with all three stories in it:
Lady Alkmeme Callender Mysteries:
Diamonds of Death
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My immediate thought was, “This sounds like the Veronica Speedwell series!”, which is a series I LOVE. Great review!
Thank you, Myndi! I haven’t read that series, definitely need to check it out from the sounds of things, but loved this book and honestly can’t wait to read more in this series!