Published by Crooked Lane Books on August 7th 2018
Genres: Adult, Historical, Mystery, Amateur Sleuths
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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.
Merula Merriweather is a brilliant zoologist, but she is not the face those see in the Royal Zoology Society see. But when the one who takes credit for her work is charged with murder, she will do what is needed so that he is cleared.
Murela’s uncle Rupert is the face that all those sees when it comes to her work. But now he has been charged with the murder of Lady Sophie, a high member of the society. She can’t fathom how one of her butterflies could possibly be the cause behind Lady Sophia’s death. So, she set out to prove just that with the help of Lord Raven Royston. It won’t be easy though. With so many suspects that have actual motives to want Lady Sophia dead, the story takes off, with little clues through out.
I have to say, Merual was one intriguing woman, independent and strong for a woman from this era. Now, I really enjoyed all the characters whether big or small parts in the story, like Galileo and Lambs to help with piecing the clues together. Especially Lord Royston, was certainly an interesting man and a mystery himself, even he was so determined to clear Merula’s uncle. Together they made a great pair of sleuth detectives.
As all the pieces fall into place, it just got better as I turned the pages, and the ending was what I enjoyed the most too. I did however have a little bit of an issue about Merula being alone with the men that were helping her. This is set in the Victorian Era, a time where woman weren’t supposed to be alone with a man. Merula was definitely a rule breaker when it came to that, maybe it was a rebellious stage for her. But I really believe she wanted to clear her uncles name at any cost and for that I certainly have to give her credit.
Overall, this was such a great read, from the murder mystery to the banter between Merula and Raven. I am looking forward to seeing what trouble these two might end up in next. Fans of historical murder mysteries will enjoy this one.
Review for The Butterfly Conspiracy (A Merriweather and Royston Mystery #1) by Vivian Conroy @VivWrites @crookedlanebks #adult #historical #mystery #fiction #arc #review Click To Tweet