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An Impossible Impostor

While investigating a man claiming to be the long-lost heir to a noble family, Veronica Speedwell gets the surprise of her life in this new adventure from the New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award–nominated author Deanna Raybourn.

London, 1889. Veronica Speedwell and her natural historian beau Stoker are summoned by Sir Hugo Montgomerie, head of Special Branch. He has a personal request on behalf of his goddaughter, Euphemia Hathaway. After years of traveling the world, her eldest brother, Jonathan, heir to Hathaway Hall, was believed to have been killed in the catastrophic eruption of Krakatoa a few years before.

But now a man matching Jonathan’s description and carrying his possessions has arrived at Hathaway Hall with no memory of his identity or where he has been. Could this man truly be Jonathan, back from the dead? Or is he a devious impostor, determined to gain ownership over the family’s most valuable possessions—a legendary parure of priceless Rajasthani jewels? It’s a delicate situation, and Veronica is Sir Hugo’s only hope.

Veronica and Stoker agree to go to Hathaway Hall to covertly investigate the mysterious amnesiac. Veronica is soon shocked to find herself face-to-face with a ghost from her past. To help Sir Hugo discover the truth, she must open doors to her own history that she long believed to be shut for good.

Back to Summary

  1. Veronica embarks upon this adventure because Sir Hugo Montgomerie makes a request of her. Do you think it was reasonable of him to ask? Was it right for Veronica to agree?
  2. Lady Hathaway is convinced the man who appears at Hathaway Hall is her long-lost grandson. What does this say about how she has coped with her loss?
  3. Harry Spenlove is a significant person from Veronica’s past. How would you characterize their relationship? What does he have in common with Stoker?
  4. Veronica finds it difficult to share some aspects of her past with Stoker. Why? And is she wrong to hold some things back?
  5. Harry Spenlove uses a natural disaster—the eruption of Krakatoa—to walk away from his old life and begin again. Would you do the same in his circumstances?
  6. There are a number of very strong, capable women in this book–Veronica, Euphemia, Isabelle de Armas MacGregor, the Maharani, Anjali. What makes them stand out? What outlets do they find for their talents? And how are they limited by the expectations of the times?
  7. Stoker asks for time to consider the ramifications of this adventure upon their relationship. Was he right to do so?
  8. There are two possibilities open to Veronica at the end of the book. Which one will she choose? Which one would you choose?
  9. Which of the characters introduced in this book do you hope to see again in future adventures? What do you think lies ahead for Veronica and Stoker?

Other Books in Veronica Speedwell Mysteries Series