12 March 2009

Review: HER ROYAL SPYNESS, Rhys Bowen

BERKLEY PRIME CRIME, 2007/2008, ISBN 978-425-22252-2, 324 pages

Georgie, Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, related to the king of England through his grandmother Queen Victoria, is 34th in line to the English throne. Georgie is the product of her father's second marriage to a "bolter", and at 21 is living in Castle Rannoch with no real income and no prospects.

She determines to take charge of her own future when she overhears a conversation between her half brother Binky and his wife Fig about the Queen's intentions to use Georgie as marriage bait for a visiting Romanian Royal. Georgie decides to make her escape to Rannoch House in London despite the fact that she will have no maid or other help in the house with her. Queen Mary hears that she has come to London and commissions Georgie to be her eyes and ears in the Prince of Wales' escalating affair with an American woman.

In the meantime Georgie has to decide how she will earn an income and life becomes rather complicated when a man is drowned fully clothed in a bath in Rannoch House. Both Georgie and her brother Binky are suspected because the dead man had been claiming that he was owed their dead father's estate through an old gambling debt. Meanwhile Georgie, always a rather clumsy person, begins to realise that the little accidents happening to her, each of which could so easily have been fatal, might not be so accidental after all. Who among her friends would want her dead?

This is a cozy with a difference, a light and enjoyable read.

My rating: 4.2

I reviewed the second in the series A ROYAL PAIN recently. Bowen has set these novels at the beginning of the 1930s. England is in depression, unemployment is high, and here is an aristocracy that has not yet realised that the old way of life is nearly gone. Many of the minor aristocracy will soon be like Binky, struggling with the upkeep of two large houses, and many like Georgie will have to think in terms of getting "real" jobs. Some among Georgie's friends have already done so. There are some delightful characters to meet in these books including Georgie's Cockney grandfather.

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin