Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Review: Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen

As a rule, I don't generally read a lot of mysteries. I happily buy them for other members of my family, all of whom seem to have a thing for whodunits but they have never been my genre of choice. Part of it is that I object to dead bodies in my reading. I prefer happily ever after to "Miss Scarlet in the conservatory with a wrench" (although both the board game and the movie are hugely entertaining). But every now and again, I break my own rules. When a mystery features a minor royal from Scotland and is set in the 1930s like in Rhys Bowen's Her Royal Spyness, well, I am more than happy to break that rule.

Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, the daughter of the late Duke of Glen Garry and Rannoch and thirty-fourth in line for the throne, lives with her brother Binky, the current Duke, his parsimonious wife, Fig, and their small son in a drafty castle in Scotland. She flees to London after she overhears Binky and Fig discussing a house party they've been instructed to throw by the queen in order to get Georgie engaged to a distasteful foreign prince. Although she's living in Binky's town home in London, cut off from any allowance, she has no money to speak of and no way to request any either, the family being rather in the weeds financially. As she schemes for ways to survive without having to resort to the very boring solution of being a lady-in-waiting to the last surviving daughter of Queen Victoria's (Georgie's great aunt), she starts her own housekeeping business, meets a scrummy but destitute Irish noble, crashes quite a few parties, spies on Wallis Simpson for Queen Alexandra, and, oh yes, finds a dead man in the tub in her house in London, a murder she must solve without implicating her brother, compromising her reputation, or ending up dead herself.

This is the first of the Her Royal Spyness Mysteries cozy mystery series. As the first book, there is quite a bit of scene setting before the plot really gets going but getting to know Georgie and her circumstances is highly entertaining all on its own. Bowen's writing is rife with dry humor and well researched period details. She has created a character who is not anomalous for her time, even if she is striking out on the edges of a rather fast set. In the course of staying generally true to the time period, Georgie's spying is really "spy lite" and the mystery is alsovery much a light one. The murderer is pretty easy to uncover and it's surprising that it takes Georgie as long as it does to figure it out herself. But this book is exactly as it appears, a delightful, quick, breezy, and fun mystery and those readers who enjoy romps with royals or favor the early 1930s socialite scene will be charmed by Georgie and crew.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I have had to disable the anonymous comment option to cut down on the spam and I apologize to those of you for whom this makes commenting a chore. I hope you'll still opt to leave me your thoughts. I love to hear what you think, especially so I know I'm not just whistling into the wind here at my computer.

Popular Posts