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Her Royal Spyness
Solves her First Case

by Rhys Bowen

      A story featuring an invented member of the British royal family as detective - young Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, 34th in line to the British throne - is clearly intended as escapist fantasy. Her Royal Spyness is all of that, and also a thoroughgoing romp. However, its heroine is so appealing and believable as a person that you readily suspend disbelief to enter her world.

Lady Georgiana may be royal on her father's side, but her mother was an actress who left them all for an adventuress's life full of new romances. Her maternal grandfather, and favorite person, is a retired bobby living in a semi-detached in Essex. Add in a sense of adventure and an unusual amount of intelligence, and, well, Georgiana is hardly the stereotypical stuffy young royal, no matter how well she can curtsy and chat at lunch with the Queen.

Driven to distraction by life as a hanger-on with her dim bulb brother and his hyper-critical, penny pinching wife in their drafty Scottish home (her lofty rank and title don't come with an income to match), and horrified by thoughts of the career everyone from the Queen on down thinks she's best suited for - marrying the next horrid European prince they can dredge up - Georgiana flees to London, determined to find a way to support herself as a modern, liberated woman.

Unfortunately she can't completely escape her family - Queen Mary tries to steer her to a more suitable occupation as a lady in waiting, while also asking her to spy for her. The real trouble, however, comes when her brother appears in London, bringing murder in his wake. Georgiana turns investigator, first to save her brother, since the police seem to find his guilt a foregone conclusion, but then to save her own life.

There's a nice mystery plot to solve at the heart of this book, but what you read it for are the engaging heroine and the depiction of her life in 1930s England, including a cast of characters around her that ranges from a rakishly appealing noble gatecrasher to cameo appearances by Queen Mary and Wallace Simpson. As was clear from her Molly Malone historical series, Rhys Bowen really knows how to bring characters and an historical setting to reader-grabbing, vivid life.

This was pure fun to read. I can hardly wait for the next book. Recommended.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Her Royal Spyness #1  [review]
A Royal Pain #
2    [review]
Naughty in Nice
#5   [review]
The Twelve Clues of Christmas #6  [review]
Heirs and Graces #7  [review]
Queen of Hearts #8 [review 1] [review 2]
Malice in the Palace #9 [review]
Crowned and Dangerous #10
[review 1] [review 2]

The Book

July 2007
0425215679 / 978-0425215678
Historical Mystery {London, 1930]
NOTE: Agatha and Anthony award winning author

The Reviewer

Kim Malo
Reviewed 2007
© 2006