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
The Twelve Clues of Christmas #6 [review]
Heirs and Graces #7 [review]
Queen of Hearts #8 [review
Malice in the Palace #9 [review]
Crowned and Dangerous #10 [review