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Naughty in Nice
A Royal Spyness Mystery #5
Rhys Bowen

September 6, 2011 / 0425243494
Historical Mystery / 1933 / England & France

Reviewed by
Brenda Weeaks

The fifth Royal Spyness mystery has protagonist Lady Georgiana Rannoch (still poor) working in a soup kitchen on a typically cold wet English day.

She's living in the family home, with heat and food thanks to her brother Blinky and his wife Fig. When they decide to go to the French Riviera, Georgie's choices are freezing and starving in the family home or being banned to Scotland with the servants. Lucky for her, the Queen intervenes.

The Queen wants her stolen Snuff Box returned. Sir Toby Groper (aptly named, by the way) has it at his vacation home on the French Riviera (Sunshine here she comes). While trying to recover the Snuff Box Georgie plays fashion model, considers her virginity and becomes the only suspect in a murder (never a dull moment).

Naughty in Nice is just that. The undertone of the 1930s storyline is life in Nice as well as promiscuous sex and using it to get money, but there are no love scenes. And for being a badly-dressed, poor royalty relation, Georgie still gets to rub elbows with rich and famous, which makes the historical part of the storyline interesting. Naughty in Nice has three mysteries - a theft, a murder and Georgie trying - again and again - to get that pesky Snuff box. Georgie is in the middle of it all, of course, and gets help from her loved ones as well as a 1930s icon. She also deals with a frustrating French detective determined to put her behind bars.

It's a historical mystery series full of classic 1930's characters: Georgie, a kind, virginal, age twenty-two protagonist; Queenie, her maid from the "bob's your uncle" social class; the manipulating sister-in-law, Fig; the weak-kneed, but kind brother; the selfish Mummy (mother) with loose morals; the best friend who gets all the men; Darcy the possible boyfriend with too many secrets; and the down-to-earth, kind-hearted Grandfather.

The atmosphere is very 30s and the dialogue very "Cheeves and Wooster." It's a light read full of history and mystery. Very enjoyable. Not a lot of spoilers in this one.

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]

Reviewed 2011
© 2011