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Malice at the Palace
Royal Spyness #9
Rhys Bowen

August 2, 2016/ ISBN 978-0425260449
Mystery / Historical / England / Women Sleuths

Reviewed by Linda Morelli


In Ms. Bowen’s Malice at the Palace, Lady Georgiana Rannoch returns to London from California near penniless, only to learn that her planned lodgings with her friend, Belinda, have fallen through. Fortune shines on Georgiana when the Queen asks her to move into Kensington Palace and be a companion to Princess Marina of Greece, who is to marry the king’s youngest son, George. Prince George is a known womanizer, and his exploits aren’t limited to women. It falls upon Georgiana to shelter Marina from his past dalliances.

When one of Prince George’s ex-mistresses shows up dead beneath a palace archway, Georgiana calls upon Major Beauchamp-Chough, in residence at Kensington palace, to handle the discovery. He recognizes the dead woman as Bobo Carrington, who was linked romantically to Prince George and who, Georgiana later learns, disappeared from London to have a child. While DCI Pelham handles the case, Georgiana conducts her own investigation while trying to insure that Marina doesn’t learn about Prince George’s past connection to Bobo.

This wonderful novel kept me enthralled in the mystery – and the history – of the period. Ms. Bowen did an excellent job in mingling true facts about Prince George and his escapades into the plot, as well as the real possibility that he sired an illegitimate child. I love history and was so enthralled by this novel that I did some research online to learn more about Prince George and Marina, and their marriage.

I especially enjoyed learning about British royalty, their manners and morals, which we as Americans seldom see or fully understand. I have to say, I enjoyed the return of Georgiana’s delightful if accident-prone maid, Queenie, and Marina’s travel companion, the stiffly correct Countess Irmtraut and her comic misunderstandings of the English language. And then there’s Darcy O’Mara, Georgiana’s love interest, who adds an added dimension and unexpected twist to the plot. All in all, Malice at the Palace is a solid and captivating mystery that ranks among the best reads of this year.

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]
On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service [review]

Notes: Rhys Bowen is a New York Times bestselling author whose Royal Spyness Mystery, Queen of Hearts, won the Agatha award for best historical mystery. She has also won the Anthony award and has been nominated for many others. Her series include the Molly Murphy Mysteries, set in turn-of-the-century New York, and the Constable Evans Mysteries, set in Wales. Born in England, she now divides her time between Northern California and Arizona.

Reviewer Linda Morelli is the award winning author of three published romance novels.
Reviewed 2016