06 August 2010

A Royal Pain

By Rhys Bowen
Published by the Penguin Group
Berkley Prime Crime mass-market edition / July 2009

In Book II of the Royal Spyness Mysteries, we find
Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, daughter of the late Duke of Glen Garry and Rannoch, granddaughter of the least attractive of Queen Victoria's daughters, half-sister to Hamish (present Duke of Glen Garry and Rannoch), thirty-fourth in line to the throne, still in London, still holding her own in the workforce, and still spying on the Prince of Wales. That pesky Wallis Simpson is everywhere and the Queen is worried the Prince is spending too much time with Mrs. Simpson and not enough time on his royal duties.

Much to my delight, Georgie and Mrs. Simpson often find themselves in the same social circles and their repartee often leaves me in fits of giggles.

Royal snooping aside, Georgie plays host to a Bavarian princess, finds herself involved with the local communist party, and discovers that bad things come in threes: that would be three deaths in one week.

Bowen writes exceptionally well about British society in the 1930s, from the lowly street beggar to royalty itself, and I find myself feeling as if I'm a character watching from the sidelines instead of merely sitting on my chesterfield reading a novel.

With its good humour, good plot, and blockbuster ending, you won't want to miss installment II of this series.

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