01 June 2011
By Rhys Bowen
Published by the Penguin Group
Berkley Prime Crime mass market edition / September 2010
In installment III of the Royal Spyness Mysteries, Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, daughter of the later 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, is forced to leave London for Scotland's Castle Rannoch after a failed attempt at a new business venture - escort services.
In previous installments of this series, the Queen has asked Georgie to keep on eye on the Prince of Wales and Wallis Simpson. Georgie arrives at Castle Rannoch only to find Mrs. Simpson and a group of Americans have taken over her home which is in close proximity to Balmoral where the Prince of Wales is summering. With her brother, Binky, laid up in bed and her sister-in-law, Fig, going out of her mind with the unexpected guests, Georgie finds herself investigating a series of mishaps that have her wondering if one of the houseguests is trying to kill members of the royal family.
As usual, Bowen does a delightful job with the dialogue in her books - the jibes at Mrs. Simpson and the Americans are an absolute hoot. Bowen portrays British society in the 1930s perfectly, particularly that of the royal set.
There's plenty of historical fiction in this book, but mostly there's a mystery to solve and my "favourite penniless heiress" does her best to solve it.