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A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen
Review by Beth Slater
Berkley Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425221631
Date: 01 July 2008 List Price $23.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Georgie is back and her adventures continue. Simply trying to make ends meet, Lady Georgiana Rannoch, 34th in line to the throne of England, is secretly working as a maid to clean and open the houses of the upper class prior to their arrivals in London. Unbeknownst to her, one of her clients has arrived early and with a guest - the creepy Prince Siegfried, the one man Georgie absolutely does not want to see. The Queen (yes, that Queen) has it in her mind that Georgie should marry Siegfried despite Georgie's utter repugnance for the man; therefore, she must avoid him at all costs. But it would seem that Georgie's worst fears are realized when she receives an invitation to the palace shortly after her run-in with the prince. Will her hopes of marrying for love be dashed?

Much to her relief, the Queen's thoughts are not on Georgie's future, but on her own son's, the Prince of Wales. He has taken up with an American woman who is married, and the Queen is trying to distract him with an attractive Bavarian princess, but in order to do so, she must be subtle in her actions: this is where Georgie comes in. Georgie must play hostess and entertain the Princess Hannelore (Hanni to friends), casually introducing the striking young woman to the handsome prince in hopes of a royal marriage.

The instant problem was that Georgie has no money. No money, no servants, no set of friends and parties for Hanni to meet the prince at. But one does not say no to the Queen. What Georgie does have is brains and the ability to think quickly. This ability stands her in good stead when she continues to happen upon dead bodies after unknowingly making connections to the Communist Party neither of which make the police happy. When the Queen asks Georgie to help solve the murders, well, one does not say no to the Queen, right?

Bowen's written another engaging British mystery featuring a witty female protagonist whose sense of humor and smarts get her a long way. The reader's imagination will have to fill in a little here, with having the foreign royalty stay in a home with so few servants and upkeep and not comment much upon it despite Georgie's accommodations and comments about the depression - but this is fiction, where imagination is welcome. It is, as always, well written and with little violence and a small cliffhanger at the end to leave you wanting to know what is yet to come.

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