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Royal Flush by Rhys Bowen
Cover Artist: John Mattos
Review by Beth Slater
Berkley Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425227886
Date: 07 July 2009 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Lady Georgiana is at her wit’s end. It is 1932, and she is doing her best to hold her own in London, but for a royal without income, and a single young woman to boot, it is nigh on impossible to support oneself. She had some hope when people were coming to the city to stay in their city houses, and she could pose as a maid and open their houses for them before they arrived, but now that summer has come upon them no one is visiting the city. She does have the visit to Balmoral to look forward to in a few weeks, for the Queen does expect all her relatives to visit and Georgie is 34th in line to the throne, so she would be missed if she didn’t attend. But until then, tea and toast might have hold her…

More Rhys Bowen:
A Royal Spyness Mysteries:
* Her Royal Spyness
* A Royal Pain
* Royal Flush

Molly Murphy Mysteries:
* In Dublin's Fair City
* Tell Me, Pretty Maiden
* In a Gilded Cage

After having dinner with an American gentleman visiting the city alone, Georgie hits upon the perfect business opportunity. Unfortunately for her, naivety is no excuse for the difficult situation she finds herself in as a result, and so she finds herself packed up and heading for her brother’s Scottish castle before the press (and Queen) can find out about her faux pas. However, as often happens, her early arrival finds her in the right place at the right time. Suspicious events have been taking place around heirs to the throne, many of whom happen to be visiting either Georgie’s ancestral home or Balmoral, which is nearby. The British Home Office has implored Georgie to use her observant skills to watch for anything out of the ordinary and alert them, because it is believed that someone from inside the accepted circle is responsible.

Soon the entire cast of characters is on scene – Georgie’s best friend Belinda, is there with her man du jour Paolo, her grandad is staying in a cottage on the castle grounds, and her mother is visiting Balmoral with her latest husband, who is a distant royal relative. All of this makes for much humor amongst the cast, as Georgie tries to keep peace with everyone (or not) and for once, gets along with her sister-in-law Fig, who is overwhelmed with the visiting Americans who are eating her out of castle and home, and who insist on bathing several times a day! And with a shower, no less, since baths are so unhealthy! Unfortunately the danger exists throughout and the accidents escalate into murder, with Georgie fearsome for the lives of the princesses and her own nephew, Podge. Who could be behind these nasty accidents, which not only cause damage, but fear?

A truly unique aspect on the story which has been told before by others. I enjoyed the tale when told by Robin Paige, but it is such a completely different story here that it cannot be compared. Georgie is a delight for the age, and I am happy to see more interaction with her grandfather and also with Darcy. I was surprised it took her so long to piece the puzzle together this time, but as the reader, it is easier to sit back and see it – whereas as the protagonist she has more action going on around her. I do wish she could come into a slight windfall now and then – just to hold her for a little while! A reward for all her hard work would make me feel better, at least...

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