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Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen
Review by Beth Slater
Berkley Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425215678
Date: 03 July 2007 List Price $23.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Bowen has done it again! She's created another smashing series featuring characters from an earlier (and poorer) London scene, Depression Era. Georgie, aka Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, has escaped Scotland and her brother, the Duke, and his matchmaking attempts by heading to their home in London. Georgie was 'finished' raised to get married, run a home, have servants, etc. So arriving in London without any money brought about an entirely new education for the spunky royal, who, incidentally, is 34th in line for the throne. So when Georgie receives an invitation (summons) from HRH Queen Mary for tea, she fears that the Queen will continue the matchmaking but that seems to be the least of Georgie's troubles.

Cut off from her allowance, Georgie finds that everyday life is a lot more difficult than she ever imagined. Without a servant to set and light the fire, draw warm water for a bath, or even brew a cup of tea, Georgie stumbles along trying to figure out how to survive on her own and what she could possibly do to get a job. Luckily Georgie is not the only lady in her class that has fallen upon desperate times, and she runs into her old school friend Belinda. This seems to be the beginning of many mishaps and adventures that lead to Georgie finding a corpse in her bathroom.

Georgie knows her brother, Binky, is innocent despite the evidence the police have collected against him. She decides that it is up to her to clear her brother's name and her family's honor but how? Drawing on reserves of strength she didn't know she had, Georgie pulls out all the stops to solve the mystery and the queen's request before one of her many 'accidents' halts her in her tracks.

I have enjoyed every one of Rhys Bowen's novels, and this one is no exception. Georgie is a wonderful, personable character who is able to bring the experiences of fending for oneself to life. It seems impossible that people lived (and still do?) without knowing how to make tea or change a bed, but Georgie's earnest attempts at simple chores brings it home just how London was changing in the early 1900's as well as the rest of the world.

Cozy readers will enjoy the plot line, as well as those who enjoy British mysteries. I would compare this with Robin Paige's Victorian series or Nancy Atherton's Aunt Dimity series.

Our Readers Respond

From the Author: Rhys Bowen
    Thank you for the lovely review of Her Royal Spyness.
    I wrote the book because I wanted to be silly, laugh and poke fun at the British class system--even though I married into one of these upper class families! But the book became deeper than I intended. Georgie is like Princess Diana, a member of the royal family but an outsider at the same time and thus an observer, never really belonging. So there is some subtle social commentary as well as pure fun. And as for the rakish Darcy O'Mara--I hope you found the book just a little sexy too!

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