Queen of Hearts (Royal Spyness)
by Rhys Bowen
Review by Verna Suit
Berkley Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425260647
Date: 04 August 2015 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Ed. Note: This review originally appeared in our October 2014 issue and was of the hardcover edition.
Lady Georgiana Rannoch is whisked off to America by her mother, Claire, to accompany her as she travels to Reno for a quick divorce. Plans change when they run into a movie producer who persuades Claire to come to Hollywood and be in his movie. When the British aristocrats encounter Hollywood culture, there is bound to be fun. Things are complicated by a murder.
This 8th Royal Spyness Mystery is every bit as delightful as its predecessors. Georgie and Claire sail on the Berengaria and enjoy the 1930s-era crossing in classic first-class style. When they get to California, penniless Georgie appreciates the casual luxury into which she finds herself thrust, and her inept lady's maid Queenie discovers the freedom of egalitarian America and tests its limits.
Continuing the author's practice of including famous names among her characters, Mrs. Simpson is also on board the Berengaria, also en route to America to get a divorce; and Charlie Chaplin is a flirtatious guest at a weekend house party.
Rhys Bowen's authorial touch is just right for both telling the story and also for conveying the character of Lady Georgiana. Besides the occasional real people, the story is populated by numerous Hollywood 'types'. Unexpected people show up, too -- most importantly, Georgie's fiance Darcy, who is on the trail of a jewel thief. Queen of Hearts is capped by an unforgettable and thrilling climax at the producer's Hearst-like castle in the hills, a true Hollywood ending.