On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service (Royal Spyness)
by Rhys Bowen
Cover Artist: John Mattos
Review by Mel Jacob
Berkley Hardcover / eBook ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425283509
Date: 01 August 2017
Lady Georgiana Rannoch, 35th in line to the British throne, wants to renounce her claim to the throne and marry Irishman Darcy O'Mara, son of Lord Kilhenny, and a Catholic as well. When Queen Mary asks for a small favor, Georgie agrees, hoping to gain her approval of the renunciation request. Neither suspects that Georgie might be involved with two murders and become a target for the murderer.
Unfortunately for Georgie, her current maid refuses to leave her mother and her former maid is now cooking for Darcy's great aunt and uncle so Georgie decides to travel alone to Italy to stay with her friend Belinda and attend a house party where the Prince of Wales and Mrs. Simpson will be guests. On the train, she meets a masher, Count Rudolf von Russkopf, who tried to seduce her. She sends him packing.
When she reaches Belinda's home, she learns Belinda has gone to a Swiss clinic. When she finally locates Belinda, Georgie learns she plans to stay there the remaining three weeks of her pregnancy. So, Georgie heads to the house party Queen Mary asked her to attend. The Prince of Wales and Mrs. Simpson are guests as are a number of German officers and Count Russkopf. The hostess, Countess Camilla of Marola and Martini, is a former schoolmate of Georgie. She also finds her mother and her mother's fiancÚ, Max, a German arms manufacturer.
Since she has no maid, Camilla offers to share hers. Gerda is a stern Austrian, efficient, but intimidating. She proves to be excellent at making Georgie's clothes and shoes look fabulous and borrows a few old evening dresses from Camilla's wardrobe. She also brings Georgie evening and morning tea.
Mrs. Simpson is bored and orders the Prince around which saddens Georgie. The woman has not yet managed her divorce which will make Queen Mary happy. Then Count Russkopf is found dead. Initially, the guests think it is suicide until Georgie points out Russkopf was left handed and the gun is in his right hand.
The police enter the scene and forbid anyone to leave until their investigations are finished. The murderer is not done yet and Georgie might be a possible victim.
Bowen keeps the action moving and the foibles of the rich in the forefront. More surprises await the reader. However, the ending of Belinda's story should be no surprise. This mystery is the eleventh in the Spyness series. Bowen also writes the Constance Evans Mysteries.