Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen

Rhys Bowen’s Her Royal Spyness is a cozy mystery full of entertaining period detail and fun storytelling flair.

The year is 1932 and Lady Georgiana is a 21-year old amateur sleuth.  Thirty-fourth in line to the British throne, she is a member of the penniless nobility whose best chance in life is to marry a fellow aristocrat.  Lady Georgiana has other ideas, however.  She’d rather try her luck in the work world than be forced to marry some “chinless,” boring lord or duke.

Lady Georgina first takes a job as a shop girl, with disastrous results.  Then she becomes a glorified housekeeper, only to realize that cleaning rugs with newfangled vacuum contraptions and laying coal fires in drafty houses is very hard and dirty work!  When a Frenchman shows up claiming to have won the family’s Scottish homeplace in a bet with their ne’er-do-well father, Lady Georgiana and her brother are stunned.  The man turns up dead a day later, drowned in the bathtub of the family’s London house. 

Could her brother Binky possibly be the murderer?  What choice does Lady Georgiana have but to become an amateur Sherlock Holmes to save her family’s meager livelihood and compromised reputation?  Intrigue abounds as she investigates the death of the mysterious Frenchman, all the while attending soirees and royal gatherings frequented by the rich and famous.

For other mysteries with a taste of the upper crust, there’s A Woman of Consequence by Anna Dean and Susan Elia MacNeal’s Mr. Churchill's Secretary.

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