This is the first in what has since become a series of books by Rhys Bowen – about Georgie, a single girl who has yet to find a husband, but has no means of supporting herself because she is not qualified to do anything and seems to have got herself tangled up with her families and her brothers problems when she comes to London and a dead body of a rather arrogant Frenchman is found in the bath. A man trying to get her into her bed. As well as this a cousin by marriage has asked her to do some spying on her son who seems to have got himself involved with a divorced American woman.
An interesting premise but let me add in a few more bits – Georgie is in fact thirty-fourth in line to the throne, she has no means of her support as her brother, Duke of Glen Garry and Rannoch has cut off her allowance to keep the ancestral pile in Scotland, Castle Rannoch in one piece. Despite having being presented at season many years before her gawkiness and clumsiness have not enabled her to be married off. The rather arrogant Frenchman comes to Georgie’s brother because he claims he won Castle Rannoch of Georgie’s father through gambling. Darcy O’Mara is the wild Irish man who is trying to bed Georgie, but then he suddenly changes his mind. Oh and the cousin is in fact Queen Mary wanting Georgie to spy on her son David and someone called Mrs Simpson.
Now if you know your history, this book is well set in the 1930s and based in London. It was paced enough to keep you turning the page and there was plenty of story as well as red herrings before you realised that perhaps there was more to the Frenchman and in the bath. The humour of the book is there, as we see how Georgie tries to earn a living, by cleaning for people. Nothing to dirty though – she cannot bring herself to go down the coal hole. Only airing, and opening houses up for people. She knows her place as thirty-fourth in line to the throne.
If you love, murder mysteries and like the era then these books are a must. They put me in mind of the ‘Silent’ series by Deanna Raybourn, which although not set in the thirties, has similar protagonists and rescuers. A good wet Sunday afternoon, curl up on the sofa murder.
I have now got to read the others! So added to the list are A Royal Pain, Royal Flush and Royal Blood. These books are American and I really did not notice that about them at all (despite the differing spelling) as they are based in the UK. They form part of Berkley Prime Crime House and this is the second author that I have come across from these publishers. The first was Lorna Barrett Murder is Binding, my Amazon review can be found at the link. What attracted me to that book was it was based in a bookshop! What attracted me to Her Royal Spyness – was I love the cover. Who says we should not judge a book by its cover?!