Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen

Synopsis From Back Cover:

Baked beans and boiled eggs.  That's what my houseguest, the Barvarian princess, will have to eat if I don't get help posthaste.  The Queen of England has requested I entertain said princess, placing her in the playboy prince's path, in hopes he might finally marry.

But queens never consider money, of which I have little.  And which is why I moonlight as a maid-in-disguise.  My plans:
  1. Clean house in manner of palace.
  2. Blackmail brother, Binky, into sending a few quid.
  3. Unteach Princess Hanni English from gangster movies-lest she address the queen as "old broad".
  4. Keep eye on princess at parties, where she drinks like a fish.
Then there's the matter of the body in the bookshop and Hanni's unwitting involvement with the communist party.  It's enough to drive a girl mad...

So says the heroine of the book, Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie of Glen Garry and Rannoch, know to her friends as Georgie.  This is the second book the Royal Spyness Mystery series, the first of which was Her Royal Spyness.  As is the first book, Georgie is a fun, engaging character that you can't help but like.  She is trying to deal with the fact that she is a broke member of the royal family, who has duties to perform for the crown but no way to pay for it.  Because she is in line for the throne, even though distantly, she isn't allowed to get a common job.  So she is forced to open her own buisness, cleaning the house of nobles who are coming to town and need their city home opened for them.

Even then she is livinig in her family home with no servants and only two of the rooms in liveable condition.  So when the queen summoned her to the palace and "suggests" the visiting princess stays with her, what can she do but nod her head and scramble to find a way to live up to her duty.  The vast majority of the book accounts the lengths and laughs (the readers) that Georgie goes to.  From keeping the princess from shoplifting and ordering jewels she can't afford to attending wonderful parties where young men plummet to their death over a railing, Georgie does it with wit and style.

Her best friend Belinda, the Irish rogue Mr. Darcy O'Mara, and Georgie's actress and commoner mother all make appearances in this book once again, though I wish they had been around a bit more.  They are all wonderful characters but for the most part they felt a little one dimensional in this installment.  I would like to see Georgie's relationship with her mother grow a little bit more and I would love for Darcy to become more of a focal point in a future book.  I did love that Georgie's grandfather on her mother's side, appears a great deal more in this one.  He is a fantastic character who adds that common sense and stability that Georgie needs.

The mystery is well planned out, with subtle clues spread throughout the book.  It is has a nice combination of political intrigue, german spies, murder, and hidden identities.  It is the perfect blend to keep the reader engaged and entertained.  Now there are a few twists and turns in the book that will keep you guessing to the end, but when the true identity of the killer is revealed, you will go Ahh....now that does make sense.  This was a brilliant addition to what I hope becomes a long lasting series. 

I would like to thank Deb of Bookmagic for introducing me to the series.  This book will qualify for the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge 2010 hosted by Carolyn of Book Chick City.


Staci said...

I have yet to read any books by this author but just by your awesome review I realize I need to change that!

bookmagic said...

I love this series. Georgie rocks!! I'm glad you enjoyed it so much!

vvb32 reads said...

LOL - there's the matter of the body in the bookshop, this sounds like a good one! love that there is a Mr Darcy character

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

This sounds like a great fun mystery read. :) Glad you enjoyed it. Sounds like Deb had a great pick here.

Ryan said...

Staci, I think you would really enjoy them.

Deb, Yes she does, and thank you for introducing them to me.

Velvet, It's a wonderful series, if you like mysteries you should give it a shot sometime.

Melissa, Give them a try once you get tired of Agatha (which you better not do) :-)

Marg said...

I really want to read this series. It sounds like a lot of fun.