Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen


Where I got the book: bought retail at an author event.

A Royal Pain is the second in the Royal Spyness series, set in the 1930s and starring Lady Georgiana, who is 34th in line to the British throne and thus has access to the Palace and the upper echelons of society.

Unfortunately, Georgie is flat broke but can't reveal the fact due to her social position, so she sneaks around London doing cleaning jobs for money. When the Queen orders her to take in a young German princess for a while, Georgie has to scramble to come up with the necessary servants and a suitable wardrobe for herself. Throw in a murder or two, a romantic interest and a whole series of intrigues, and she's kept pretty busy.

This book is a romp. I found it a little flat sometimes, but there was generally something funny coming along soon. It has elements of farce, and the Sloane Ranger tone (think Princess Di) of Georgie and her friends was spot on (Bowen--whom I met at the event, and who is a lovely lady--is the right sort of Brit to write this kind of book). We get a lot of color from the political and social stirrings of the period, which were pretty interesting, and get glimpses of the Royal Family at a time when the future King Edward VIII was about to be led astray by Wallis Simpson - very topical with The King's Speech (excellent!) getting awards all over the place.

The outcome of the mystery plot wasn't hard to spot, but the fun was seeing Georgie--who is a quick thinker in some circumstances and remarkably dense in others--get to the same point. A fun read, and I dare say I'll be back for more.

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