After far too long on the dreaded TBR pile Her Royal Spyness insisted on some attention. Must have been the princessy air of the last few days. And interestingly, Rhys Bowen’s crime novel about a sleuthing royal might be set in 1932, but it all happens in late April and early May and the dates and days of the week coincide beautifully with the last few days. (Now that I’ve praised Rhys for this, I sincerely hope she checked her facts, so that I’m not happy about something that’s all wrong…)
Lady Georgiana Rannoch is 34th in line to the throne. But she’s poor and wants to avoid being married off to some fish-faced European prince and escapes off to London. One shock to her hardy Scottish system is finding that it’s not easy to live without servants. Another is finding a dead Frenchman in her bath. Its very much not the done thing.
She has tea with the Queen, and ponders marrying her cousin David. She tries life as a working girl, selling cosmetics in Harrods and cleaning toilets for rich people.
But someone seems to want to kill her, which isn’t nice. And there is the unfortunate corpse in the bath.
Georgiana meets up with not just a penniless – and Catholic! – charmer of an aristocratic Irishman, but also with her old playmate from when they used to cavort naked together. This being a crime novel for Americans, there is a chap by the name of Featherstonehaugh. Obviously. There are many other quaint little upperclass British things, from how to address a Duke to how much brown bread you may eat when having tea with the Queen.
There are also some Americanisms which have slipped in; either because Rhys forgot what’s what after all her time in the US, or her editors might have assisted with the ‘improvements’. It doesn’t matter. It’s a fun book, set in a distant and seemingly attractive past. If you know how to speak to the butler, a lack of funds is a mere inconvenience.
After all that time lying in wait for me, there are now several more Royal Spyness novels. I’d read them if I only had the time.
Did I mention that the cover is purple?