Review

A Royal Pain: A Royal Spyness Mystery

by Rhys Bowen

Sure, Georgiana Rannoch is the second cousin of King George V
and thus in line for the crown (she only has 33 royals ahead of
her), but she is also flat broke. Of course, it is the 1930s and a
depression is in full swing in England. Georgie is so poor that she
disguises herself to work as a maid and worries that the queen will
send her out to the country to serve as Queen Victoria's daughter's
lady-in-waiting, where she will have to walk the Pekinese and hold
knitting yarn. Another horrid fate beckons to her in the form of
marriage to discreetly gay Romanian Prince Siegfried. Compared to
those possible futures, her life as a penniless maid is rather
pleasurable.

Georgie's friend, Belinda, leads quite a different existence ---
one filled with yachts, parties, new clothes and many dalliances
with men. Belinda insists on dressing Georgie in some of her own
finery so they can lunch at the Savoy. There, Belinda bemoans the
fact that Georgie's love interest, Darcy O'Mara, has somehow
vanished from her life. She also introduces her friend to some
lively young gentlemen who invite them to an upcoming party.

Queen Mary summons Georgie to Buckingham Palace for tea. Over
shared éclairs, the queen confides her worries over her son,
the Prince of Wales. Instead of being interested in an appropriate
young royal, the prince is enchanted with the unsuitable Wallace
Simpson, who is not only an American commoner but is married. The
queen has hatched a plan. She will invite a young Bavarian
princess, Princess Hannelore, to visit, with the hope of diverting
the Prince of Wales's romantic intentions. However, she doesn't
want the prince to realize that he's being set up, so the queen has
decided that the princess will stay with Georgie.

Georgie is floored. She can't say no to the queen, and yet her
house is hardly suitable to entertain royalty. She has no servants,
is living on toast and baked beans, and must go out to work. How
ever will she cope? Happily, the one relative Georgie has been able
to depend upon comes through for her. Her grandfather and his lady
friend agree to pose as servants.

Her problems are far from over, as Georgie realizes when Princess
Hanni arrives with her maid and companion. Hanni is trouble. She
not only is a fan of American gangster movies, she actually talks
like an American gangster. She also has a bit of a shoplifting
problem, loves parties, and throws herself at any available young
man (including Georgie's lost love, Darcy O'Mara). Yet, that is
just the beginning. When one person ends up dead, it appears to be
an accident…but when the corpses keep accumulating, the queen
again calls upon Georgie, requesting that she act as a
detective.

This second book in the Royal Spyness Mystery series is
not only an entertaining romp of a mystery with a feisty and unique
heroine but is also a fascinating glimpse into England between
world wars and a comical peek backward at life in British upper
classes. Many mystery lovers are no doubt familiar with
award-winning author Rhys Bowen. Others will be ecstatic to
discover her, introduced by the utterly smashing Lady
Georgiana.

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon (terryms2001@yahoo.com) on January 23, 2011

A Royal Pain: A Royal Spyness Mystery
by Rhys Bowen

  • Publication Date: July 1, 2008
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Hardcover
  • ISBN-10: 0425221636
  • ISBN-13: 9780425221631