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HER ROYAL SPYNESS
by Rhys Bowen
Berkley, July 2007
336 pages
$23.95
ISBN: 0425215679


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, known as Georgie, is a modern woman of the 1930s. Even though Georgie is royalty, 34th in line to the British throne, her family coffers are empty. It all has to do with the terrible depression going on, and that her father, before he died, managed to gamble most of the family money away. Georgie was then cut from any money there might be by her half-brother Binky, as he states that there really are not any extra funds available for her.

So being a women of the new age after the First World War, Georgie moves off to the deserted family house in London, sans staff or anything, and is determined to make her own way in the world. Unfortunately, the only thing she has been trained for is how to make a fine hostess and wife or be a lady-in-waiting to the first line of royals.

Georgie doesn't want any of that, especially since the Queen wants her married to Prince Siegmund of Romania who Georgie and her friends called Fishface. The Queen also would have Georgie be a lady-in-waiting to the last living daughter of Queen Victoria, an extremely elderly woman who doesn't get out much lately. Georgie doesn't like the sound of that at all.

After a few unsuccessful attempts at making money, Georgie thinks up a scheme to hire out herself, incognito, as light work, high class, and domestic service. But when a man tells here that her late father lost the family home in Scotland to him in a bet and then that man shows up drowned in her bathtub in London, it's up to Georgie to find the real killer and thus clear her family name.

HER ROYAL SPYNESS has more to do with the changing world that Georgie lives in than it deals with a murder mystery. She was brought up to only be a wife and hostess because nothing else was proper for a young woman of the royal line. Most of the book lets the readers in on how Georgie is trying to make a go of it in a very changed and modern world. She also has her health and youth and the nerve to forge ahead to make her way.

Because she has that nerve, she knows it is up to her to try to find out why and who really killed the man in the bathtub. After Binky is arrested, Georgie, with help from her new-thinking friends, goes on the trail of the killer.

Forget any reality as you read HER ROYAL SPYNESS. Because finding a murderer is just another on her list of new things to do and though Georgie finds her life in danger more than once, she isn't frightened, and that makes HER ROYAL SPYNESS a fun, and completely light read.

Reviewed by Sharon Katz, August 2007

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