“Her Royal Spyness” by Rhys Bowen

Strong start to an original and fun mystery series with a young, penniless daughter of a Duke as the reluctant sleuth.

I started this series at book six, “The Twelve Clues Of Christmas” which was such a splendid Christmas Cozy Mystery that I decided to go back to the beginning and read all the books in order.

The first book, “Her Royal Spyness” didn’t disappoint. It kept me engaged and amused even though I already knew the basics of what the book sets up.

It’s 1932 and Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie (Georgie to her friends), a minor Royal, cousin of King George V of England, and thirty-fourth in line to the throne, has just moved to London from her ancestral castle in Scotland (now belonging to her brother, the Duke of Glen Garry and Rannoch, and his wife, to make her way in the world. Her recently deceased father was the previous Duke of Glen Garry and Rannoch, her mother is a famous actress and her grandfather is a cockney ex-policeman who lives in a semi-detached house in Essex. Georgie was educated at a Swiss Finishing School, knows all the right people, but has no money and no experience of life without servants.

The plot, which involves finding a body in Georgie’s bathtub, her brother being accused of murder, the family estate being under threat and a secret mission being given to Georgie by the Queen, results in Georgie having to learn how to look after herself, solve a murder, make some money and try and survive the strong of accidents that befall her.

Georgie is easy to like. Her friends are fascinating, Her enemies are ruthless and her secret mission is probably doomed to failure.

What I liked most was the very satisfying mix of humour, history, social observation wrapped around a real mystery… or two… or three.

I strongly recommend the audiobook version. Katherine Kelligan does an excellent job of bringing all of the characters to life. Her narration made the book for me. Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample.

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