"Royal Blood – Her Royal Spyness #4" by Rhys Bowen

The “Her Royal Spyness” series has become one of my go-to comfort reads when I need something light but not fluffy that I know will have enough of a mystery to keep me curious and more than a few scenes that will make me laugh.

I’ve also grown attached to all the characters, and yes, it is a stretch that Darcy, Belinda and Georgie’s mother always turn up at some point but after a few mock groans, as the plot is twisted to accommodate them, I find myself smiling because I’m glad to have them there. Part of the appeal is the excellent narration from Katherine Kelligran who has given such distinctive voices to the main characters that I recognise them as soon as they speak.

“Royal Blood” livens things up by sending Georgiana as the Queen’s representative to a Royal Wedding in Romania. The Queen claims that this is at the request of the bride, who was at school with Georgie, but that doesn’t mean she is without an ulterior motive.

We have great fun with a spooky castle, the possibility of vampires, the reality of assassination, a bride who used to be unremarkable and now isn’t, the Romanian Secret Police and a chaperone for Georgie who makes Lady Bracknell seem cuddly.

The mystery here is very satisfying, not so easy to work out, lots of credible possible killers and a rising body count.

I liked that we finally get to see Georgiana getting a but more physical this time. She’s strong and determined and even when thrown in an oubliette, doesn’t wait on someone else to come and rescue her.

Now if only she’d be a little more determined with Darcy things might get even more interesting. Still, maybe that will happen in the next book. Or the one after that? Or the one after that? It’s all part of the fun.

Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear Katherine Kellgran bring the book to life.

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