- Jordan Wood
February Cozy Mystery Book Review: Her Royal Spyness
Here we are, already in February with another cozy mystery book review. This month, the book is “Her Royal Spyness” by Rhys Bowen.
Remember, if you haven't gotten your cozy mystery reading challenge guide, get it here. Or, if you want to read about the rules of how I'll review a cozy mystery book, read it here.
Now that that’s out of the way, read on for my review:
Title: Her Royal Spyness
Series: Yes (Book One)
Author: Rhys Bowen
Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (July 1, 2008)
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Published: July 1, 2008
Average Amazon Rating: 4.3. 50% gave it five-stars, 31% gave it four-stars.
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.77
THE FIRST ROYAL SPYNESS MYSTERY!
The New York Times bestselling author of the Molly Murphy and Constable Evan Evans mysteries turns her attentions to “a feisty new heroine to delight a legion of Anglophile readers.”
London, 1932. Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, 34th in line for the English throne, is flat broke. She's bolted Scotland, her greedy brother, and her fish-faced betrothed. London is a place where she'll experience freedom, learn life lessons aplenty, do a bit of spying for HRH—oh, and find a dead Frenchman in her tub. Now her new job is to clear her long family name...
My Take on the Book:
I enjoyed this book. I’ve always been a sucker for a good historical book so, when I saw that this book was based in the 1930’s, I ran to pick it up.
Ryhs Bowen does a wonderful job of describing the era and I found myself caught up in the 1930’s a couple of times. She described everything (but not in ridiculous detail), taking into account that many of us wouldn’t understand how certain things worked. For example, making a fire with the coal bin. I had no idea about how this was done and I appreciated her description of it. A few royals make their appearance (Queen Mary!) as well as historical figures such as Wallace Simpson. I loved the scenes with actual historical persons and found myself researching their personalities as soon as I put the book down.
However, the thing that kept pulling me out of the book was the frequent reference to Lady Georgiana (everyone calls her Georgie) being 34th in line for the English throne. Everything that Georgie did revolved around what the Crown would think. She couldn’t get a job, she had to be conscious of her image, she worried about being recognized because she was part of the royal family. I couldn’t help but wonder why in the world the Crown would even care what the 34th in line to the throne was doing. It isn’t like she was actually going to ever inherit the throne. This little thing really bugged me for some reason.
However, I digress. Rhys Bowen’s story overall is a cute and funny read that I’m sure most people will enjoy. Be warned, though, the murder doesn’t take place until almost exactly halfway through the book so you might be wondering throughout when Georgie will finally find the body between going to parties and meeting up with the Queen.
Humour: If you have a dry sense of humour, you’ll love this book. If you don’t, you’ll smile at this book. My humour leans more towards physical comedy but I still found myself smiling frequently as I read scenes such as when Georgie stuffed herself into one pant leg, thinking that it was a dress.
Romance: Cozy mystery readers that love a romance in their book, you’re in luck. There is a budding romance between Georgie and the dashing Irishman Darcy O’Mara (who also happens to be an impoverished royal himself). The romance is clean but there are some references to Belinda’s, Georgie’s friend, nocturnal activities as well as a scene where Darcy tries to get Georgie into bed. As far as any detailed descriptions, don’t worry, it’s not there.
Violence: Nope. Nothing. There is a bloated man in the bathtub and Georgie has to fend off an attacker at one point, but that’s about it.
Small Town Description: This takes place in London so, if you’re looking for a small-town cozy mystery, look elsewhere.
My final Rating: I really enjoyed this book, mainly because of the historical references and the involvement of a royal (no matter how far removed from the throne she was). As far as the mystery, I wish the murder had happened sooner but I think, if it had happened sooner, it might have taken away from the description of the 1930’s upper-crust world that Rhys Bowen was creating. Overall, it was a fun read and I plan to continue on with the series. With this in mind, “Her Royal Spyness” gets four out of five stars.
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