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Her Royal Spyness (A Royal Spyness Mystery) Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 2008

290 customer reviews
Book 1 of 9 in the Royal Spyness Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set in London in 1930, this merry first in a new cozy series from Agatha-winner Bowen introduces a delightful heroine—Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie. Thirty-fourth in line for the English throne, Georgie has been educated to curtsey, host lavish fetes and marry well. When her brother cuts off her pitiful allowance, Georgie leaves the family home in Scotland for London, determined to become a liberated woman. Lasting only a few hours as a saleswoman in Harrods, Georgie starts a maid service, but she turns detective after finding a drowned man in her bathtub. When her brother is accused of the murder, she must try to clear him and the family name. Quirky characters like her lovable grandfather; her estranged, oft-wed mother; and an incorrigible, sexy Irishman add to the fun. Georgie's madcap antics are certain to leave the reader eager for the next installment. Bowen is also the author of the Molly Murphy (In Dublin's Fair City, etc.) and the Constable Evans (Evanly Bodies, etc.) series. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Bowen, the Agatha winner responsible for the popular Molly Murphy series, has come up with another winner in her new heroine, Lady Georgina, the least important member of the royal family. Thirty-fourth in the line of succession, Georgie may have the title but none of the money. What's a girl to do? Well, in Georgie's case, she tries opening her own domestic agency, with herself as the only domestic. Even her brother, Binky, the duke, is barely holding on to the family castle in Scotland, and that hold becomes tenuous when a French rogue claims to have proof that Binky and Georgie's father gambled the homestead away before his suicide. So, when the Frenchie winds up drowned in the bathroom of Binky's Belgrave house, there's reason to worry. After Binky's arrest, Georgie feels it's up to her to find the real murderer, but soon she finds her own life threatened, repeatedly. The mystery jigs and jags, but the best part here is Bowen's evocation of 1930s England. Drawing on Georgie's diary entries, she vividly portrays what daily life between the wars was like for a modern young woman bumping up against tradition. Populated with lots of neatly delineated characters, including Mrs. Simpson and a sexy Irish lord attempting to help Georgie lose her burdensome virginity, this is a smashing romp. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: A Royal Spyness Mystery (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (July 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425222527
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425222522
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (290 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rhys Bowen's books have been nominated for every major mystery award and she has won thirteen of them to date. She currently writes two historical mystery series, each very different in tone. The Molly Murphy mysteries feature an Irish immigrant woman in turn-of-the-century New York City. These books are multi-layered, complex stories with a strong sense of time and place and have won many awards including Agatha and Anthony. There are 13 book so far in this series plus two Kindle stories, The Amersham Rubies and The Face in the Mirror--a great way to introduce new readers to Molly's spunky personality.

Then there is Lady Georgie, Rhys's latest,and very popular, heroine. She's 35th in line to the throne of England, but she's flat broke and struggling to survive in the Great Depression. These books are lighter and funnier than Molly's adventures. They poke gentle fun at the British class system--about which Rhys knows a lot, having married into an upper class family rather like Georgie's, with cousins with silly nicknames,family ghosts and stately homes. The ninth book in the series, Malice at the Palace was published August 2015 and the previous book, Queen of Hearts, just won the Agatha award for best historical mystery.
The series received the Readers Choice Award for favorite mystery series and Rhys was nominated for career achievement.

Rhys was born in Bath, England but spent time during her childhood with relatives in Wales. Those childhood experiences colored her first mystery series, about Constable Evans in the mountains of Snowdonia. 10 books including the Edgar nominee Evan's Gate. She has lived in Austria, Germany and Australia, but has called California her home for many years. She now escapes to a condo in Arizona during those cold California winters. When she's not writing she loves to travel, sing, hike, paint and play the Celtic harp.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Pimm on July 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Wow, this is a wonderful book. I thought I would mildly enjoy a light period mystery, but I had no idea this book would turn out to be so funny, charming, and well-written. It reminds me of the fabulous "The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets," "I Capture the Castle," and "Gone with the Windsors," two of my favorite books. While reading "Her Royal Spyness," I found myself continually looking at the cover and the back, making sure this was actually "just" a cozy mystery. It is so well-written, the characters so delightful and well-drawn, I have to say that, while I love mysteries, this book is a cut above the rest. Bowen draws a marvelous, and hilarious, portrait of young, slightly silly, but rather lovely and eccentric, royals, running around '30s London, getting into funny scrapes. More than for the mystery (although the mystery is excellent as well), read this for a delightful picture of high society amongst impoverished minor royals in the 1930s.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Mark Baker - Carstairs Considers HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Lady Georgiana has a problem. She's over the age where she should be married, but she's still single. And her brother has just cut off her allowance.

Now if you're thinking, "No problem, just get a job" then you need a few more details. See, Georgie is thirty-fourth in line for the throne of England and this is 1932 London. Even though she has no money, working is beneath her class. Beside, what can she really do?

Georgie doesn't let that stop her, however. She starts trying her hand at anything she can think of, as anonymously as possible of course. And she may have found the perfect way to make some money to support her self. That is, until she finds a very dead man in her own bathtub. How did he get there? And, more importantly, is Georgie's life in danger?

I've been a devoted fan of Rhys Bowen's work since I discovered it five years ago. So buying this book was a no brainer. And I must say I enjoyed it.

The mystery itself was a little slow, especially at the beginning. Once it got going, it held my interest until the end. And I was completely stumped, figuring it out only when Georgie did.

What kept me going was Georgie herself. She is lots of fun with a great sense of humor. Her narration had me grinning most of the way through the book. She's just the right mix of upper class and realist to be immediately likable.

This book is as much about Georgie's search to support herself as it is the mystery. If read as such, it will be very satisfying. Light and fun reading.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By D. Blankenship HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on January 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is the first book I have read by this author, Rhys Bowen, but I can assure you it will not be the last. To be honest, this work had me hooked after only three pages. I realize that this offering is classified as a mystery, but, in my own mind, it may be just a click or two off the standard book in this genre. Yes, there is a mystery, involving one dead Frenchman in our heroine's bathtub, but the mystery part of the book is sort of a by- product of a well told story. Observation, character development and wonderfully unlikely situations make this story. To be frank, as dense as I am, I had the "who done it" part figured out quite quickly. That is just fine tough, as the strength of this book lies elsewhere.

This work is absolutely hilarious. The plot, which has been told and retold here by other reviewers, simply put, concerns a young member of the royal family, set in England and Scotland, in 1932. The young lady has found herself cut off from what little family money there is, has no servants, is absolutely clueless as to how to even start a fire, much less prepare a meal other than toast and warmed over baked beans. She finds herself, on her own, in prewar London.

It has been pointed out by a couple of other reviewers that perhaps this work may be of more interest to women than to men. This could be true, but if you are like me, you will read just about anything as long as it is well written. Another point mentioned by a couple of reviewers is that the attitudes displayed by many of the characters in this book fit our times, socially, rather than those of England in the 1930s. I do respectfully disagree with this observation. The attitudes may not have been physically manifested during those times, but I can assure you the thoughts were there.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By April on October 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The situation with Georgiana as 32nd (or so) in line for the throne is curious. It's the '30s, in the midst of the Depression, even so, there have always been impoverished aristocrats and minor royalty--and Georgiana is one. Her half-brother, the Duke, is lord of a draughty castle in Scotland, but more importantly, can't spare her an allowance. Her future is to be married off to some minor princeling from the Continent, if she's lucky. So Georgiana escapes the boring castle and heads to London, where she tries to make some money without anyone finding out--particularly the Queen.

The Queen, a sort of all-seeing head of the family, somehow knows Georgiana has come to London the moment she arrives, and summons her to ask her to check out the dubious romantic involvement the Prince has tangled himself up in. Why? Because everyone relies on Georgiana to have a bit of brains, which isn't quite so apparent unless it's relative to her brother the Duke, whom is known as not being clever at all.

Most of the book concerns Georgiana and her aristocratic but down-at-heel friends crashing parties for the food and trying to make some money with some odd ideas (in Georgiana's case, working at Harrod's and being fired the first day, and doing light cleaning for the very people who would actually recognize her!). What about the assignment for the Queen? Nothing until the end aside from a brief chance meeting. In the meantime, an actual murder mystery does rear its head (about mid-book) when Georgiana finds a man floating in the bathtub of the huge, empty London house she's staying in (she can't afford servants).
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