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Naughty In Nice (A Royal Spyness Mystery) Hardcover – September 6, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: A Royal Spyness Mystery (Book 5)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Hardcover; 1 edition (September 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425243494
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425243497
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #690,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Rhys Bowen and Jacqueline Winspear in Conversation

Rhys Bowen

Rhys Bowen: Jackie, you and I bonded instantly when we met, and every time we compare notes, it’s like talking with my clone. We’re both British, both expats who live five miles apart in California. We write about female sleuths in the 1930s. We seem to share a similar approach to our writing. We both feel passionately about the things we write about. So let’s start with being British expats. We’ve both lived much of our adult life in America and yet we choose to write about England. Do you think this is a nostalgia for home, or we are more comfortable writing about the place where we grew up? For me, I think it’s a little of both, especially because I choose to write about England in the past. It’s the nostalgia for cream teas, country fetes, a kinder simpler time. And I feel more comfortable being able to get under the skin of my characters, to know how they would think and react, based on my own upbringing. And yet in many ways that time we both write about mirrors what we are going through today--the desperation of a depression, the threat of extremism, the disparity between haves and have nots. It’s interesting to me that so many readers write that they identify strongly with Lady Georgie--when she’s a twenty something royal!

Jacqueline Winspear: I don’t think there’s a nostalgia for home, or for the past as such; however, the fact remains that, although I have lived here in California for over 20 years, I don’t think I would attempt to write a novel with American characters because there is something I could never touch because I was not raised here–-and when that ring of authenticity is broken in a novel, it spoils the story for the reader, so I don’t want to risk it. If anything, my work is inspired by my love of history, and more particularly, the question of what happens to ordinary people in extraordinary times. Fiction is the best way to explore that question; I like to weave the stories of ordinary people into some of the bigger events of the day, like zooming the camera in on a scene. Mystery is a great vehicle for telling such stories, given that arc through chaos to resolution.

Jacqueline Winspear

Bowen: Do you think its harder or easier to write about a place where you don’t live? I find that when I’m in England I’m a keen observer and I notice things I’d probably take for granted if I lived there. This is especially true about the class system, which is the focus of my Lady Georgie novels. I’m fascinated to find that upper class relatives and friends still see themselves as the ones who matter, still a them and us mentality.

Winspear: I think it’s easier for me to write about Britain from a geographical as well as generational distance. In California, I am not distracted by the Britain of today--there’s a clear delineation--so I am able to write about the past and immerse myself in the essence of that time. The class system is alive and well in Britain; it has changed in some respects, though you can’t change a system entrenched over centuries overnight, and I’m not sure if people would like it if it was changed. Which is great, because it gives you a lot of material for the Lady Georgie novels.

Bowen: We have both chosen to write books set in the 1930s. You approach yours from the grim reality of the lingering aftermath of war, while I focus on the bright young things, the Bertie Woosters, who still act as if nothing has changed in England. I choose to see the funny side of a worrying time, while reminding the reader that Fascism, communism and a second war loom ahead. And I am fascinated by the 1930s, not only because they mirror our time but because they were one of the great turning points of history. Even in England society was poised on a knife edge. Extremists were battling for control. Nazi power was swallowing up Europe and yet the bright young things still lived as if there was no tomorrow.

Winspear: The 1930s offer so much for the writer, with those of one station in society barely affected by the economic woes of Britain at the time, and another living in the most dreadful conditions--yet it was also a great age of house-building in Britain, and you started to see a middle class (as we know it today) emerging. You’ve done well to use humor in your novels, Rhys, because that British sense of humor has brought the country through some terrible times. Though she has many very heart-wrenching memories of the war, some of my mother’s funniest stories are of things people said to buoy each other along during the Blitz.

Bowen: Do you ever get letters saying that it was unbelievable to have a female sleuth at that time, when women were largely confined to the home? I get them even more about my Molly Murphy books, that take place in the early 1900s. But even then women were doing extraordinary things--traveling around the world in 74 days, going to the North Pole, and becoming detectives in the NYPD. By the thirties I’m well aware when I’m writing that women were doing amazing things--Amy Johnson was the first person to fly solo from England to Australia, in an open cockpit plane that was literally held together with paper and string.

Winspear: I am more likely to get those sorts of letters from American readers. The experiences of women between the wars were quite different in America, for an assortment of reasons. In fact, the women of Britain who came through the Great War had more in common with the women in America’s south after the Civil War, when women--many of whom were widowed, or would never marry--were left to fend for themselves, running family farms etc. In Britain, women gained an independence during the war that they were not about to give up--though there are definitely gray areas--and they could please themselves, to a certain extent. If they wanted to wear trousers, they could, because who was going to stop them? Women were moving into public life as never before, with a very visible independence--though they had to be responsible for their financial security, which your Lady Georgie knows only too well!!

Bowen: When we compared notes about our writing experience the other day, were you as amazed as I was to find that we work in exactly the same way? We both start a book knowing very little and we work in flat out panic mode for the first fifty pages, convinced that this book will be our first abysmal failure and nobody will read us again. Then by page 50 the story seems to develop a life of its own, doesn’t it? I’m always amazed when characters say things I never expected or the story goes in a direction I never foresaw.

Winspear: I felt quite relieved to know that you have those same fears when you first start out. Yes, the initial 50 pages are terrifying, and I am usually convinced that I will never be able to write another book ever again and that the truth will finally be out! But at some point you “lock” into the story, and it starts going along at a good clip, and if you are interested in your story and excited by it, it soon gathers momentum. But I remember you telling me that when you wrote your first Lady Georgie novel, the opportunity to write something funny really inspired you. There’s a terrific energy in humor, and in creating memorable funny scenes, and I admire you for having created such a delightful character while remaining true to the time.

Rhys Bowen writes the humorous Royal Spyness Mysteries (Naughty in Nice, September, 2011), as well as the Molly Murphy series, (Bless the Bride, March, 2011).

Jacqueline Winspear is the creator of the acclaimed Maisie Dobbs series.

(Photo of Rhys Bowen © John Quin Harkin)

(Photo of Jacqueline Winspear)

Review

"Georgie's latest adventure is charming and lighthearted as ever, though the 1930s setting carries ominous hints of the future."
(-Kirkus Reviews)

"It's another delightful, unmissable installment in the Royal Spyness series. Bowen captures the cheeky humor and charm of the Lost Generation, ladling in a healthy dose of dry British wit and fundamental common sense."
(-Romantic Times)

"Fans of Peter Lovesey's hilarious books transforming the future Edward VII into an unlikely sleuth will relish Bowen's whimsical fifth Royal Spyness mystery starring Lady Georgiana Rannoch, 34th in line to the British thrown (after 2010's Royal Blood.) Bowen successfully melds a whodunit with comedy as few contemporary writers can."
(-Publishers Weekly (starred review))

"The best part of this delicious series is the cast of characters (well known and otherwise), led, of course, by the level-headed and stiff- upper-lipped Georgiana, who tackles whatever is in front of her, be it murder or romance, with uncommon relish. A royal romp."
(-Booklist)

Customer Reviews

The characters are very likable and the story lines are fun.
Mrs Croley Reads
After reading books 3 and 4 in print, when I first started listening to this book it brought a huge smile to my face.
twinsmom
You can't miss reading any of Rhys Bowen's series concerning Her Royal Spyness.
Hunter Ross

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been looking forward for the next book in the Royal series, and while I did find it to be amusing, I feel that it was missing a major piece. Where was Darcy?? Bowen has created one of my top 20 favorite male protagonist roles in literature and he was deeply missed from this story. The way that he was semi-written-out from this extension of Georgie's tale was rather obvious. What there was of Darcy had a distinct lack of gumption and fight. He's Irish and his girl is taking to a "Frenchie" and a theif! Where was my sexy rogue repartee? He could have greatly enhanced the story and added what was sorely missing, some sexy men. Now wait, I did not forget Jean-Paul. I found him charming, sexy, and fresh. I hope that he will be making a return in Georgie's future. However, the only real heart stirring moment we have with him is on the beach at his villa after rescuing Georgie from the grotesque Sir Toby. Everything else is cut short by arrests, thievery, and escaping imprisonment. Georgie was in the Riviera for crying out loud and she didn't get beyond a chaste kiss or two! She did better in Transylvania with "vampires" a foot in the last book. Where were the flirtations? Where was the romance? Where was the sex? I sure hope that in Bowen's next installment of Georgie's story, that Darcy has shaken whatever caused him to loose his backbone in this book. I want the old Darcy back! Jean-Paul, you can come back too!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Molly on September 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a fantastic author! She did a wonderful job at creating a fun, mysterious novel. It was well written and the characters were full of so much personality.

I wish, though, that I had gone back and read books 1-4, I absolutely had a blast following Georgie in this fun, mysterious novel! From mishaps on the run way, to the Queen's stolen treasures, poor Georgie had a go of it! I fell in love with her character and fell in step beside her, as we walked the walk, strutting Chanel's fashions, and as we set out to find the murderer. It was all so fun! Not to mention an ooh-la-la hunky, hunky man to drool over! With a name like Jean-Paul, who wouldn't swoon???? :-)

This is one of those crazy, cozy mysteries where you just KNOW you will not want it to end. That's how I felt! I didn't want it to end. But the good news? I get to go back soon and read the other 4 Royal Spyness books! I can't wait! If they are as awesome as this 5 Book worthy novel, then no doubt I'll be singing more praises for this fantastic author!

*This review is based on a complimentary copy which was provided for an honest review*
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Karen on September 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I "discovered" Rhys Bowen with her first book in the Molly Murphy series. I've read all of those, so when Ms. Bowen began this series, I tried it, and I love this series even more than the Molly Murphy series! I'm a cozy mystery addict who loves strong female sleuths, especially British ones. Lady Georgiana is 22, single, a member of the royal family, honest, trusting, beautiful, and smart. This installment in the series was excellent. Bowen managed to work Georgiana's grandfather and her friend Belinda into the plot, but Darcy wasn't as much of a presence as I would have liked, so I am anxious for the next installment in this series. I hope that I will be able to read about Georgiana and Darcy's engagement and then marriage. She could assist him in his secret missions! If you like this series, I recommend Kate Kingsbury's Manor House series. There are some parallels in setting, etc.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on September 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In 1933 in spite of being 34th in the queue to the throne, Lady Georgiana Rannoch is impoverished. She works in a London soup kitchen where she can save money an get some free meals.

The Queen temporarily saves her from more terrible tasting food by assigning her an all expense paid trip to the French Riviera. Her mission is to retrieve a snuff box stolen by nasty Sir Toby Groper. In France, while riding the rails, Rannoch meets the legend Coco Chanel, who shocks the pauper when she asks her to model a new line of clothing when they arrive in Nice. While doing her royal assignment and modeling for Coco Chanel, Georgina investigates whether her lover Darcy O'Mara is cheating on her. However, her efforts merge when she is caught in the middle of a homicide and the royal necklace is lifted.

The latest endearing jocular Royal Spyness amateur sleuth (see Royal Blood) is a delightful Depression Era French Riviera romp. The heroine is a charmer as she fumbles and bungles her investigation while strutting on the catwalk. Coco Chanel adds to the fun as number 34 using the Queen's money (she hopes) acts Naughty in Nice.

Harriet Klausner
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By L. Burns VINE VOICE on August 25, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's January and London is cold and dreary. Everyone that Georgie knows is headed to the South of France, but perpetually broke Georgie hasn't a prayer of taking a holiday. Just when she's resigned herself to a gloomy winter spent stranded in the family's frigid townhouse, Georgie gets an unexpected reprieve. The Queen asks Georgie to discreetly retrieve a royal collectable that's gone missing. As luck would have it, this little mission will take Georgie to glamorous Nice, where she is wooed by a suave French aristocrat and a boorish British tycoon.

But Georgie's luck doesn't hold out for long, and before you can say "What happened to Darcy?", she's involved in the theft of a valuable piece of royal jewelry and the murder of a prominent businessman. Don't be alarmed though, she still finds time to attend a party or two, exchange choice words with the notorious Mrs. Simpson and go shopping with Coco Chanel.

I really enjoyed this installment; it was so much fun. Georgie's first person narrative is full of her unique brand of witty, self-deprecating humor and well bred charm. There's a little romance, a little mystery and a whole lot of laughs.

I have to be honest - Georgie's sleuthing skills leave a lot to be desired. She doesn't actually solve mysteries, she more or less stumbles and bumbles her way though and conveniently winds up in the right place at the right time. Or maybe the wrong time. The point is, the "mystery" itself is not the strong point of this charming "cozy". The period detail, the setting, the characters...these are the real stars of the show. And that's fine with me. Great characters, sparkling, pithy dialog and a glamorous setting go a long way when it comes to a light hearted, entertaining story.
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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 seventh book is called Heirs and Graces, and on November 5th The Twelve Clues of Christmas comes out in paperback, perfect timing for the holidays.
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.

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