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A Royal Pain (A Royal Spyness Mystery) Hardcover – July 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

To make ends meet, slightly impoverished but well-connected Lady Georgiana Rannoch takes on house-cleaning jobs in disguise in Agatha-winner Bowen's enchanting second mystery set in 1930s England (after 2007's Her Royal Spyness). A tea invitation from the queen, however, sets her on a new mission. Georgiana must house and chaperone a young Bavarian princess the queen hopes to set up with the prince of Wales, thus diverting his attention from his current American love interest. The princess proves to be quite a handful, naïve and addicted to slang. Invitations to the palace, country house weekends and swinging parties are provided for her amusement. When a series of unfortunate deaths arouses Georgiana's suspicions, she launches an investigation that culminates in a startlingly bloody conclusion. Fans will welcome the return of this spunky heroine, 34th in line to the British throne. (July)
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From Booklist

Readers first met impoverished Lady Georgiana when she cleared her brother of a murder charge in Her Royal Spyness (2007), set in 1930s London. Georgiana is now summoned to the palace of her distant relation, the Queen of England, who wants Georgiana to play hostess to a visiting German princess, Hannelore, whom she hopes will catch the eye of the Prince of Wales and distract him from his dalliance with Mrs. Simpson. Georgiana reluctantly agrees, getting her grandfather and his neighbor to impersonate servants. When Hannelore arrives, she proves a handful, spouting phrases from American gangster movies and setting her sights on Darcy O’Mara, the one man who makes Georgiana’s heart leap. To make matters worse, Hannelore expresses interest in the Communist Party and arranges to meet one of the members in a bookshop. Georgiana accompanies Hannelore on the assignation only to have the princess discover the young man’s corpse. A delectable mystery with vibrant characters and a bit of romance, Bowen’s latest is a rollicking good read. --Kristine Huntley

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Product Details

  • Series: A Royal Spyness Mystery (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Hardcover; 1 edition (July 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425221636
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425221631
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #805,531 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 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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Lady Georgiana, thirty-fourth in line for the throne, has been doing rather well for herself in 1932 London. She has managed to keep her secret job as a maid from the others of her social set and is even developing a few domestic skills of her own. She just might be able to pull off living on her own.

Unfortunately, things are about to get sticky. Her Majesty has agreed to host the Bavarian Princess in hopes that this beauty will catch the Crown Prince's eye. And the Queen thinks that Georgie is the perfect person to host Princess "Hanni." Suddenly, Georgie must find a way to hire servants with no money. After all, one doesn't say no to the Queen.

But things only get worse when Hanni arrives. She has learned her English by watching American gangster films. Her companion is an awful Baroness. And wherever Hanni goes, trouble follows. And that's before the first body appears. But the potential political implications of the murder could set the uneasy balance in Europe spinning into another war. Can Georgie solve the crime without starting World War II?

This book is equal parts historical novel, comedy, and mystery, and if read that way, it is a pure delight. There are so many funny scenes in the first half of the book. In fact, I had to stifle some laughs when I was reading in public. While there are some strange questions early, the mystery portion doesn't get going fully until the second half, but I was never bored getting there. Once it does get going, it becomes a good puzzle. I caught a few things long before Georgie, but I would never have pieced the solution together. The book is filled with memorable characters who are strong. It was a delight to spend time with them.

There is nothing painful about this book or series. So be sure to catch up with Georgie's latest adventures.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Christina Lockstein on July 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
My next tag is personal favorite, and I chose A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen. Rhys Bowen is not only one of my favorite authors, but Lady Georgiana is one of my favorite characters as well. Lady Georige, 34th in line to the English throne in 1932, is still working secretly as a maid in order to pay for the daily necessities when the Queen asks her (and you never say no to the Queen) to house and escort Princess Hanni of Bavaria around town in hopes that she will distract the Prince of Wales from his obsession with "that American woman". But Georgie is not only broke, but living without servants! Her maternal grandfather and his next door neighbor step in as butler and housekeeper when the flighty Princess and her entourage arrive. Princess Hanni has learned to speak English from American gangster films, wants to meet "hot and sexy men", and shoplifts from Herrod's. Georgie's hands are more than full, when people start dropping dead around her, and she needs to discover who's murdering them in order to avert an international incident! Georgie is absolutely charming. She hasn't a clue how to flirt, and regularly trips over her own feet. She's sincere and loyal, and remarkably innocent, but she's learning to acquire some backbone (especially in dealing with Wallis Simpson). Bowen writes a bit like a fun tabloid tell-all; you feel like you're getting a sneak peek behind palace walls, but as seen through the eyes of an outsider/insider. Georgie is a unique character, and I simply can't wait for her next adventure. I give the book 5 stars.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Susan J. McLeod on June 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
"Saturday, June 11, 1932
German princess arrives today. Sense impending doom."
But what actually ensues is another madcap adventure for the charming Lady Georgiana Rannoch. Tasked by the Queen to entertain the decidedly odd princess, Georgie must do so while struggling to make a living and keep up appearances. Being a minor royal does not, alas, come with the funds necessary to do either. And Georgie also has an unfortunate habit of stumbling across dead bodies and dark plots, complicating her life even further. But she gets by with a lot of help from her friends, the man-hungry Belinda and the "unreliable rogue" Darcy O'Mara, who describes himself as her "guardian angel." Her sweet and solid ex-copper granddad and his redoubtable neighbor, Mrs. Huggins, also lend a hand as Georgie copes with the princess, a chaotic personal life, and the mysteries and murders around her.
Rhys Bowen's prose positively sparkles. I found myself reading sentences over again just for the sheer pleasure of the words. The book is both fun and funny, and while it may be classified as a "cozy", it doesn't ignore the real world. Soup kitchens, ordinary people dealing with privation, and blackshirts clashing with communists are mixed in with the often frivolous lifestyles of the upper crust. It is interesting to me to see Georgie's awareness of class disparity being challenged. I would like to see this developed in the future. I also long to know more about the intriguing Mr. O'Mara-there is a tantalizing twist to his character in this book. I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Bowen's Constable Evans series, but I think I may have to take my heart out of his hands and give it to the delectable Darcy!
I loved this book.
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