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Royal Blood (A Royal Spyness Mystery) Hardcover – September 7, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 145 customer reviews
Book 4 of 10 in the Royal Spyness Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Agatha-winner Bowen successfully mixes Wodehousian farce with a whodunit plot in her fourth 1930s mystery starring Lady Georgiana Rannoch (after 2009's Royal Flush). When the queen asks Georgiana, a distant relative of George V, to attend the wedding of a royal cousin and old schoolmate, Princess Maria Theresa, in Romania, the impoverished 22-year-old must scramble to come up with a maid to maintain appearances. She ends up with Queenie Hepplewhite, a clumsy if well-meaning servant who lost a previous job after setting fire to her mistress's clothing. Once in Romania, the pair find themselves in the midst of a sensitive murder case at the remote castle where the nuptials are to take place. Field Marshal Pirin, head of the Bulgarian army and a close adviser to his country's king, collapses during a festive meal and is later found to have been poisoned. Bowen once again demonstrates her mastery of the light, romantic mystery.
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From Booklist

In this fourth Royal Spyness mystery, penniless Lady Georgiana Rannoch desperately seeks escape from both London and her dreadful relatives. Rescue comes from the queen, who asks Georgie to attend a royal wedding in Transylvania. Georgie is the thirty-fourth person in line for the English throne, but she’s also an old schoolmate of the bride, Princess Maria Theresa of Romania. Georgie hires a young, inexperienced Cockney woman to be her maid; meets her overbearing traveling companion, Lady Middlesex, along with Miss Deer-Harte; and they all hie off to Transylvania. Once they’re at the old castle, a mystery man vexes Georgie (Could he be a vampire?); then the vulgar Bulgarian field marshal Pirin drops dead at dinner. Georgie, her erstwhile beau Darcy O’Mara, and bridegroom Prince Nicholas must solve the mystery or risk an international incident. Georgie also has to deal with Maria Theresa’s brother, Prince Siegfried, who has decided Georgie would be an ideal wife. Bowen keeps the mystery light and humorous, but the discerning reader will note the social problems underlying Georgie’s breezy narrative. --Kat Kan

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Product Details

  • Series: A Royal Spyness Mystery (Book 4)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Hardcover; 1 edition (September 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425234460
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425234464
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #610,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The last thing her Ladyship expected to see while peering into the dark, Transylvanian night was some "thing" or some "one" climbing up Bran Castle wall.

Such are the things that tend to happen to poor Lady Georgiana Rannoch. She's twenty-two, "depressedly" single, and thirty-fourth in line to the British throne. The King is her second cousin, and his wife, Her Majesty Queen Mary, loves to give Georgie little tasks. Most recently, she dispatched Georgie to keep tabs on the Prince of Wales' new American lady friend. Prior to that, Her Majesty put Georgie in charge of a visiting German princess with a fondness for shoplifting and American gangster slang.

This time Queen Mary appointed Lady Georgiana to represent the Royal family at the wedding of Georgie's old school mate, Princess Maria Theresa of Romania, to Prince Nicholas of Bulgaria. Adding to the atmosphere of the royal wedding is its location, the dark and dreary Castle Bran, Transylvania, purported home to vampires and werewolves. And then there's Prince Seigfried, whom Georgiana unceremoniously dumped earlier in the year, ensconced in the bedroom right next to hers.

In Royal Blood, the highly anticipated fourth book in author Rhys Bowen's "Royal Spyness" series, we find Lady Georgiana in the middle of another murder, and this time a mysterious vial is found in her room. Everyone is snowed in, the pass is closed, and there are no tracks leading from the castle. Just who is trying to frame Lady Georgiana and why?

Among the supporting cast of players in Royal Blood are many familiar faces in this series: Georgie's trusty bed-hopping best friend, Belinda Warburton-Stokes, Georgie's brother Binky, the current duke, and his tiresome, penny pinching wife Fig.
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Format: Hardcover
For anyone who likes cozies, with a little mystery thrown in, a Royal Spyness Mystery is right up his or her alley. In a change of scenery, Lady Georgiana is asked to travel from London to the Castle Bran in Romania's Transylvania to represent the Crown at the wedding of the Princess Maria Theresa and the Bulgarian Prince Nicholas. It seems Georgiana went to school with the princess, who had specifically asked for her friend to be a bridesmaid.

Yes, that's the castle reputed to be Dracula's, giving us the opportunity to anticipate vampires, werewolves and the like, and amusement, along with royal shenanigans, sex [both requited (friend Belinda) and unrequited (Georgiana)], and other assorted goings-on. The mystery is the apparent murder by poison of the head of the Bulgarian armed forces and a favorite of the king, possibly a cause of another Balkan war.

There are some cute moments in the novel, although the formula is becoming somewhat wearisome. Georgie's love life (or lack thereof) is becoming a little boring, while Belinda's is, of course, predictable. As for Georgie's ability to solve crimes, it is more like stumbling into situations that seem to be resolved while she is present. The writing moves the story along apace, and the 1930's royal atmosphere is interesting. The novel is recommended for readers, and they are many, who appreciate the genre.
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Format: Hardcover
Rhys Bowen turns out a superb who-done-it in this new addition to the series. A definite can't miss. New characters add sparkle and life. Lots of intrigue and danger with great escapes. Not a book to put down lightly once you start to read it. Now the important question is - when is the next book in the series coming out? Can't wait!!!!!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's late in 1932 and Lady Georgiana, living on tea and toast because her family's broke and she has no way to earn a living, gets drafted by her cousin, Queen Mary, to go and represent the family at a royal wedding in a castle in Transylvania. One of her old friends from school, a Roumanian princess, is marrying a Bulgarian prince. Georgie is dutiful (and maybe she'll get a few good meals out of it), so off she goes, into the Balkan winter. Of course, it all turns out to be much more complicated than that, with everyone being snowed in, and strange figures creeping about, and the distinct possibility of vampires and werewolves. Somehow, too, her ex-actress mother is there (Georgie's father was the late Duke of Rannoch), and her best friend, the slutty Belinda, and (of course) her heart-throb, the rather wild Darcy O'Mara, who seems to do something secret for His Majesty's government. Then there's a murder -- Georgie is accumulating a good deal of experience with murders -- and in order to prevent international political complications, they'll have to try to cover the whole thing up. At least until after the wedding.

Somehow, though you know going in that this isn't meant to be a "serious" murder mystery, this fourth entry in the series isn't nearly as much fun as the previous three. The pace rather plods and the usually sprightly and tongue-in-cheek humor seems forced. I kept waiting for something interesting to happen. And it's hard to accept that a no-nonsense girl like Georgiana would ever seriously consider the possibility that vampires were real, even in a spooky castle.
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