Customer Reviews: Royal Blood (A Royal Spyness Mystery)
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on September 7, 2010
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. As always, the mysterious and handsome Darcy O'Mara pops up at just the right moment! New additions to the mix are: Georgie's royal traveling companion Lady Middlesex, Queenie Hepplewhite her bumbling new maid, and a mysteriously dark butler named Dragomir.

Let me be honest, I love this series and was somewhat apprehensive about reviewing Royal Blood. Often times, at this point in a series, the plot and characters can become flat and repetitive. Not so in Rhys Bowen's latest! Quite the opposite, the characters remain fresh and interesting. The plot is crisp, and the turns are sharp and deadly. Ms. Bowen wisely gives the reader just enough information about the history of the players to allow a first time reader to feel right at home in Castle Bran. Rhys Bowen has written another brilliant, not-to-be-missed addition to this well loved series.
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VINE VOICEon December 13, 2010
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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on September 20, 2010
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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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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on June 10, 2012
The vogue for vampires has made its way to the Royal Spyness Mysteries in Royal Blood. Lady Georgie is sent to Romania by Queen Mary to attend the wedding of an old school friend, which is fortunate because Georgie's sweet but clueless brother Binky and demanding sister-in-law Fig have taken up residence in her London home. After arriving in Eastern Europe the wedding party is soon snowed in and spooky goings on begin to happen in the dark corridors and chilly rooms of the ancient Transylvanian castle. Could it be . . . vampires!? Georgie is way too sensible to believe in vampires, and yet . . .

Many of the series regulars contrive to be on hand, including free-spirited Belinda, resourceful but often absent love interest Darcy, and Georgie's glamorous but neglectful mother. A wonderful new addition is Queenie, a friendly, well-meaning girl Georgie hires for the trip who is trying her very best to learn how to be a proper maid. This series set between the two World Wars continues to be wonderful fun.
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on August 10, 2016
This is the 4th book in the Royal Spyness cozy mystery series. Georgie receives an unexpected surprise when her brother and his wife show up in London, and look to be staying for an extended period. When Georgie receives a royal invitation to lunch, she is again surprised by the queen’s request to send her to Transylvania as a royal representative for a wedding of a former schoolmate of Georgie. In desperate need of an inexpensive lady’s maid for the journey, she turns to her grandfather who, with his neighbor’s help comes up with a girl looking to improve her station. The inappropriately named Queenie is inexperienced and a bit of a disaster, but Georgie has no choice in the matter. She is chaperoned by the boisterous Lady Middlesex and her companion. Weather traps the group in the castle, and Georgie is dismayed to find her ill-fated fish-lipped Prince is also one of the guests and fears that she has been set up again. Several disturbing encounters have Georgie worrying about vampires, including a few bumps in the night. Luckily for her, Darcy also shows up at the castle as an invited guest of the groom. When a death occurs at the table and looks suspiciously of foul play, the group must work together to figure out who the murderer is before another person is killed. This was a delightful atmospheric turn for the series and I enjoyed the character development, particularly for the relationship between Darcy and Georgie. We will see where things go in the next installment.
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on October 15, 2016
Lady Georgianna, 34th in line for the British throne, receives a luncheon invitation from the Queen. There she is informed that she is going to represent the royal family at a wedding, one which involves an old acquaintance from her boarding school. Looking forward to an adventure (and some decent food), she scrapes up a maid and heads off. She arrives at a mountain castle in the middle of a blizzard. After settling in, the feasts begin; unfortunately, in the midst of a round of toasts to the couple, an important visiting general falls to the table and dies--of poison. And the search is on: is it a vampire? Or an anarchist? Or the Count? Or the bride-to-be?
This is another fine book. I was starting to get frustrated by Georgie's oddly naive suspicions, but she eventually settles down and becomes her normal Rannoch self. This setting is richly described, the plot moves along pleasantly, and a couple of secondary folks from the earlier books also manage to put in an appearance. Nice, entertaining read.
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on January 17, 2016
Lady Georgiana is a wonderful character, trying to make her way in the early thirties, with only her title to open any doors at all. The period seems well researched and I don't spot any anachronisms. She is surrounded by repeating characters who are quirky enough that you are happy to see them when they show up in the plot. And some of her solutions are surprising, though I've been reading murder mysteries for a very long time. I am buying them all in hardcover to keep on the shelf, though I read them on Kindle for the larger print. Humor is a must for me in a mystery series and these are well done. Highly recommended
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on May 14, 2011
Her Royal Spyness novels are delicious! Read one and you will be captivated. Having read all of them I have started on the first of the Molly Murphy series and will read all of those. Sheer entertainment blended into historical facts. Rhys Bowen is responsible for my house being dusty, the garden needing to be weeded and a lack of sleep! I just can't put one of her books down until the last page, then I have to stop myself from putting the next one on Kindle until a few other things have been accomplished!!
I am so glad Amazon listed the first Royal Spyness which intriqued me enough to get started.
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on August 15, 2013
I genuinely love this series. It is a charming mystery series that keeps your attention. There is a little romance with a charming love interest who carries through the series. A very likable heroine (and the situations in which she finds herself) also provide humor. It has a bit of everything that makes a mystery series enjoyable.
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