Sunday, December 26, 2010

Royal Flush, Her Royal Spyness

Recently I found this delightfully lighthearted and silly series of Rhys Bowen  mystery novels set in post-WWI period London and Scotland. They feature Lady Georgiana Rannoch, a naive and broke but sharp royal (Queen Victoria's great granddaughter) who is attempting to eke out a living as a house-cleaner, escort, spy for the queen, detective, or whatever comes to hand while avoiding being married off to some disgusting foreign prince by her royal relations. King George V is on the throne and his wife, Queen Mary, is anxious to get her son, David, the Prince of Wales, and future Edward VIII/Duke of Windsor away from a brash Baltimore social climber who at that time, is still married to Mr. Simpson. We all know what happens next.

The settings in London or Castle Rannoch Scotland are amusingly drawn, the dialogue is fresh and sparkling, historical characters like David and Wallis Simpson, as well as the adorable Princess Elizabeth,  are fun to read about.

True, the characters fall closer to caricature and issues like class differences, snobbery, and starvation are presented more as  a kind of joke but it is overall pretty fun stuff. The series explores "Big Weekend" the England between wars themes like Jacqueline Winspear or Charles Todd but in  a very lighthearted way.  I guess it is best defined as a historical cozy. The next in the series, Royal Blood, is coming out soon, and I look forward to reading it.

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