by Terrance Mc Arthur
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Malice at the Palace, along with a link to purchase the book.
I am a Rhys Bowen fan. I love her books and I think she’s one of the nicest writers I’ve ever met. Her “Evan” series sings with the music of Wales. Her Molly Murphy books bring the early 1900s of New York City to life. Her Royal Spyness novels are frothy mysteries of British Royalty from the viewpoint of Lady Georgiana Rannoch, the thirty-fifth in line to the throne in the 1930s.
In Malice at the Palace, Georgie is brought in by the Queen to help her youngest son’s fiancée make the transition to British life without learning too much about Prince George’s wild ways and lovers…including playwright Noel Coward (Barbara Cartland, the Regency romance writer, claimed George was father to her child). Georgie and Marina get along just fine, but life at Kensington Palace is interrupted by a dead body–a well-known mistress of the Prince, also known for her drug habit.
With the help of a dashing military officer and Darcy, her Irish-noble-and-secret-agent fiancée, Georgie tries to solve a crime that is hushed up because a member of the Royal Family might be a suspect. She talks her way into apartments, gambles in a casino, dines with Royals, trades quips with Coward and hobnobs with ghosts (most palaces are haunted, you know). Along the way, Georgie prevents her inept maid from causing too many disasters by keeping her cloistered from other humans.
Belinda, Georgie’s usual partner-in-escapades, isn’t her libidinous, madcap self and she doesn’t participate to her usual capacity, but she is part of the path to the solution of the mystery. Darcy may be closer to this case than Georgie would like, and she questions her commitment to him.
The Spyness series is light and breezy, but Bowen gives Georgie enough deductive skills to make her logic leaps and conclusions reasonable. She does a fair amount of footwork, following clues to the seacoast and to odd parts of London. The sprinkling of historical personages are used as characters, not as scenery, and the Depression-era setting is well-textured and slides up around the reader like a London fog, not like a boa constrictor.
Malice at the Palace is a lighthearted two-step through murder, drugs, and deception, loaded with familiar characters and quirky new ones. God Save the Thirty-Fifth-in-Line!
To enter to win a copy of Malice at the Palace, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Palace,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 15, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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