Author: Rhys Bowen
Provided Synopsis: Her ridiculously long name is Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, daughter to the Duke of Atholt and Rannoch. And she is flat broke. As the thirty-fourth in line for the throne, she has been taught only a few things, among them, the perfect curtsey. But when her brother cuts off her allowance, she leaves Scotland, and her fiancé Fish-Face, for London, where she has:
a) worked behind a cosmetics counter-and gotten sacked after five hours
b) started to fall for a quite unsuitable minor royal
c) made some money housekeeping (incognita, of course), and
d) been summoned by the Queen to spy on her playboy son.
Then an arrogant Frenchman, who wants her family’s 800-year-old estate for himself, winds up dead in her bathtub. Now her most important job is to clear her very long family name.
Review: The biggest problem with this book is the pacing of it. Am I the only one who believes that a murder mystery story should not take more than half the novel for the main event to occur? There were countless times that I considered abandoning Her Royal Spyness because nothing was happening to grab my interest.
And now that I have finished the book, let me say how unfortunate it would have been if I had abandoned it. The characters are not the problem; I found Lady Georgiana to be absolutely charming and endearing. She may be a penniless royal, yet she has plenty of spunk and intelligence to pave her own way in life. Reading about her initial arrival in London seemed to drag on, but once she uncovers a body in her bathtub (and ingeniously creates a way to hold a profession to provide her with the means to live) the book blossomed into something that I enjoyed. It was light, it was fun, and the main character was an original; it was everything that I wanted for a summer read while on the beach.
If only the pacing problems had not plagued the story in the beginning, because I can really see that as being a deterrence to getting readers to continue the book. Then there was also the unfortunate case of the culprit behind the murders being a bit too easy to solve, from my point of view… My advice to readers would to be to trudge on to get the good parts of the story, and to not expect to be too shocked with the outcome. Now that I am done I am interested enough in the premise of the series with Georgie as the main character to give the second book a shot. The two star rating, in case you were wondering, is due to issues with pacing and the transparency of those responsible for the murder.