Loved this! I was less enthused with the first book in the series, Her Royal Spyness, perhaps for the same reason that it takes me several episodes to really get into a TV series: I have to get to know the characters. But I am definitely now hooked. The premise: Lady Georgiana is 32nd in line to the British throne at the time of Queen Mary (after WWI and before WWII). This means she’s just royal enough for it to be inappropriate for her to work for a living, and yet too far removed from the royal family to actually have means of her own, especially after the Great War. She therefore works as an undercover maid, but pretends to her royal connections, and especially the Queen, that she is well-to-do and “respectable.” If the Queen were to find out the truth, she’s afraid she would ship her off to the country to be a lady-in-waiting for Princess Anne, and she would never see society again. Or, worse yet, she’d be married off to her nemesis Prince Sigfried, aka “Fish Face,” who secretly prefers boys. Meanwhile, Queen Mary enlists Georgie’s assistance in trying to interest her wayward son David, the Prince of Wales, in someone–anyone–more appropriate for him than the married American woman, Wallace Simpson. In the process of trying to carry out the Queen’s wishes without letting her or anyone else know of her dire financial straits, dead bodies keep turning up–and it’s up to Georgie to figure out whodunit and why. And periodically, the dashing Scottish playboy (and possible spy?) Darcy O’Mara keeps showing up in her life, only to vanish again with no warning.
I love the caricatures in this series! All the characters are larger-than-life, but that conveys well in a cozy mystery series like this one, where the circumstances are likewise over-the-top. I also love that real historical figures make peripheral appearances, and keep the story moving. Having just read Rhys Bowen’s “In Farleigh Field” also, I did notice that the climax of both stories was almost identical… but the situations leading up to those climaxes and the characters involved were quite different, so I didn’t mind.
Will definitely be reading on!
My rating: *****