” Oh, Lord. It had never occurred to me that there would be a companion! Of course there would. How dense of me. What king would send his daughter, newly released from the convent, across from the Continent without a chaperone. ” (Ch.6, p.54)
[Her Royal Spyness series #2] About two months after Lady Georgiana, a Windsor who is thirty-fourth in line for the throne, solved the mystery murder case that would have incriminated her brother and threatened her life, she returns to her normal life and makes a living by cleaning houses. She belongs to a branch of the family that has been down on its luck. In disguise she dons her maid uniform and maintains appearance of the upper crust when she is off.
I began to think that Granddad was right. The princess was rapidly turning into more than I could handle. The small stipend from Binky certainly wouldn’t cover outings like lunch at the Savoy and I couldn’t risk letting Hanni loose in any more shops. (Ch.16, p.121)
The Queen is constantly troubled by her son’s intimate liaison to Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee and asks Georgiana to play hostess to a Bavarian princess whom Her Majesty likes her son to be interested in. Georgiana has no servants, no funds to entertain a friend, let alone a royal guest. With a small stipend from Binky, she is to hire a short-term maid, and to install her grandfather and his neighbor as butler and cook.
The book is lighter than what I expect a “whondunnit” to be. When the princess arrives with an overbearing baroness, she proves to be more than a handful—she drinks like a fish speaks like American gangster in movies, and sets her sights on Darcy O’Mara, the one man who makes Georgiana’s heart flutter. To makes matter worse, upon her arrival, three people have died in a remarkably short space of time with no seemingly obvious connection. Parts historical fiction, comedy, and mystery, Bowen’s prose really sparkles. I find myself reading sentences over again just for the sheer pleasure of her words. On top of the clever twist at the end, the book shines in the historic description of the society and the ways people conceive the relations and their ways of thinking. This is a comical royal romp.
307 pp. Berkeley Prime Crime. Paper. [Read/
Skim/ Toss] [Buy/ Borrow]