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Adult Lit: Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen

Remember when I told you about my adult lit class? Well, there was enough interest so I'm going to begin reviewing the titles I read for my class here in a (hopefully) weekly feature!

Rating: 3.75/5 Stars

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Release Date: 6/25/2007

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About the Book: Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie is 34th in line for the throne and flat broke. Her brother the duke is economizing and Georgie has been cut off. When the queen tries to set her up with the horrible Prince Siegfried (aka fishface) Georgie runs from her Scotland castle to her family's London house under the pretense of helping a friend with a wedding. Georgie is hoping to make a new life for herself. She moonlights as a maid (the horror!) and befriends the handsome but also penniless Darcy O'Mara. When a blackmailing Frenchman winds up dead in her bathtub, Georgie has a new job-discover the killer.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I decided to read this book because my mom is a fan of Rhys Bowen and I'm a fan of lighter mysteries, so I thought this would be a good read.

In many ways, I believe Her Royal Spyness would be considered a cozy mystery. It is fairly light on the mystery side, and while there is a mystery plot, it does take awhile before the mystery really takes off. The body doesn’t appear until just over 100 pages into the book and even then the story goes between Georgie’s many responsibilities-spying on the Prince for the Queen, avoiding Prince fishface, visiting her grandfather, trying not to fall for Darcy O’Mara, as well as trying to catch the killer.

There was a lot happening in this book away from the mystery that I think makes it seem lighter than typical mystery fare. Georgie is very much an amateur detective and at sometimes a little bumbling in her detective skills. Her brother is accused of the murder and she's working hard to clear the family name. The mystery is somewhat easy to solve, so readers looking for a real puzzle won’t find one here. Clues are dropped early on and they are fairly easy to solve. But the story is still lots of fun and has lots of humor which I think will attract readers looking for a quick easy read with a bit of mystery thrown in.

I was a bit annoyed with how long it took for the story to get going. I think that’s partly due to the fact that the jacket flap covers a lot of what happens in the first half of the book, so I was expecting the body to show up and Georgie to start in on her case early on. It takes a bit to get there, but leading up to it is fun. Georgie’s mother is an eccentric former actress who flits from lover to lover and the relationship between the two is funny to read. The story is set in 1930’s but I felt at times the story read like a modern story so much that I forgot it was historical. There is some historical information, but not much that I got a ton of historical detail and the 30’s time period and setting doesn’t seem to further the plot.

I didn’t mind that the mystery was fairly easy to solve as I thought getting there was full of humorous adventures and Georige is a very likeable narrator. She has a great voice and in many ways reminded me of a 1930’s mystery-solving Bridget Jones. The only thing that really bugged me in the book was that early on the Queen asks Georgie to spy on her son, the Prince, because he’s interested in some floozy American. I expected this is where the story would take us next, but it’s another 100 and some odd pages before it’s even brought up again!

Since this is the first in the series, there is a lot of character introduction and storyline set up which can get a bit tedious. But the author has me interested enough to read the next book in the series and see where Georgie ends up next. I enjoyed the book and I think Georgie’s wit and spunk is what made the book enjoyable.

Is there Teen Appeal?: Yes, I think older teens and college students would be a good audience for Her Royal Spyness. Georgie is 21, so she's a young narrator. She’s young, she’s out exploring London with friends but also finds herself low on funds (which I think many college students can relate to!), there’s romance, and Georgie’s friend Belinda is convinced that Georgie needs to get out and explore the world of men and become a bit more wise in that area. This adds a lot of friendship dynamics to the story as well as the mother/daughter relationship and I think chick-lit readers would be attracted to these parts of the story.

Book Pairings: Size 12 is Not Fat, Bridget Jones Diary

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from copy I own in my personal library


  1. I really like this series and it's great for maybe older teens who loved the Princess Diaries - a look at another royal family.


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