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|Rhys Bowen's "Royal Spyness" mysteries
Written by Line
(9/22/2013 4:40 p.m.)
I recently came across the "Royal Spyness" mystery series by Rhys Bowen. This is a light (emphasis on "light"!) cozy mystery series about Lady Georgiana Rannoch, 34th in line to the British throne in 1930s England and Scotland. The only trouble is that despite her exalted social position she is also flat broke, and keeps trying to come up with ways to earn some money.
This series is fun if you don't take the "history" seriously and if you don't mind the author "borrowing" heavily from other writers. I get the feeling that author (who is British herself) knows how to do basic research, but just doesn't get the attitudes of the times.
One major blooper for me was in book 2 (A Royal Pain) where Georgiana's relative, Queen Mary, tries to enlist her aid in distracting the attention of her eldest son, David (the future Duke of Windsor), from a certain Mrs. Simpson to a "suitable" Bavarian princess. The only trouble is, a Bavarian princess would certainly be Catholic, and I believe that to this day, British monarchs and future British monarchs are legally forbidden from marrying Catholics (as heads of the Church of England). On the other hand, I did enjoy the thought of a German princess who had learned most of her English from Hollywood gangster movies!
There are other bloopers too, mainly regarding sexual attitudes and the way a young, unmarried woman from a respectable family would be looked after (or not) by said family.
It's also clear that Bowen has read (and borrowed unashamedly from) Nancy Mitford's novels, presumably in the hope that most of her readers have not. (And of course, the attractive, somewhat mysterious young man the heroine is interested in is named Darcy!)
One more nitpick: despite being British herself, I find Bowen doesn't get the language of the times right. I know I'm picky about this, and it might not bother others.
Despite all these criticisms, I've managed to read the whole series so far (mostly because I'm a sucker for the heroine's developing romance), and think others might enjoy them too. Has anyone else read these, and what do you think?
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