Monday, July 27, 2009

Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen

Pretty much left on her own, the thirty-fourth in line for the throne decides to fully strike out on her own and take charge of her destiny. She leaves the Castle and her brother, Binky and his wife, Fig. She arrives at Rannoch house in London and settles in as she figures out her next move. Of course, the Queen has a move. If Georgie is publicly turned out, the Queen has a job for Georgie as a lady-in-wait (or something like it) for the Queen's sister, in the interim, the Queen would like Georgie to spy on her son. After visiting the Queen, she runs into an old school chum, Belinda, and the two come up with the idea of Georgie opening up houses for the well-to-do, under a different name of course. Georgie also runs into another chum, Darcy O'Mara, who's highly unsuitable, but so desirable, but is he more than that? Soon after Georgie arrives, she gets a nasty visitor, Frenchman de Mauxville. De Mauxville claims Georgie's and Binky's father left the estate to him to pay for a gambling debt and Mauxville's there to collect. Turns out de Mauxville was a gambler and a blackmailer, so Georgie thinks there should be plenty of suspects, but the police seemed to have their attention on Binky. In the meantime, Georgie's come up with too many close calls (she's naturally clumsy, but these "accidents" are too much) and wonders if she's the victim of foul play. Of course, she's correct. Eventually she figures out who's behind de Mauxville's murder and the attempts on her life.

Rather an easy mystery to solve, however, Bowen manages to rope the reader into the 30's London that I dismissed the mystery element and allowed myself to be swept into the moment. I'm not sorry I did. I found the story intriguing, Georgie lovable in her "take on the world" attitude, and her smart thinking. Even the Queen commented on Georgie's brain power. The story was intriguing, not just for the mystery, but in how Georgie will get herself out of the jams she's gotten into. If this was made into the movies, I would picture Doris Day (my favorite all time actress) as the role of Georgie (I'm sure Day could do a British accent). Georgie is rather clumsy and Day could do an adorable clumsy (as evidenced in The Glass Bottom Boat. I'm also under the impression after reading Sayer's Whose Body? and this book that the 1920s British aristocrats are completely to blame for today's slang and preppy language and the world's acceptance of it. Real names aren't used inside the social circle, instead the nicknames are dropped like silverware. They even use initials, like HM for His/Her Majesty when referring to the uber-royalty (though I doubt they would do that to their faces). I wonder what the story would have been like if they had they had the technologies we have today. Could one imagine how Pride and Prejudice would turn out if the Bennets had been able to Twitter and update their MySpace or Facebook pages?


Julie said...

I love the 1930's cover of this book - very stylish!
I also love Doris Day!
It is also amazing and fun to think of how technology would change things for authors and their characters too. Kind of hard to imagine, isn't it?

Amanda said...

I agree with Julie - great cover! Sounds like an interesting book.

hamilcar barca said...

heh. i had a dorm-mate my freshman year who adored Doris Day. he'd second your nomination for her to be cast as Georgie. DD could certainly play the fumbling heroine, but i'm having trouble "hearing" her do a British accent.