The backstory: Her Royal Spyness is the first book in Rhys Bowen's Royal Spyness historical mystery series, which is set in 1930's London.
The basics: Lady Georgiana is 34th in line for the throne of England. She's also broke and unmarried. Given her station in life, working is challenging at best.
My thoughts: I have a fascination with the 1930's and aristocracy, and I snapped up Her Royal Spyness in an Audible sale awhile ago. I'm glad I finally got around to listening to it. It's a cozy mystery series, and like many cozies, it's emphasis wasn't focused on the mystery, particularly in the first half of the book.
The novel is incredibly character driven, and Georgie is a fabulous character. She's funny, and she acknowledges the preposterousness of her situation with wonderful humor. She's a heroine to root for, and when a dead body turns up in her family's home, she finds herself playing sleuth. I'm drawn to cozy mysteries where the amateur sleuth stumbles upon a mystery. Had I not known this novel was a murder mystery, it would not have been apparent until later in the novel.
While Her Royal Spyness is definitely a murder mystery, fans of historical fiction will still delight in its attention to 1930's London aristocracy. The tone of the novel is relatively light-hearted, and although there is a murder to solve, in addition to other serious problems, Bowen keeps the novel light and humorous.
The verdict: I thoroughly enjoyed Her Royal Spyness and getting to know Georgie and her family and friends. As a novel, I enjoyed the non-mystery components most, and I'm curious to see how the balance between story and mystery plays out as the series continues.
Audio thoughts: Katherine Kellgren was utterly fantastic. It was my first time hearing her narrate, but I have a hard time believing the book would have been as enjoyable in print. She mastered the varying British dialects perfectly (to my American ears, admittedly), and her performance for a character who lisped added the perfect element of humor. Throughout this mystery, which is both comical and tense, her narration matched the mood perfectly.
Rating: 4 out of 5 (audio 5 out of 5)
Length: 8 hours and 9 minutes (348 pages)
Publication date: July 3, 2007
Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Her Royal Spyness from an independent bookstore, the Book Depository or Amazon (Kindle edition--only $5.99!)
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