Title: Queen of Hearts (Royal Spyness series)
Author: Rhys Bowen
Publisher: Berkely Prime Crime, 2014 295 pages
It is July 1934, and Lady Georgianna Rannoch, 35th in line for the British throne, is relaxing after her last adventure. But her mother puts an end to all that, and in minutes Georgie is packing to sail for America. Her mother is headed to Reno for a divorce, but she meets Hollywood movie mogul Cy Goldman on the ship, and soon Mummy and Georgie are off to Hollywood to make a movie with Cy. Georgie couldn't be happier, especially when her sweetheart, Darcy, shows up. Even murder, arson, and theft can't completely dim her pleasure in his company.
This is another fine addition to my favorite of Bowen's three series. Lady Georgianna is a lively and humorous narrator, with a keen eye and a dry sense of humor. The plot is, as usual, a bit intricate and characters are sometimes over the top, but that is not so much a flaw as a deliberate stylistic choice. I think I prefer the books set in England--maybe because England is exotic and Hollywood is just down the coast. Of course, for Georgie it's just the opposite, and American fashions and manners give her all sorts of fun troubles. I enjoyed the entire romp, and only figured out part of the mystery, and that only about half a page ahead of Georgie.
The "Royal Spyness" mysteries aren't for everyone, but if you enjoy a bit of absurdity with your murder and mayhem, you are the right audience. This is a worthy addition to the series, which I recommend reading in order. Queen of Hearts may have a greater appeal to English readers than American, but I could be wrong. The author certainly captures the period well, whether in the US, aboard ship, or in Hollywood--or that wild frontier town of Reno, Nevada.
Full Disclosure: I checked Queen of Hearts out of my library, and received nothing from the writer or publisher in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."