Title: Malice at the Palace (A Royal Spyness Mystery)
Author: Rhys Bowen
Publisher: Berkley, 2015. 304 pages
Lady Georgiana Rannoch, 35th in line for the British throne, is back from America and as broke as ever. Fortunately the queen assigns her to be a companion to Princess Marina of Greece, about to marry Prince George. All Georgianna has to do is keep the princess from finding out about the less savory side of George's history, protect her from the ghosts at Kensington Castle...and figure out who murdered society babe Bobo Carrington, "the girl with the silver syringe," and dumped her body at the castle. Of course, no one can know about that, lest it involve the royal family. Naturally, Georgie is up to the task, with a little help from her sweetheart Darcy O'Mara, and her decidedly non-royal maternal grandfather.
This was a delightful romp, hitting most of the high points, with just a hint of a darker side. Georgie probably spends a little too much time feeling sorry for herself as a general rule, but events in this book contrive to first give her good reason to, and then remind her things could be worse. A few loose ends from the series are wrapped up, and a couple of new ones created to keep us hoping for more about Georgie.
To be honest, this series will never qualify as great literature. Bowen isn't quite willing to make Georgie suffer as much as a good writer probably would her heroine. But it's great entertainment, and I am happy to have things turn out well. The series may well be a nearly perfect cosy-mystery balance of mystery, romance, excitement, and easy reading. Long may it last.
I can recommend the book and the series to all lovers of the cozy mystery, and particularly to those (like me) who are drawn to books about England between the wars. I'm obviously not the only one who thinks it's a great fun read, given the length of the waiting list at the library!
Full Disclosure: I checked Malice at the Palace 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."