Her Royal Spyness


Bowen, author of the Molly Murphy mystery series, starts a new series with this book, featuring the engaging Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie. Fortunately, she goes by Georgie. Thirty-fourth in line for the British throne, she has no skills and little education, but knows that she needs to do something to support herself so that she won’t be married off. Moving into her family’s London home sans servants and having to fend for herself, she hits on the idea of starting a domestic service, staffed by herself with her title as a reference. Queen Mary offers her another job, that of spying on her son Edward and his mistress, Mrs. Simpson, at a house party. These employments take a backseat to clearing her family name when a Frenchman who claimed deed to the family estate is found drowned in her bathtub.

Bowen adroitly mixes the Upstairs and Downstairs worlds with Georgie gaining insight into how servants are neither seen nor heard and mixing with friends whose purses do not equal their aspirations. The inclusion of the queen, her son, and his mistress is not heavy-handed but rather enhances the tone and setting of the story. As it ends, Queen Mary is sending Georgie on another assignment. I know she won’t prevent the abdication, but I still look forward to reading it.

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12 of the best stories selected from the 2012 Historical Novel Society Short Story Award






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(US) 9780425222522




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