Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, “Georgie” to her friends, is 34th in line for the throne and has many problems because of it. Her season presented no suitable suitors and her family is quite poor due to her father’s gambling habits. She moves to the family home in London with no servants, learns to build a fire and begins a domestic service company to make ends meet. And that’s before the Queen asks her to spy on the prince and his American amour, and a dead Frenchman shows up in her bath.
And so begins Georgie’s quest to prove her brother Binky’s innocence by discovering who would have killed Gaston de Mauxville. If he was blackmailing her family to get a hold of Rannoch Castle, who else might he have blackmailed and provided with a motivation for murder?
Her Royal Spyness is a fun mystery. It reads more like a drawing room comedy with a dash of intrigue to spice things up. The first person narration was an excellent choice by Bowen – Georgie’s voice is wry and witty as she fends off unsuitable suitors like the rakish Darcy O’Mara, a minor royal who is both Irish and Catholic and Tristam Hautbois, a childhood friend who pronounces his r’s as w’s – both of whom might be trying to kill Georgie as well.
The surprises at the end were handled well. The facts that emerge to reveal the killer of the Frenchman make sense. Bowen even builds suspicion around a number of other minor characters to confuse Georgie and the reader.
An enjoyable read.