Review: Malice At The Palace

Malice at the Palace (Her Royal Spyness, #9)Malice at the Palace by Rhys Bowen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

No, this is not a sensational 2016 headline, but headline news that was covered up at the time in the 1930’s. Historical fiction is not my cup of tea except for if it is wrapped up in a cosy murder mystery. Then, I’m in. Set between World Wars I & II, against the backdrop of the Great Depression and the rise of Fascism in Europe this enjoyable, cosy mystery series is the most pleasurable way to be engaged with the social commentary of the time. Debauched nobility, drugs and Fascism. The facts and fiction are so seamlessly woven together, dare I say, they make one believe that all the characters existed. I have read all nine books, and I would recommend reading the previous books first to get the maximum from this book.

Rhys Bowen, the author, has done a remarkable job with the series Her Royal Spyness. The heroine is Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie Rannoch, 35th in line to the British throne aka Georgie. Georgie is a penniless aristocrat so in the course of the series she has, unbeknownst to her royal family, worked as a maid, a model, and a sales woman. The Royals would frown upon it. The strength of the series in not in the whodunnit murder plots but the characters and particularly the main characters: Georgie, her boyfriend, Darcy O’Mara (a Peer’s son), her best friend Belinda, her much-beloved grandfather and Queenie the maid.

It is 1934, and the queen has again asked Lady Georgie to provide a service, without giving any money for its undertaking. Georgie is to be the companion to Greece’s Princess Marina, who is to wed wild Prince George, the Queen’s youngest son. The Princess is to be acquainted with British ways. Georgie agrees as “one never says ‘no’ to Her Majesty.” Georgie moves into Kensington Palace and returning from dinner one night she finds the murdered body of Prince George’s ex-girlfriend, a socialite drug addict. Georgie has to investigate quietly to avoid a royal scandal!

It is funny and I found myself laughing out loud in parts, chuckling in others. It is amusing to hear English through the ears of a foreigner. For example, explaining Spotted Dick to Countess Irmtraut, chaperone to Princess Marina, or explaining “and Bob’s your Uncle,” even though he is not! I enjoy the acerbic exchange between Wallace Simpson and the Georgie. This time, they meet at a party, The Prince of Wales attends with Mrs. Simpson and her husband! The series explains the
the triangular relationship wonderfully.

Well researched and written, it is 304 pages of hilarity and history. The characters have developed, and their stories have moved on so I cannot wait to read book 10 Crowned and Dangerous. Oh and I guessed the murder so five stars for me.

Sexual Content Rating: Subtle
Language Content Rating: inoffensive
Violent Content Rating: Minimal
Will a read the next book? Definitely

My rating system (* = star)
0* Could not finish this book
1* Finished the book but didn’t like it
2* Finished the book it was okay
3* A good read worth your time
4* A very good read often with a novel concept or unusual plot
5* Exceptionally good read, a prominent example of the genre

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