Georgie, aka Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, cousin of King George V of England, is penniless and trying to survive on her own as an ordinary person in London in 1932.
So far she has managed to light a fire and boil an egg... She's gate-crashed a wedding... She's making money by secretly cleaning houses... And she's been asked to spy for Her Majesty the Queen.
Everything seems to be going swimmingly until she finds a body in her bathtub... and someone is definitely trying to kill her.
©2007 Janet Quin-Harkin (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
"Rhys Bowen has crafted an insightful blend of old-fashioned whodunnit, clever satire, and drawing room comedy of errors -- and created a feisty new heroine to delight a legion of Anglophile readers." (Jacqueline Winspear, author of the Maisie Dobbs novels)
"Kellgren finds unique voices for quirky characters such as Georgie’s adorable grandfather and estranged mother, Wallis Simpson, and a sexy Irish lord. Kellgren will make listeners want to meet the kilt-clad ghosts who play bagpipes in Scotland’s castle corridors and tartan-wallpapered bathrooms." (AudioFile)
Book blogger at Bookwi.se
I have to admit, that being a new parent and trying to keep up with work and enjoying my new daughter and trying to get enough sleep, I have just not been interested in reading anything heavy. I have already finished more than my goal of books for the year (which is a new record number of books), so I don’t feel pressed to read to review.
Consequently I have been reading fun books. And this is a great example of a fun book. Georgie is the younger sister of a Duke. She is 34th in line for the throne in 1932. But that does not mean things are going well for her. She is 21, her brother has stopped giving her a living allowance. Her father has died after losing all of the family money in American investments, her mother left her father when she was a young child and has been sleeping her way through all of the rich and famous of Europe since then.
Georgie has had enough of her current life stuck in a cold drafty castle in Scotland with her very sweet, but fairly hapless brother and distant and condescending sister in law. So she heads to London to make her way on her own. But things are not that easy. She does not really have any job skills. And she can’t take just any job, because there is society to think of and her cousin (the Queen) will find out. If she doesn’t figure out a way to take care of herself, she is going to be sent off to the country to be a lady in waiting for a great aunt (the last remaining daughter of Queen Victoria). She will never find a husband (or have any fun) out there.
Things are really not going all that well when she comes home to find a dead body in her bathtub. I assume this is homage to Dorothy Sayers’s first Lord Peter Wimsey book Whose Body? which also has a body in a bathtub as the center of the mystery.
This is a modern book, where Dorothy Sayer was writing as a contemporary of the 1930s, Rhys Rowen is writing of the same time 85 years later. But there are some good parallels. Both are mysteries with real humor. And both have brilliant, but somewhat scattered main characters.
Obviously there is the difference in the gender of the characters in a time when gender mattered significantly. But also because the portrayed eras feel different. Wimsey for all of his lightness suffers from PTSD after fighting in WWI. Georgie is young, naive and stumbled into a lot of answers. Wimsey acts like a fool but is not at all the fool.
There is also the light feminist angle. Georgie is still a part of her class and station. But she is reaching out and willing to push boundaries in ways that is clearly different than Wimsey because Wimsey is both male and still rich.
All in all, this was a fun series, and I will read more of it.
(originally posted on my blog, Bookwi.se)
Fun and enjoyable read .. different angle on the usual mystery
Life in London from different perspectives
Lighthearted murder mystery set in the 1930's (?). Georgiana is royalty...sort of. She is a "Lady" and is in line for the crown...34th in line. Georgiana is an independent, resourceful single woman and broke. She may not have money, but she has friends and her royal name to influence. This book is an easy and enjoyable read following Georgiana's adventures to make some money, to lose her virginity, to clear herself and her brother of murder charges.
A little comedy, a little mystery, a little romance. Very enjoyable read.
I have recently finished this entire series, and I pretty much loved the whole thing. These are deftly written, a lot of fun, and I honestly think they were made to be read by Katherine Kellgren. I don't think I'd have enjoyed them half so much without her narration. Are the stories a little contrived, a little formulaic after a while? Sure. But the characters are charming, the prose effortless, and the mysteries compelling enough to carry the whole thing off.
I thought these might be a little too cute for me, but they're actually reminiscent of Agatha Christie's works from the 1930s, to which they consciously pay homage. Bowen's books come by their high ratings honestly, so go ahead and give it a chance.
Addicted to audiobooks and "chick lit"
Really enjoyed listening to this book. The main character is both relatable and enjoyable. The cast of characters around her are well developed and interesting. As always, Katherine Kellgren gives a fantastic performance and slips flawlessly into many different accents.
I kept wait for the "spyness" part to develop. It never did. Basically just a regency-style novel with a bit of mystery attached and moved into the 20th century. I won't buy any sequels. (submitted by the female of the household, definitely chick-lit)
Happy married mother of one, South African living in South Australia.
Just a fun story. All light hearted. Bringing the era to life.
Her different voices for the characters. Introducing to us all the different levels of society.
Get to the point. Tired of hearing about how she has no money. Very boring characters
Almost couldnt understand the narrator. Very Nasal
All of them
When the action actually got started, there was trouble to sort out rather than just Worrying About Money and so forth. One got drawn into the worry and danger quite well.
Finding a body in the bath tub!
Good distinctive voices for some of the main characters, lots of wonderful accents.
Sometimes royal clout isn't enough to save your life!
The part that's a bit much is the start, where the level of helplessness of a pampered upper class girl is a bit hard to take when reported in first person. Throughout, there's a sort of zany level of fecklessness to the titled classes that's a bit embarrassing and doesn't really even ring quite true. Over time, though, it allows some humorous situations to arise (as when somebody is taken for her own maid just because she answers the door)... However, if you're just looking for some "light reading," this is a pretty fun romp, and subsequent books are likely to be more pleasant for needing less introductory floundering.
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