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Publisher's Summary

In the days leading up to her wedding to Darcy O'Mara, Lady Georgiana Rannoch takes on the responsibilities of a grand estate, but proving she can run a household just may be the death of her in the new Royal Spyness Mystery from the New York Times best-selling author of On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service. 

If only Darcy and I had eloped! What I thought would be a simple wedding has been transformed into a grand affair, thanks to the attendance of the queen, who has offered up the princesses as bridesmaids. Silly me! I thought that withdrawing from the royal line of succession would simplify my life. But before Darcy and I tie the knot in front of queen and country, we have to find a place to live as man and wife....

House hunting turns out to be a pretty grim affair. Just as we start to lose hope, my globetrotting godfather offers us his fully staffed country estate. Mistress of Eynsleigh I shall be! With Darcy off in parts unknown, I head to Eynsleigh alone, only to have my hopes dashed. The grounds are in disarray, and the small staff is suspiciously incompetent. Not to mention the gas tap leak in my bedroom, which I can only imagine was an attempt on my life. Something rotten is afoot - and bringing the place up to snuff may put me six feet under before I even get a chance to walk down the aisle....

A letter from Rhys Bowen to audio fans of the Royal Spyness Mysteries,

Dear friends, 

I’m sure you were as devastated as I was when you learned of the death of narrator Katherine Kellgren. She had been so perfect as the voice of the Royal Spyness series. I loved the way she WAS Lady Georgie and yet could slip herself into all the other characters, from the haughty Fig to the sweet grandfather. She was also a lovely person, and we often exchanged emails. 

Frankly I was rather dreading the moment when we had to choose a new narrator. How could anyone take Katy’s place? And yet we have found someone I know you are going to like as much as I do. She is not Katy. She will not try to imitate what Katy did. But when I heard her audition she sounded right to me. Her name is Jasmine Blackborow, and she is a classically trained young English actress - exactly the right age for Georgie. We had a long chat recently, and she was delightful. We talked about how I saw each of the characters, and she had also listened to Katy’s interpretations so that she didn’t shock listeners with quite a different character than the one they were used to.

I think you’ll be happy with our new voice of Georgie. We’ll never forget Katherine Kellgren, which is why this book is dedicated to her memory. 

Your friend,

Rhys Bowen

©2018 Janet Quin-Harkin (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Dylan
  • United States
  • 08-13-18

Overall I loved it!

I have to admit I was ready to launch the audiobook, listen to 10 minutes and say the series is ruined without Katherine Kellgren. She had brought me so many hours of joy throughout 11 books. She will be missed! (PS: Rhys you added a lovely intro on how we all feel about Katherine's early passing. It was beautiful)
But to my great surprise I loved Jasmine Blackborow's narration for the series. It took a little getting used to and there are some small issues I have like her pronunciation of Georgies surname Rannoch (I will never know if Katherine had it right or if Jasmine has it right but I do like my continuity)
Jasmine is a keeper and I look forward to more Georgie stories with her.

As for the story itself I still have some of the same issues I had in book 11 with continuity and repetition. Examples for this book are - why does Belinda still act like she has money issues when she became a wealthy woman a few books ago with an inheritance? Why does Georgies mother prefer Claridge's when it was Browns hotel she favored for reverting to her old title of duchess? Why did we reference Belinda's maid leaving when she already left in a previous book to be a typist. I know people might think these are small issues but it really is sloppy writing.
On the positive side I feel the mystery itself was more solid than previous efforts. And it kept me entertained. I will gladly listen to this one again.
Yay for Georgie finally getting married. If this was the last book in the series that would be a lovely way to bookend it. But I know its not and I know there will be more. Consistency issues aside I love the series and will be back next year for a new adventure!!!

42 of 44 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Not bad. Could be better.

I found the story fine. However, this narrator often gives Georgie a strident voice and even has her snapping at Darcy. She has lost her sweet innocence which is what makes her so lovable. Zuzu and Queenie are well done as is her mother. I did miss the old Belinda as well. She is no longer nearly as distinctive and blends into other characters. I know the old narrator is impossible to replace but I am sad that our Georgie has gone. Maybe a another narrator should have a shot at it.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • HRS
  • Erwin, TN, United States
  • 08-14-18

Not Sure what Happened to Georgie?

I love this series but this book was not close to being the best. First off, the new narrator did a great job. She had big shoes to fill and she did it well.

My complaints are about Georgie's character. What happened to her? Wow...she turned into a judgmental elitist like every other upperclass person of the times. Never would have thought that I would have preferred her mother to her.

Comments such as "Queenie probably thought she was as good as us" was rude and it wasn't like Georgie to think that. She would kindly put Queenie right but never to the extent as she did in this story with her thoughts that she was better than everyone around her.

She whined constantly about: Wish Darcy was here, he would know what to do. Wish Grandad was here, he'd know what to do. Wish Zu Zu was here, she'd know what to do. Wish Mommy was here, she'd know what to do. What happened to the Georgie who could handle life on her own? Who discovered how to survive with little to nothing? That's what she did when she took off for London. She might have made mistakes but she tried. This Georgie only whined for someone to come save her while investigating the mysterious happenings at her new home.

Give me back the Georgie I knew. I'm not sure I like this one. To sum it up, the narrator did not impact my negative impression of the book. I give the narrator 5 stars. It was how Georgie was written in this one. It did nothing for me but make me want to stop the audio book and ask why did I care to listen to Georgie whine all the time?

26 of 28 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Heather
  • Albuquerque, NM, United States
  • 08-16-18

Why did Georgie change so much?

I have enjoyed every other book in the series. Georgie has always been an aristocratic every-woman. Right? She is born of the royal family but due to reduced circumstances she is poor, humble, and ruggedly capable. The Georgie of this book is an entitled lady of the manor who seems far more unsure of herself. I found it very difficult to reconcile the Georgie of this book with the Georgie of the rest of the series.

I missed Katherine Kellgren. I was so sorry to read of her passing. She leaves impossibly big shoes for any narrator to fill.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 08-08-18

Let's discuss the narration!

Young British actress Jasmine Blackborow was selected by author Rhys Bowen to replace Katherine Kellgren who died early in 2018 of cancer at age 48. I love this cozy historical mystery series. I've written in my reviews of this and other Kellgren narrated series on multiple occasions going back several years that I consider her the very best audio book narrator ever. Every book she narrated is a unique piece of audio art. I rate the work of many other narrators 5 stars despite the fact that Kellgren's narrations are better. I believe Jasmine Blackborow deserves 5 stars here even though she is not of the quality and stature of Katherine Kellgren. I'm reminded of the negative reaction of some reviewers three years ago when Robert Bathurst replaced Ralph Cosham in narrating Canadian author Louise Penny's wonderful Chief Inspector Gamache/Three Pines series with Book 12. Apparently the reviewers were not aware of Cosham's death soon after completing Book 11 in 2014.

Oh, the novel? It's wonderful as usual! Lady Georgiana Rannoch, Her Royal Spyness, is happily married in late July, 1935. Her frequently expressed virginity frustrations are finally over.

Each novel in this series is standalone, but to fully appreciate the marvelous characters that are so vivid that the jump off the page and the wonderful mysteries start early in the series.

45 of 50 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • mary
  • perth amboy, NJ, United States
  • 08-10-18

wonderful

I cried when I heard about the passing of Kathryn Kelgrin. From the Bloody Jack series to Royal Spyness, she had a gift for bringing the characters into life in a way that is quite remarkable. This series in particular is very dear to me. I discovered it about two years ago, and through all the rough patches, it always cheered me up. This performance had it’s own magic. The narrator is wonderfully gifted, and put her own spin on the characters while not entirely changing them. I was hesitant to start the book and again teared up after reading the dedication, but I think Ms. Kelgrin would have approved. And I feel fortunate that I will always be able to go back and listen to all those stories she told so well. May she Rest In Peace.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Lisa
  • United States
  • 08-15-18

Disappointing installment of a beloved series

I love the Royal Spyness series. The books are fun, interesting, and an easy read. This book, however, was disappointing. Georgie's usual escapades that I find so entertaining were lacking in this book. In previous books she was kind and humble; in this book her demeanor was uncharacteristically haughty and reckless. Georgie's personality seemed to change a bit, which I did not find appealing. I found the "mystery" to be lackluster as well. There were few surprises and I found it to be very repetitive. Add to that an all too brief appearance by Darcy and this book definitely didn't grab my attention like previous ones have.
I did enjoy the extended period of time that Georgie spent with some of the secondary characters. I feel that these characters in the past have been underutilized. I also really enjoyed the narrator. She did an excellent job of bringing these characters to life.

I didn't hate the book as another installment in a series I adore. However, I don't think I'll be re listening to this anytime soon. I will revisit some of the earlier books long before I pick this book up again.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Wanted to like the new narrator: but she's AWFUL

Katherine Kellgren WAS Georgie. I was so hopeful, based on Rhys Bowen's introduction, that Jasmine Blackborow would carry on her legacy. I could accept a narrator that did not attempt to imitate Kellgren. But Blackborow's narration is truly terrible. First, the accent she gives Georgie is essentially that of Queen Elizabeth on "The Crown." It's pretentious and haughty, which Georgie NEVER was. So, for example, in the scenes where she and Darcy are looking for a flat, she sounds like a spoiled rich bitch. The pretentiousness of Blackborow's Georgie eliminates what made Georgie so loveable--her naiveté, humility, and kindness. Second, Blackborow's narration isn't consistent. At times Georgie sounds old, more like Queen Mary, and at other times Georgie and Belinda are impossible to tell apart. Her Darcy is effeminate, and doesn't bring across any of the Irish charm that made him so endearing. I know that Katherine Kellgren is a very hard act to follow, but honestly, one would hope Bowen and Penguin would do better than this. If they can't find a better narrator, then I hope this is the last of the series.

With respect to the story, "Georgie is jealous for no reason" has been WAY overplayed. Belinda seems to have reverted to her pre-baby self, which is a shame--one would expect her character to grow up a bit after that experience. Georgie's mother's complications with the Nazi regime is not unexpected, but well played. I may have enjoyed the story more if the narration hadn't been so terrible.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Arguably, the best yet.

First off, don't read the review by M. Kelley with the heading- "4 Funerals, etc" OR Wayne's review titled-"Let's discuss the narration" if you don't want a spoiler.
(thanks a lot M. and Wayne! what were you thinking?)
As someone who preorders any new book in this series, I was both sorry about Katherine Kellgren's much too young death and somewhat shamefully selfishly thinking of how that would affect my enjoyment of the rest of the series. Jasmine Blackborow does a more than adequate job and by the middle of the book, I had pretty much gotten used to it. When one of the recurring characters showed up, it was inevitable that the mind did a comparison but then the story took over again and the issue forgotten again. If J. B. had been the narrator from book one onward until this title and suddenly K. K. had taken over for this title, I honestly believe it would have been a harder to get past shift. As great as K. K. 's narration was, her distinctive voices would have suddenly seemed over the top.

The storyline is this installment was one of the very best in the series with another quite original crime(s) to be worked out. The pace was good and kept me listening even though I wanted to stop just so it wouldn't end so soon.

The big problem with this book though is glaringly self evident though and it's certainly not with the new narrator. It is that now we have to wait till next summer for the next title.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Worthy Replacement for Katherine Kellgren

I was so so sad when I heard of Katherine Kellgren's death and I wondered how I would go on listening to these fabulous books. When Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding was released, I bought it right away, and I wasn't sure I'd be able to listen to a new narrator. I thought maybe I'd switch to reading the series. I wanted to give it a shot, though, and thank goodness I did.

Of course she's different than Katherine Kellgren - but she's fabulous. I am so pleased with her performance and I will definitely continue to listen to the series. She had very large shoes to fill, but Jasmine Blackborow did a wonderful job!

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • helena
  • 08-14-18

Not the best storyline

I found after the first five minutes that I was more than happy with the new narrator. However I found storyline very weak and apart from one surprise death was able to predict throughout what was going to happen

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Littlewool15
  • 08-21-18

Narrator

I love this series and this book tied up lots of loose ends. I wouldn't be suprised if it was the last in the series! As for the Audiobook Jasmine did a good job but I missed hearing Katherine Kellgren as Georgie. RIP Katherine.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Olivia M.
  • 08-08-18

Great story, but hugely lacklustre performance.

The story was funny, exciting, and really held up to the previous books, however the narration was a huge letdown. I realise Jasmine had huge shoes to fill, but I truly believe she was the wrong choice. Many of the voices were indistinguishable and the accents fluctuated between English, Scottish, American and sometimes even an odd Spanish/Italian (and not when they were meant to). Most frustrating of all, Jasmine pronounces the main characters NAME (and title/home) differently, which makes listening for the dedicated Royal Spyness audiobook fan extremely difficult. I really struggled to get through.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ali
  • 10-08-18

Couldn't put it down!

At first, I was put off by the narrator's voices, being unable to distinguish characters easily and only being able to conjure up Penny, the sister in law on As Time Goes By with Judi Dench! However, it soon developed into a more natural performance and I warmed to all of them. It's amazing how one person can act all these parts so consistently. Loved the storyline - as usual I couldn't see how it would be solved!! Now disappointed that it's over :(

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ms. Jenny M. Stone
  • 08-23-18

Absolutely fantastic

I love these books , they are fantastic period writing and the characters are so engaging. Entertaining without being dark. A great listen. Please write more !

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  • Mrs Kim Hanson
  • 08-10-18

The Gang’s All Here

The Gang’s All Here - a ‘horrible American saying’ that Georgie would hate but it is appropriate. This book does a wonderful job of giving loyal readers another mystery for Georgie to solve and it also manages to weave in all the usual secondary characters we’ve come to know and love. There are even some throw backs to characters from earlier books.

A special mention to narrator Jasmine Blackborow. She had huge shoes to fill and did it with style. You captured the sense of each character and it was a seamless transition. (My only tiny hesitation was the pronouciaton of “Rannoch” but for all I know you may be saying it correctly for the first time!)

Congratulations to Rhys Bowen and Jasmine Blackborow and thank you.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-13-18

All's well that ends well

love these stories being read to me. The new reader was great and the change over did not jar for me at all. Something I'd been waiting for finally happened😀.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Maureen
  • 08-09-18

Farewell to Katherine Kellgren

How sad to hear about the wonderful Katherine Kellgren's death. Jasmine Blackborow has a different accent and isn't quite as posh in the dipthong department at first but improves throughout the reading. Another very satisfying listen from Rhys Bowen's pen. Hoping to hear more of the adventures of Georgie and Darcy because happily ever after isn't as much fun as their elegant adventures.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful