Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Book Review: Malice at the Palace by Rhys Bowen

Title: Malice at the Palace (Her Royal Spyness #9)
Author: Rhys Bowen
Enjoyment Rating: ****
Source: Audible
Content Alert: Although the book opens with a sex scene, it's actually a pretty clean read

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I'm a sucker for Rhys Bowen's Her Royal Spyness books. The series focuses on Georgie, a lesser royal, trying to scrape by in London with no man and no means of support in the 1930s, and usually ending up solving some kind of major crime, sometimes despite herself. The nine books in the series have ranged from delightful and refreshing to rushed and sloppy, and Malice at the Palace is one of the better books in the series. The queen (Georgie's great-aunt) asks her to live at Kensington Palace to act as a companion to Princess Marina of Greece during the weeks before her marriage to Prince George (George and Marina's were actual people whose wedding took place in November 1934). When Georgie discovers a body on the palace grounds her first night there, and learns that the dead woman was one of many who had relationships with the prince, her loyalties are torn-- does she want to know who killed this woman?

I don't know if I've ever stated this on the blog, but in my mind, I've equated the Her Royal Spyness and the Maisie Dobbs series. Right now, they take place at a similar place and time in history (London in the 1930s), and both involve female sleuths. I've always thought as Her Royal Spyness as Maisie Dobbs lite. And while this may be true, maybe now it's only because Maisie Dobbs has taken such a dour turn. While Georgie was pretty silly in the early books, she has matured, as have many of the characters (with the exception of the infuriating Queenie, her maid), and this book in particular feels on point historically, especially as it takes on the issue of unwed mothers during the period. Malice at the Palace is a pretty fun read, with a little more gravitas than some of its predecessors.

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