I've been trying more podcasts. I stumbled upon a design and arts one but I'm not too sure I can get with it. A lot of the guests are more woo-woo (design wise and medically) than I'm comfortable with. I think I avoid the woo because when you get sick, people push nonsense on you all the time and it's so annoying and unhelpful. No, your MLM shakes/oils/weight bands are not going to cure me.
I always know when Dr. Oz is on TV peddling bullshit, because someone calls me to tell me about some silly "cure" that works wonders and encourages me to try it. I lost my patience with my Aunt when she suggested I snort pepper (for real!). I asked if she even liked me! Who wants to willingly snort pepper when my actual, real doctor has prescribed real medicine that works?!
That was a bit of a tangent wasn't it. Whoops. Okay, this series! I have some of Rhys Bowen's other series. I couldn't really get into her Evans mysteries, set in Wales. I also am not totally sure on her Molly Malone series but I have a few more books to give a whirl on that so I might change my mind. There's just a form of a love triangle, which I don't adore. It's not a trope I give a lot of time too. I have finished this series, well, all the books that have been written so far. I still think its really fun and I hope to continue it in the future.
This is the second book in the series (well, third if we count a novella). It begins with our main character, Georgie (Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie Rannoch). Georgie is staying at Rannoch House in London. She is flat broke and other than housing (just her bedroom and the kitchen) she's out of luck as most ladies cannot work. Her money making schemes include asking her brother, the Duke (also penniless for the most part) for more money and moonlighting as a house opener (light cleaning before the actual crew arrives, she's basically airing out these massive manses).
The Queen (Mary) summons Georgie to the palace for a job. She wants Georgie to entertain and monitor a visiting princess. Her name is Princess Hannelore (Hanni) of Bavaria. This is a problem of course, because Georgie has no money to entertain. Princess Hanni is visiting in the hope that the Prince of Wales (in real life: the one who abdicated) will fall in love with her.
When Hanni arrives with her companion (an older aristocratic lady from the Bavarian court), Georgie is surprised. Hanni has learned English by watching American gangster films. For me, this was much funnier than I imagined it would be. It added levity to a slower plot. Hanni also has communist sympathies, shocking Georgie.
In order to keep Hanni in line and out of trouble (she keeps meeting with Communists), Gerogie enlists Belinda and her Grandfather (a retired London police officer) to help. Darcy occasionally shows up and we learn a little more about his past.
The mystery begins when Hanni arranges to go to a bookstore (neglecting to tell Georgie that it's a communist bookstore). She plans to meet a young man there for an assignation of sorts. When she and Georgie enter the bookstore, they find a dead body. This involves the police, who view both Hanni and Georgie as prime suspects. Georgie hopes to clear herself, Hanni, and make the Queen happy so she's in constant panic.
There is a moment that took me out of the book, which was a bit shocking. It's a sexual assault that is quickly glossed over (with no recompense). It adds a little to the story but mostly was an upsetting moment. That's my "trigger" I guess? I don't like sexual assault and rape in books. Anyways, the mystery wraps up quite well of course. It's lighthearted and fun for the most part. Georgie is still sheltered and unaware of a lot of life (how she gets involved in dangerous situations) and "clues" to the mystery will appear more obvious to a reader than to poor Georgie.
I think knowing that the mystery will always be in the background and that Georgie is sometimes obtuse helps me through this series. It's cozy but the "fun" element helps to keep me hooked in this series. Everyone really raves about the audiobooks, which I have not listened to. I'm thinking I might give them a go. I really only buy audiobooks if I've already read the books because I listen to them going to bed and drift in and out. New stuff is useless for me, go figure. I'm not a multi-tasker.
Royal Flush (#3)
Author: Rhys Bowen
Page Number: 320 pages (paperback)
Genre: fiction, mystery, cozy mystery, historical, romance
This book begins in London, but quickly moves to Castle Rannoch. So we get a large dose of Georgie's family.
In London, Georgie's "open house" business has dried up since most of the wealthy set are summering in the country. When she complains to her friend, Belinda, she takes inspiration of Belinda's life (dining with wealthy men) and picks up an ad for escorts. In Georgie's world, "escorts" are society-acceptable beaus. In a non-high society way, escorts are working girls that are exchanging sex for money. Georgie arrives at a seedier restaurant and finds herself with a pushy man and in over her head. She's rescued by an angry Darcy O'Mara, who tells her to go back to Scotland to avoid any scandal (with Georgie being in line for the throne, even 34th in line, scandal can attach itself quickly).
Chastised, Georgie heads to Castle Rannoch with a strangely delighted Fig. Fig is Georgie's sister in law (the current Duchess of Rannoch) and she is normally not a huge fan of Georgie. Fig and Binky (the Duke of Rannoch) are hosting a retinue of house guests, including the American contingent of the Prince of Wales' set, including Wallis Simpson. Simpson gets a harsh edit in Bowen's books, she's never a character to root for. I'm not sure in the U.S. Wallis is that famous (although she stayed with a friend's family when she came back to the U.S. after marriage...so I was always aware of her) but in the U.K. she gets more blame for the abdication and fascist leanings of the Prince of Wales than he does. The man has his own agency, but the "evil woman" edit is totally in force over there.
Anyways, these house guests are driving Fig batty. They're using up all of her money (not that she has any to start with) and they're very insistent on constant entertainment. The royal family is at Balmoral, having a shooting holiday. Belinda is up at a local loch (lake) with her current boyfriend, Paolo. Paolo is with a racing set hoping to break some records with boat racing. Darcy is also there, hopping between Balmoral and the racing group. Other people are also introduced but the only one who reoccurs in another book is Paolo.
The mystery starts much sooner in this book, although it's still in the background. Male members of the royal family are having accidents (yet surviving) and Georgie begins to think that this is on purpose. That these "accidents" like rocks falling on them, shooting mishaps, etc. are actually assassination attempts.
I would say that the romance element of the book (a long term simmer between Darcy and Georgie) takes more of a open term because Darcy talks to Georgie about his position and his feelings towards her. The ending is far more action-packed than a normal book in this series and it was almost too much. It didn't dent my enjoyment, but I would note that the antics were just not fitting into the normal flow of the story in my little brain.
I am amused by the fact that I like this series so much, considering I'm a staunch anti-monarchist in general. I see no point to the British Royal family...but my friends are massive anglophiles or pro-monarchy (even the brits!). Anyways, I tried to find some footage of Wallis since she's so pivotal to this series and I can't really imagine her face.