Mystery Monday: God Rest Ye, Royal Gentlemen, by Rhys Bowen
The latest in Rhys Bowen's fun "Royal Spyness" mystery series.
Georgie is excited for her first Christmas as a married woman in her lovely new home. She suggests to her dashing husband, Darcy, that they have a little house party, but when Darcy receives a letter from his aunt Ermintrude, there is an abrupt change in plans. She has moved to a house on the edge of the Sandringham estate, near the royal family, and wants to invite Darcy and his new bride for Christmas. Aunt Ermintrude hints that the queen would like Georgie nearby. Georgie had not known that Aunt Ermintrude was a former lady-in-waiting and close confidante of her royal highness. The letter is therefore almost a royal request, so Georgie, Darcy, and their Christmas guests: Mummy, Grandad, Fig, and Binky all head to Sandringham.
Georgie soon learns that the notorious Mrs. Simpson, mistress to the Prince of Wales, will also be in attendance. It is now crystal clear to Georgie that the Queen expects her to do a bit of spying. There is tension in the air from the get-go, and when Georgie pays a visit to the queen, she learns that there is more to her request than just some simple eavesdropping. There have been a couple of strange accidents at the estate recently. Two gentlemen of the royal household have died in mysterious circumstances and another has been shot by mistake during a hunt. Georgie begins to suspect that a member of the royal family is the real target but her investigation will put her new husband and love of her life, Darcy, in the crosshairs of a killer.
I really enjoy this series, and I think it's improving as Bowen goes on, which isn't always the case with a series. Some of the earlier books made me cringe a little at Georgie's awkwardness and naiveté. She seems to be maturing out of that now that she's married to Darcy instead of wondering if he might like her. The humor is still there, but the characters are more fully developed and interesting.
The story (apart from the mystery) was interesting and enjoyable, and the mystery was competently constructed. I admit I felt a jump or two ahead of our intrepid detectives, but certainly didn't foresee the ending. The historical setting is carefully constructed and, as far as I can tell, accurately rendered. In other words, this is another strong entry in one of my favorite mystery series!
If you like cozies and/or light historical fiction (especially from the "between the wars" period), check this series out.