Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Book Review: Heirs and Graces by Rhys Bowen

We all have heard about the Prince of Wales and his affair with the divorcee Wallis Simpson that eventually cost him the throne, but how many of us can say that they were privy to the queen’s personal thoughts and concerns regarding her son? Well, it is only fiction, but this book brings you a heroine that gets to hobnob with the royal class. The protagonist is Lady Georgiana Rannoch, a young lady that is closely enough related to the Queen to actually be considered in line for the throne. No wonder then that she actually knows how the Queen worried about Wallis Simpson and her possible effect on the succession. But Wallis Simpson for now is a problem far in the future, while in the case on hand Lady Georgiana seems to solve the murder of a Duke, who was found, quite unbecoming to his future presence on earth, with a knife in his back and therefore quite dead. 

The number one suspect is the Duke's newly found heir Jack Altringham, a recent import from Australian Outback and owner of the knife that made its way into the back of the Duke. This turn of events for Jack does not meet the expectations of Lady Georgiana, who was entrusted with the grooming of Jack and now looks to have failed in her duty, despite being personally asked by the Queen to educate Jack in the finer points of life. 

While Jack was still considered half wild, being more familiar with hunting and life in the Outback than proper table manners, Lady Georgiana cannot believe him to be a murderer. Even when the Duke announced that he planned on designating his own heir and thereby providing Jack with a motive for wanting him dad, Georgiana cannot believe that Jack could be guilty. So Lady Georgiana is again off to the races, snooping amongst her peers to determine who else would have benefited from the untimely death of the Duke. 

This book was advertised as perfect for Downton Abbey fans and a possibly remedy to bridge the in between Downton Abbey time. For once, I have to agree with the marketing slogan. The period is fitting the TV series and the characters are well drawn and anyone that is a fan of the TV series will be able to thoroughly enjoy the antics of Lady Georgiana. Sure to drive her relative nuts, but just the unconventional character that reminds us of some female members at Downton Abbey. I have rated this book very highly, not because I like Downton Abbey and therefore like the book, but because this book is entertaining, witty, suspenseful and intelligently written. I am planning on reading the prior editions from the Royal Spyness Mystery series because I really enjoyed this book.

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