The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen #review

12 Clues coverThe Twelve Clues of Christmas: A Royal Spyness Mystery
(The Royal Spyness Series Book 6)
by Rhys Bowen

I’ve reviewed books in this series before. In this outing, Lady Georgianna takes a position as a party planner at an English house party to escape spending Christmas with her sister-in-law’s dreary family. Little does she expect to land right in the middle of a killing spree and a search for three convicts who escaped from Dartmoor Prison. The fun of a traditional English Christmas is spoiled by the fact that people in the quaint village of Tiddleton-Under-Lovey are dying by the day, starting with a man named Freddie Partridge, who seems to have committed suicide with his own gun… in a pear tree!

Thanks to the title, it’s obvious to the reader long before it dawns on Georgie (and Darcy who is conveniently related to the hostess of the house party) that a clever serial killer is at work.

White swans mating.

Swans a-swimming…

Familiar characters turn up, of course: Georgie’s self-centered mother, her lovable grandfather, and her clueless maid Queenie.

This series is marvelous and I’ve enjoyed each one of the mysteries. This is my new favorite though. Most of the books are notable for the humor and the quirky characters. But the plot of this mystery is particularly clever and intricate, and Bowen kept me guessing until the end. Great fun reading for the holidays, despite the high body count. But then there are twelve days of Christmas, right?

What are you reading over the holidays?


PS: Dear FCC, I bought a copy of the book for my Kindle.

Book Review: Queen of Hearts by Rhys Bowen

Queen of Hearts book coverQueen of Hearts
(The Royal Spyness Series Book 8)
by Rhys Bowen; Katherine Kellgren (Narrator)

Lady Georgiana Rannoch is the daughter of a duke related to the royal family, 34th in line for the throne, and penniless. At the beginning of the book, set in 1934, she’s staying with a dowager duchess after having been hired to groom the heir to the title, who apparently died in the previous book. So Georgie is happy when her mother arrives with the news that Georgie is to accompany her to America. Her much-married mother needs to go to Reno to divorce her current husband, a Texas oilman with a “strange religious streak” so she can marry her current lover, Max, a German industrialist.

Georgie’s mum used to be a stage actress, and on the steamship Berengaria (ship of millionaires) they encounter a movie producer who asks her mother to appear in his movie. The producer bears an unmistakable resemblance to William Randolph Hearst, with his film actress girlfriend and a mansion on the California coast reminiscent of Hearst Castle.

Hearst Castle pool

The gorgeous outdoor pool at Hearst Castle.

Georgie’s love interest, the Honorable Darcy O’Mara, pops in and out of the book, as does Georgie’s free-spirited friend, Belinda Warburton-Stoke. Georgie is notoriously accident prone, but the very clumsy Algernon Broxley-Foggett, a walking disaster looking for a place to happen, adds comedy relief. (I do love some of these names.)

The writing is light and very humorous and I enjoyed it immensely. I was beginning to wonder if the only mystery would be a jewel theft on the ship, but there finally was a murder about half way through the book. I liked the book well enough to start reading the series from the beginning.

I got the audio book and loved listening to it. Kellgren does an amazing job with the voices and the myriad accents, ranging from posh, upper-class British to Cockney to East Indian and American accents.