Author: Rhys Bowen
Series: Royal Spyness mystery
Publication Information: New York: Berkley Prime Crime, 2011, c2010.
Library of Congress Classification: PR6052.O848
Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Rannoch, Georgie (Fictitious character)–Fiction
Castelul Bran (Bran, Brașov, Romania)–Fiction
Lady Georgiana–Georgie to her friends–is 38th in line for the British throne. Her father squandered away the family fortune and committed suicide, her mother took off when she was a child to become and actress–and a playgirl–and her brother, the latest lord of Rannoch, has married a woman who tries to be more royal than the royalty. She thinks that Georgie should marry and not continue to be a “burden” to her family. As a result, Georgie gets no allowance to live on, and this being the 1930s, she has not gone to college but to a finishing school that taught her how to land a husband and raise a family.
Nonetheless, Georgie tries to find work so that she can eat. She has no intention of simply marrying anyone; she wants to marry for love. Watching the London house for her brother, Georgie hasn’t eaten in days because she has no money. Her sometimes penniless Irish lord boyfriend, Darcy, takes her out to dinner and they end up in Georgie’s bedroom–just in time for her brother and his imperious wife to catch them. Having come down from their castle in Scotland, the couple (in particular her sister-in-law) is scandalized at what she finds and banishes Darcy into the night.
And thus the book begins. The royal family has no problem asking Georgie to represent them or take care of relatives, but they do so without a stipend–except for the representation of the royal family at the wedding of the princess from Romania and the prince from Bulgaria. Only problem: she has no personal maid and must find one immediately.
These characters are fun. Georgie travels in the highest circles of society, and you meet all different personalities–some of them oddballs–in her class. The term “fairy” is tossed around several times in the book. In all cases the term is used to describe a gay man, particularly one who marries but who cannot satisfy his wife in bed. After using the term to Georgie, her mother explains that “fairies” are wonderful people to talk with, have fun, and befriend, but they cannot satisfy a woman in bed and would make a terrible marriage partner. (At least one royal character is gay.)
The young woman whom Georgie engages as her personal maid is a disaster. The head of the Romanian police is scary, and Georgie thinks that a vampire has visited her and her maid, who suddenly disappears in the middle of the book. And then Darcy suddenly appears, having been a “good friend” of the crown prince of Bulgaria.
And where does this wedding take place? Castle Bran, located in Transylvania. This castle is one that is associated with Vlad Țepeș Dracula, the prince of Wallachia, although Vlad never lived in Transylvania; he was, however, imprisoned for two months in Castle Bran. Târgoviște was the capital of Wallachia, where Vlad ruled. It is believed that Bram Stoker, when creating the character Dracula, used an image of Castle Bran that he found in a book as the basis for his Castle Dracula.
Anyway, this is one of the first novels in the Royal Spyness mystery series. I just liked Georgie and thought the rest of the characters were a hoot.