Friday, July 15, 2011

Once I built a tower up to the sun

On to the next historical mystery series, of course! This one took a while for me to get into, but now I'm kind of charmed by it.

It's the early days of the 1930s; Rhys Bowen's erstwhile sleuth, Lady Georgianna, is 34th in line to the British throne. The Queen asks her to spy on Wallis Warfield Simpson and the future Edward VIII, and in the process of doing so she solves several murders.

The reason it took me so long to get into the series was that it's a bit like reading Georgette Heyer - complete with a dashing and mysterious Peer. The plot is high society party after high society party with a few nods thrown in to the working poor. Though living in genteel poverty, Lady G cannot be seen working, so she sneaks around London as a cleaning service to members of her own social class. Though her father is cousin to royalty, her mother is a social-climbing actress and her grandfather is a Cockney former copper. Though she visits Buckingham Palace to have tea with the Queen regularly, she also slips around the South End solving murders.

At first I thought the series tried too hard to be too inclusive of every possible class of Briton during the Depression. But after a while, it grew on me. They really are very good murder mysteries - all the gallivanting from Palace to poorhouse made for some good twists that kept me on my toes.

Naturally, the books are currently overdue at the library. And the next two in the series are in my queue!

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