I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service in the 11th book in Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness mystery series. These books, set in the 1930s, feature Georgie Rannoch, a young aristocratic who is a cousin to the Royal Family. Georgie is clever and rather innocuous, and she has been called upon to assist the Queen with sensitive matters.
In this book, Georgie is tasked with dropping in on a house party in an Italian villa. She is supposed to be keeping an eye on her cousin David, who is still keeping company with that highly unsuitable American woman (Wallis Simpson).
Just as the house party is getting underway, one of the guests is found murdered. The victim was a rather lascivious gentleman who made overtures to many of the female guests. Many of them had every reason to silence him. Not only that, but high-ranking German and Italian officials are among the guests at the house party. With rumors of war swirling, could the murder have had anything to with that?
This was a satisfying mystery. There really were several plausible suspects, and I wasn’t sure who was going to be revealed as the perpetrator until close to the big reveal. Fans of the series will appreciate Georgie’s adventures in a new milieu. We are introduced to new characters, and old favorites make brief appearances as well. I was a bit disappointed that Georgie’s maid Queenie was left at home and not traveling along to Italy. I do remember hearing that some readers found Queenie’s bumbling to be a bit too distracting, but I definitely missed her.
I would absolutely recommend On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service. I would recommend reading the series in order to get a better appreciation for the series and for everything Georgie has gone through over the years. It is, however, fairly easy to pick up enough background information in the first few chapters if you are unfamiliar with the series. Georgie is an amicable narrator, and one can’t help but root for her and want her to succeed in life. Perhaps this is why people are so wiling to talk to her; this trait does prove to be an invaluable asset for an investigator. Georgie’s future contains many fascinating events: Berlin Olympics, death of King George VI and the subsequent abdication crisis, and World War II. It will be interesting to see how these events play out in Georgie’s story. I’m certainly looking forward to the next book!