As thirty-fifth in line for the throne, Lady Georgiana Rannoch may not be the most sophisticated young woman, but she knows her table manners. It's forks on the left, knives on the right, not in His Majesty's back.
Here I am thinking the education I received at my posh Swiss finishing school would never come in handy. And while it hasn't landed me a job, or a husband, it has convinced Her Majesty the Queen, and the Dowager Duchess to enlist my help. I have been entrusted with grooming Jack Altringham, the Duke's newly discovered heir fresh from the Outback of Australia, for high society.
The upside is I am to live in luxury at one of England's most gorgeous stately homes. But upon arrival at Kingsdowne Place, my dearest Darcy has been sent to fetch Jack, leaving me stuck in a manor full of miscreants, none of whom are too pleased with the discovery of my new ward.
And no sooner has the lad been retrieved than the Duke announces he wants to choose his own heir. With the house in a hubbub over the news, Jack's hunting knife somehow finds its way into the Duke's back. Eyes fall, backs turn, and fingers point to the young heir. As if the rascal wasn't enough of a handful, now he's suspected of murder. Jack may be wild, but I'd bet the crown jewels it wasn't he who killed the Duke
Set in 1934, Bowen's rollicking seventh Royal Spyness mystery (after 2012's The Twelve Clues of Christmas) finds Lady Georgiana Rannoch, a distant cousin of George V, typing up her mother's life story. But once Mummy decides her memoirs are too scandalous for publication, Georgiana must seek new employment. With options limited, she writes Queen Mary, who rewards her with a royal audience and a business proposition. The son of the dowager Duchess of Eynsford, a friend of the queen's, has not produced an heir, and the future of the family hinges on a newly discovered relation, Australian Jack Altringham. But Altringham, an uncouth sheep farmer, needs help acclimating to British high society, which is where Georgiana comes in. Inevitably, a murder crosses her path, and the quasi-royal again gets to show off her detecting chops. The appealing lead and breezy prose will remind many of James Anderson's period mysteries featuring the Earl of Burford.