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Thirty-fourth in line to the throne - and England's poorest heiress - Lady Georgiana finds herself in a truly draining state of affairs . . .
With my hateful brother Binky in town, I've been desperately seeking an escape. To my delight, it comes in the form of an invitation from the Queen to represent the royals at a wedding in Transylvania-legendary home of vampires.
I soon realise why I was the one honoured with such an invitation. The bride, Princess Maria Theresa, happens to be my old school chum, Matty. But my stay in her macabre-looking castle turns unnerving when I find dear Matty with blood running down her chin. Then, during the ceremony, a prominent wedding guest is poisoned. Something must be done lest the nuptial festivities go to ruin, or, worse yet, the couple's vows become: to love and to cherish, till undeath do us part . . .
Agatha-winner Bowen successfully mixes Wodehousian farce with a whodunit plot in her fourth 1930s mystery starring Lady Georgiana Rannoch (after 2009's Royal Flush). When the queen asks Georgiana, a distant relative of George V, to attend the wedding of a royal cousin and old schoolmate, Princess Maria Theresa, in Romania, the impoverished 22-year-old must scramble to come up with a maid to maintain appearances. She ends up with Queenie Hepplewhite, a clumsy if well-meaning servant who lost a previous job after setting fire to her mistress's clothing. Once in Romania, the pair find themselves in the midst of a sensitive murder case at the remote castle where the nuptials are to take place. Field Marshal Pirin, head of the Bulgarian army and a close adviser to his country's king, collapses during a festive meal and is later found to have been poisoned. Bowen once again demonstrates her mastery of the light, romantic mystery.