From the author of The Vanishing Thief and The Counterfeit Lady comes an all-new Victorian mystery featuring antiquarian bookseller Georgia Fenchurch, who doubles as a private investigator for the secret Archivist Society…
When the Duke of Blackford enters her bookstore, Georgia knows the Archivist Society is in need of her services. The Tsar of Russia and his family are visiting Queen Victoria on the auspices of the engagement of the Russian princess Kira to the son of the Queen’s cousin. When Kira’s bodyguard is found dead on a train returning from Scotland, the Queen calls on Blackford to discreetly protect the princess and prevent an international incident.
The Russian royalty refuses help in finding the murderer, suspecting anarchists and demanding every extremist in London be hanged. But that is far from the English way. To get the job done, Georgia must go undercover as Kira’s English secretary. She soon discovers that anarchy isn’t the only motive in the case—and that someone is determined to turn royal wedding bells into a funeral dirge.
In Parker's frothy third Victorian Bookshop mystery (after 2014's The Counterfeit Lady), London bookseller Georgia Fenchurch, a leading light of the Archivist Society (a covert group "dedicated to getting justice for people when the police fail"), gets ample opportunity to spend time with her dream man, the Duke of Blackford, and help the British Empire. The Russian bodyguard of Princess Kira, a Romanov engaged to be married to a cousin of Queen Victoria, has been murdered, and the British government authorities fear that Kira will be next. Georgia goes undercover as Kira's secretary and soon learns that her charge is guarding some secrets very tightly. A subplot concerning the man Georgia holds responsible for her parents' murder somewhat distracts, as do plot contrivances that function purely to put people's lives in jeopardy. Smart pacing and a hefty dose of chaste romance may be enough for most cozy readers.