Airports and airplanes provide ample opportunities to get lost in a good read. Last week I caught up with another mystery series, Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen. The series stars Lady Georgianna Rannoch, 35th or so in line for the British throne. Her father lost all his investments in the 1929 stock market crash, then shot himself, leaving her older brother with substantial debts to pay along with a title and a drafty castle. They have royal genes , but no cash. Her insufferable sister-in-law wants her to do her duty and marry, but the "acceptable" princes are not acceptable. Georgie's mother, a famous stage actress and the daughter of a metropolitan police officer in London, flits through the series with a series of rich and interesting men. As Hitler rises to power, her choice of a German industrialist looks ill-advised.
The series gets its name from Georgie's tendency to stumble into intrigue and murder. At times she is asked to take on espionage tasks by her royal relatives; the queen has many concerns about the woman with whom the Prince of Wales consorts, a Wallis Simpson who is not only currently married, but already once divorced! She sends our heroine into country homes and foreign countries to keep tabs on Prince David. Of course, Georgie falls in love along the way with a gorgeous Irish peer, Darcy O'Mara, whose family also finds itself nobility-rich but income-poor. He shows up in unexpected places as a more traditional spy, earning his income the hard way.
The sixth book in the series finds our heroine longing to escape the dreary Scottish Castle Rannoch, always cold in winter but even more so when her sister-in-law's relatives show up. She takes a position as a hostess for a house party in a tiny story-book English town, the same one where her mother has escaped with Noel Coward to write a play for her return to the stage. Of course, the hostess happens to be Darcy O'Mara's aunt, so he shows up as well to add some sexy spice to the proceedings. As she arrives, people start dying. The deaths seem to be accidental and unconnected, but a death-each-day in a small town hardly seems possible. Needless to say, murder is in the air along with carols, wassail, and a costume ball.
Following Georgie as she tries to earn a living without any real skills while keeping up her royal image during the Depression is just plain fun. You can almost feel the bubbles from the champagne as she tries to solve crimes, ride to the hounds and make a life she wants. While of the same period, this is not The King's Speech; Her Royal Spyness is a lot more fun!