Naughty in Nice

Rhys Bowen. Berkley Prime Crime, $24.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-425-24349-7
Fans of Peter Lovesey's hilarious books transforming the future Edward VII into an unlikely sleuth will relish Bowen's whimsical fifth Royal Spyness mystery starring Lady Georgiana Rannoch, 34th in line to the British throne (after 2010's Royal Blood). In 1933, the destitute Rannoch, who's been helping out at a London soup kitchen, welcomes the chance to escape to the French Riviera after the queen offers to finance her trip there to recover a snuff box stolen by an odious bounder, the aptly named Sir Toby Groper. On a French train, the self-effacing Rannoch meets legendary designer Coco Chanel, who, to her astonishment, asks her to model a new line of clothing. In between this opportunity and her looking into suspicious doings by her love interest, Darcy O'Mara, Rannoch finds herself smack in the middle of a murder inquiry. Bowen successfully melds a whodunit with comedy as few contemporary writers can. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/11/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
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