Queen of Hearts

Rhys Bowen. Berkley Prime Crime, $25.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-425-26036-4
Bowen’s eighth Royal Spyness mystery (after 2013’s Heirs and Graces) is a showcase for the series’ many strengths. The year 1934 finds Lady Georgiana Rannoch, an impoverished cousin of George V, adrift, with nothing particular to do in the Kent countryside. The arrival of her scandalous actress mother, Claire Daniels, lifts her out of the doldrums. In need of a quickie divorce in Nevada, Claire invites her daughter to join her on a trip to America. Georgie and her anti-Jeeves of a maid, the hapless Queenie, set sail on the Berengaria, aboard which they become involved in the search for a legendary jewel thief. This quest involves a murder investigation once the ocean liner lands in the U.S. Fans of P.G. Wodehouse looking for laughs mingled with some amateur sleuthing will be quite pleased (e.g., when a passenger asks the Berengaria’s captain, “Do ships like this sink very often?,” he dryly responds, “Only once”). Agent: Meg Ruley, the Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/16/2014
Release date: 08/05/2014
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