cover image A Royal Affair

A Royal Affair

Allison Montclair. Minotaur, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-17839-8

In Montclair’s stellar sequel to 2019’s The Right Sort of Man, former British intelligence operative Iris Sparks and widow Gwen Bainbridge, who teamed up after WWII to run a business seeking to match up prospective spouses, are offered a highly sensitive assignment in 1946 London. Gwen’s titled cousin, Lady Patience Matheson, who works for Queen Elizabeth, the consort of George VI, wants the partners of the Right Sort of Marriage Bureau to vet Prince Philip, the intended of the heir apparent, the future Elizabeth II. The then-princess has received an anonymous letter, intercepted by her protectors, stating “I have what Talbot found in Corfu” and that there will be a price for returning “them” to Alice, Philip’s mother. Iris and Gwen agree to investigate what the message is referring to, so that Lady Matheson can assess whether the prince is a suitable mate for the princess. Montclair successfully combines the insightful characterizations of Jacqueline Winspear with the witty banter of Hammett’s Nick and Nora Charles. Fans of the British royal family will have fun. (July)