Audie Award Finalist, Mystery, 2016
From the New York Times best-selling author of Queen of Hearts comes another mystery for "fans of P. G. Wodehouse looking for laughs mingled with some amateur sleuthing" (Publishers Weekly).
Lady Georgiana Rannoch won't deny that being 35th in line for the British throne has its advantages. Unfortunately money isn't one of them. And sometimes making ends meet requires her to investigate a little royal wrongdoing.
While my beau, Darcy, is off on a mysterious mission, I am once again caught between my high birth and empty purse. I am therefore relieved to receive a new assignment from the queen - especially one that includes lodging. The king's youngest son, George, is to wed Princess Marina of Greece, and I shall be her companion at the supposedly haunted Kensington Palace. My duties are simple: help Marina acclimate to English life, show her the best of London, and, above all, dispel any rumors about George's libertine history. Perhaps that last bit isn't so simple. George is known for his many affairs with women as well as men - including the great songwriter Noel Coward. But things truly get complicated when I search the palace for a supposed ghost only to encounter an actual dead person: a society beauty said to have been one of Prince George's mistresses. Nothing spoils a royal wedding more than murder, and the queen wants the whole matter hushed. But as the investigation unfolds - and Darcy, as always, turns up in the most unlikely of places - the investigation brings us precariously close to the prince himself.
©2015 Janet Quin-Harkin (P)2015 Audible, Inc.
"Queenie Must Die!"
I have read or listened to all of the other titles in this series, and looked forward to this one, but somehow this one just didn't work for me. I think it is the over-the-top narration on this one. Every accent, every reaction, every word is a caricature. The posh accents were too snooty, even for royalty, and Queenie made me grit my teeth. I watch more BBC than American television, so I know British accents, and these are just too, too much.
I listened to some of the previous novel again before writing this, and the narration here is very similar, but in this book, it just irritates me. I think the story is less engaging for one thing. I felt like this was just the same characters doing exactly the same things. I'm tired of Georgie being poor and settling for whatever comes her way, putting up with selfish relatives and friends, stumbling into a mystery, and waiting around for Darcy. There, that's the whole book.
Most of all, I'm sick to death of Queenie. I know Georgie can't afford a top-notch maid, but the only murder I'm interested in reading about right now is Queenie's. No sane person would put up with her. Georgie should fire her or kill her and get Darcy to help her hide the body. Kellgren's voicing of Queenie is loud, harsh, and grating, more so than in previous books.
Maybe it's also just me getting tired of Belinda's selfishness, too, but I wanted to at least have the satisfaction of Georgie telling her off.
Take my advice, pass on this one!
"I'm Pretty Over Queenie"
The story was okay.
Not enough Darcy - Why?
Queenie needs to grow up or get fired. Who would put up with her acting like a child? Really? Walking down the stairs in front of royalty with jam all over her face?
Belinda is a user and should be discarded; since the last installment it became clear she was using Georgie for her connections. OR she needs to be more grateful for her relationship with Georgie. A LOT more.
Please make the next installments more real.
"Is Darcy becoming another Daniel Sullivan?"
Recently I have refrained from listening to the latest installments of the author's Molly Murphy series because of one simple reason: Daniel Sullivan. He's become an overbearing condecending pain in the lower back (which of course might be a reasonably way of portraying a guy from 1905) but it really ruins the series for me.
NOW a similar thing started happening to this series in Malice at the Palace. While the story in this book is nothing special, is nice and twisty enough to compare to previous ones of the Royal Spyness series. However I had far less fun with it and I thought long and hard why that is.
For once I find that the relationship between Georgie and Darcy seems to be only for effect and has become more or less irrelevant for the story itself. In addition Darcy, who used to be much more modern in his views than Daniel Sullivan, started showing the same attiudes in this book as his New York counterpart. Especially when it comes to chiding Georgie for getting envolved and sticking her neck in where it does not belong.
In previous books I got the impression that Dary does not really approve but understands that Georgie is someone who always is at the wrong place at the wrong time and then can't let go until she has the solution. He even showed an amused kind of admiration for her qualities. Something that seemed to draw him to her. That impression vanished completely this time.
I was hoping that the two might be working TOGETHER more in the future. Finding clues and putting everything together as a team instead of more or less bumping into each other by chance somewhere in the middle of the story, or Darcy coming to the rescue at the opportune moment. Also in my opinion the constant air of mystery the author tries to create around Darcy as well as Georgies permanent insecureties that he might dump or betray her are no longer working and are becoming quite tiresome
Please let the two find some more common ground. They are on the same side after all and both working for the Crown in some capacity, so why not join forces and become the dynamic duo they are destined to be anyway?
Oh and one more thing. Since Georgie's visit to the US her "maid" has been quite full of herself and at times treats Georgie as if the latter was the maid and seems to be getting worse in most respects. I think it's overdoing it a little. Even a walking disaster area as Queeny should be able to improve after such a long time. Well at least she's gotten over her fear of travel but the rest is really trying my sense of believability....
"Longtime Fan No More"
This was just terrible. I have been a fan of this series since book 1, however, I feel like the author was just phoning it in on this and the last installment. The story didn't move. The characters that make us readers keep coming back for more (Grandad, Belinda and Darcy) were given bit parts. At some point, Georgiana is going to have to grow as a character. Virtually nothing has changed in her life since we first met her in book one. We get it - she is poor, she is royal, she is a virgin. The book ends in a way that gives me hope the next installment will give us a little more personal progress for our protagonist, but I can't help but wonder if this carrot is just going to be dangled in front of us to ensure our return only be yanked away like the plot line in a bad telenovela sending Georgiana back to the poor, royal, virgin cycle discussed above.
Rhys, we've been with you and Georgie for a long time - we deserve better.
The ghosts save the day? Seriously?
"save yourself a credit, skip this one"
The narrator is fine. It is highly unlikely I'll read another Rhys Bowen book unless it's advertised as "finally, the end of the Royal Spyness Series."
Mostly this book made me feel foolish for sticking with this series so long. It would appear that these books are written by cutting and pasting chunks from the other books and rearranging them. There is no character development, no overarching plot evolution, no unique plot from book to book, and not even a single new joke that we hadn't heard before. I had high hopes for this series early on but I'm finally going to cut my losses and make this the last.
"Ghosts? Give me a break! (Spoilers ahead)"
I have just about had enough of this series. Unrequited love gets old after while. I have a bad feeling about the long term stability of Georgie's and Darcy's relationship if she can't trust him more than she has so far. Why can't Darcy tell Georgie that he works as an agent for the Home Office or whatever he does? If he is after drug smugglers, he isn't doing anything of surpassing secrecy that he can't at least tell her for whom he works and reassure her. And what's with Queenie? Can't she do anything useful? I keep waiting for her to contribute something other than ruining Georgie's clothes or otherwise making a fool of herself. Can't she have some hidden talent or virtue, like being a savant at number puzzles or something? And, finally, with this book, ghosts? To get Georgie out of a desperate scrape? That's no better than having a timely brick fall on the head of the bad guy.
I like her characterization of the British upper class in the interwar period, and her ability to weave into her stories actual persons from the time- the Royal Family, Noel Coward, Wallis Simpson, etc. It is difficult, however, to know what to make of her protagonist. Is she a good amateur detective or is she an upper class twit? Before I read something else by Ms Bowen, I need that sort of conflict resolved.
Katherine Kellgren is the goods. I love her performance in everything that she does.
Oh, come on! was my honest response. The eventual culprit made sense but not how Georgie's dangerous situation was resolved.
I love this series, and Katherine Kellgren's narration really brings it to life, but that love does not blind me to the fact that this is definitely a sub-par entry. I don't do it very often, but I guessed the killer's identity the first time they were introduced. It was only their motive and a few minor details that got revealed in the end.
After the exciting and varied locales of the previous novel Queen of Hearts, this one is mostly restricted to London and Georgie seems almost like a rat in a maze as she takes a bus here, the Underground there and a train somewhere else getting tiny bits of information that may or may not have anything to do with the main story.
I thought that the Countess's difficulties with English were way overdone. I can understand that a non-native speaker would have difficulty with British idioms such as "bangers and mash" or British holidays such as Guy Fawkes' Day (an American would, too!) but to not understand a word like 'playboy', when she's an otherwise competent English-speaker is ridiculous.
I could do with a lot less of Queenie. I get that she's comic relief, but honestly, even Georgie should have fired her by this time! Could she not become somewhat competent by now and find new places to screw up? Maybe in the print version she's more tolerable, but in the audiobook version she's so much louder than everyone else that it makes me jump every time she speaks.
A major complaint is that Darcy doesn't show up until 2/3rds of the way through the book. He and Georgie make such a great team that I wish the author would just let them get together. (And the signs do look good at the end - so thank goodness for that!) There's also too little of Georgie's grandfather, who only gets a single brief visit. I had hoped that he would help her in her quest for a safecracker and that would produce some funny scenes à la Dorothy L. Sayers' Strong Poison, but that fizzled away into nothing.
I know no fans will give this book a pass and it's OK for them, but newbies shouldn't start here, you'll wonder what all the fuss is about. And I will anxiously wait for the next entry.
"Love the Book, But it's Time to Fire Queenie"
I love this series and will listen to these books over and over again. But I have to say that I really dislike the Queenie character. I dislike the character and how it is portrayed. She is loud and haughty, it actually makes me cringe. Still, I loved this story. However annoying this one character was to me, I still enjoyed the performance for the most part.
I love Belinda. I love Georgie,, and Darcey... I also loved those two aunts.
My most extreme reaction was that of uggg, please stop with Queenie. It does not make sense that this character is still such a bad maid and so unpolished. She should be let go. Also some of the scary moments were quite chilling. Great job.
I honestly love these stories, so even with my negative reaction to Queenie, I love the book.
"Another hit for Rhys Bowen"
Rhys Bowen has another hit! I always hate finishing a Georgie story because it means another wait for the next book. And this next one has quite an ending to build on.
I love this series. This book blends real people with fiction and the peek into royal life is fun. I'm glad to see Georgie living the good life and not skimping in order to eat only beans and toast.
However, I am so tired of Queenie. She was fun for a while but Georgie deserves a proper ladies maid - or none as times are changing.
The narration is spot-on, as usual. The mystery is interesting. And the ending... Can't wait for the next book!
"Fierce Darcy! Poor Belinda!"
I've never read any of the books only listened. But really, why read when Katy Kellgren can do it for me! She's the best!
Any time Darcy is on stage. Darcy O'Mara has to be one of my all time favorite heroes!
Georgie, of course, but all the characters are well read and distinguishable.
Yes! If fact, I pretty much did! lol I have a house cleaning business so I get to listen to audio books all day. Started this one at 8am this morn and only have about an hour left!
Starts out a bit slow, but really gets going once Darcy appears. In this book we really get to see how the characters are changing.
I'm so sad I'll have to wait another year for the next book!
"Interesting book, really enjoyed the characters"
The narrator as usual was brilliant, able to use her voice to make different characters sound unique.
Interesting plot and story, lots of emotion which was written in a way that you could relate to. I always enjoy the detail that Rhys goes into when describing the different palaces and houses that Georgie goes to, you can really feel you are there.
I always enjoy the characters of Georgiana and Darcy, Fig is very amusing, but Princess Marina was an interesting new character in this particular book.
When Georgie was being told about the dressing gown - I won't say any more for those who have not yet listened to the book.
Will there be more books in this series?... I hope so!
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