Wednesday, July 29, 2009

ROYAL FLUSH by Rhys Bowen (Berkley)

Being thirty-fourth in line to the throne doesn't convey wealth (witness the shabby gentility of Bowen's protagonist Lady Georgiana), but it does open some rather grand doors. When customers of Georgie's house-cleaning business leave London for the country, she has to find another source of income—quickly. Planning to advertise herself as a witty dinner companion (for pay), in her naivety, she misrepresents herself with near-dangerous results.

To get her out of the limelight, Georgie is sent in disgrace to her ancestral home, Castle Rannoch, in Scotland where she's doomed to endure her spineless brother, Binky, and his ramrod stiff wife, Fig. The Castle is hosting a house party of Americans, and Her Majesty offers Georgie an opportunity to redeem herself: All she has to do is keep Wallis Simpson from seducing the Prince of Wales.

This delightful cozy offers an entirely different view of the woman I saw Edward R. Murrow interview many years ago on Person to Person. Somehow, I believe Bowen's version is closer to reality.

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