Thursday, September 12, 2013

Shelf Life [adult]

Heirs and Graces: A Royal Spyness Mystery by Rhys Bowen

The fall bestsellers are arriving fast and furiously, and the first I picked up was the newest installment of the adventures of Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, daughter to the Duke of Atholt and Rannoch – otherwise known as Georgie (who would be great-great-cousin several times removed of another new Royal named George, but I digress). This series gets better and better, with quicker pacing, witty dialogue and charmingly quirky characters from the upper-crust of whom even the Dowager Countess of Grantham would approve. Although we still do not know how Georgie will make her way in the world, or what exactly her dashing fiancĂ©e Darcy does for a living (it is all very mysterious), this time around Georgie is doing exactly what she was brought up to do – be graceful and teach proper posh British etiquette to the long-lost heir to an ancient line of Dukes. Except that John, or Jack as he prefers to be called, is the prime suspect in the murder of the Cedric, the previous Duke, since it was Jack’s hunting knife buried to the hilt in Cedric’s back. But since Jack rather resents being snatched from his Australian ranch to be plopped down in the middle of a damp and drizzly land, and is resisting all attempts to turn him into a toffee-nosed aristocrat, Georgie wonders if someone else in the eccentric household might be a more likely murderer. Cedric threatened to turf his sister Lady Irene and her three children out on their ears, as well as his two widowed aunts; he was also about to dislodge some employees from their homes on his estate in order to build a theatre which did not endear him to their tenants. Cedric also hurt his own closest friends, a group of gay young men known as the Starlings, with a startling announcement designed to throw the whole household into an uproar. As with any cozy mystery, neither the plot nor characters are particularly sophisticated, but like the folks of Downton Abbey, they are fun to visit for a brief time. Find Heirs and Graces, or any of the other six titles in this series at under the tag Shelf Life Reviewed.

This review appears in The Stratford Gazette on September 12, 2013. Written by Robyn Godfrey, Librarian.

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