Book Review: Rhys Bowen’s Royal Flush

Posted November 5, 2011 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Rhys Bowen’s Royal Flush

Royal Flush


Rhys Bowen

historical mystery in Hardcover edition that was published by Berkley on July 7, 2009 and has 306 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Evans Above, Evan Help Us, Evanly Choirs, Bless the Bride, The Last Illusion, Evan and Elle, Naughty in Nice, Evan Can Wait, Evans to Betsy, Evan Only Knows, Her Royal Spyness, A Royal Pain, Evan's Gate, Royal Blood, Evan Blessed, Evanly Bodies, Rhys Bowen, Hush Now, Don't You Cry, The Twelve Clues of Christmas, The Family Way, Heirs and Graces, Queen of Hearts, Malice at the Palace, Crowned and Dangerous, On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service

Third in the Her Royal Spyness historical-mystery series revolving around the Lady Georgiana, 34th in line from the throne and poorer than a church mouse.

In 2009, Royal Flush was nominated for the Agatha Award for Best Novel.

My Take

Okay, it’s a cute series with its premise as Lady Georgiana playing at amateur detective, but it seems to me that most of her detecting falls into the “oops” category. As in, oops, stumbled over that clue and, oops, there’s another one. Darcy is going to have to marry her if only to keep her alive.

It’s Bowen’s characters that keep me coming back. I want to know what nasty thing Fig is going to say next. Bowen’s Wallis Simpson is the most spiteful thing and I love it when Georgie or her mother slap her down. Then there’s this…midpoint. It’s a bit of a huh-what moment to read how unimportant the whole virginity thing has become after so many centuries of it being the most important impression.

In the last story, Communists were plotting to assassinate the King and Queen and that paranoia has spilled over to Royal Flush. Although, Georgie does seem to spend most of her time helping Fig make her guests so uncomfortable that they’ll leave, she also gets some time to gather up some very nice compliments as she stumbles her way through her “investigation”. I really don’t see where the Home Office or the queen justify having Georgie check things out as she’s more the bumble than the sleuth.

The Story

A favor for Belinda gives Georgie another idea for income but Georgie’s innocence ends up sending her into exile to Scotland. The Home Office wants her to keep an ear to the ground while she’s at Balmoral. Seems there are a few too many “accidents” occurring around the young royals and others in the line of succession and all the evidence points to someone within that inner circle!

Surprisingly, when Georgie shows up at Rannoch Castle, Fig is relieved to see her. Seems there’s a houseful of royals, cousins, and Americans invited to make Wallis Simpson happy and they’re eating and drinking Fig and Binky out of house and home besides demanding all sorts of entertainment. Then there’s the speedboat trials on the lake attracting attention followed by the opening of the grouse season at Balmoral all mixed in with Georgie’s main purpose this season.

The Characters

All the usual characters are here: Lady Georgiana; Darcy O’Mara, the Irish peer’s heir and, Georgie speculates, spy; David, the Prince of Wales; and, the king and queen.

Making up the house party at Rannoch Castle
Binky’s gotten his foot chewed up from a trap set along the path he always walked; Fig is actually thrilled to tears that Georgie showed up at Rannoch Castle…I know, I know, be still my heart!; Mr. and Mrs. Simpson; Lachan and Murdoch, Rannoch cousins; Prince Siegfried, a.k.a., Fishface, who points out to Georgie all the benefits of marrying him; Prince George; young Podge who is about to have some unexpected adventures; and, Grandfather who shows up as moral support for Georgie.

The Speedboat Enthusiasts’ Party
Belinda Warburton-Stokes has a new beau in Count Paolo di Marola e Martini, an Italian obsessed with speed; Georgie’s mother and Max, her industrialist German boyfriend; Augustus Gormsley; and, Ronny Padgett, the notorious aviatrix.

Hugo Beasley-Bottome appears to be a bit of a wastrel bumming from country house to country house. He’s certainly bummed an invite on the strength of having been at school with Binky to Rannoch Castle insulting Georgie along the way. Godfrey Beverley is a most unloved gossip columnist who is sneaking about trying to either spy or trick someone into giving it up. Major and Mrs. Padgett have a grace-and-favor home at Balmoral where the major runs the estate.

The Cover and Title

The cover is consistent with earlier ones with its Art Deco, cartoon effect. The eye is drawn first to a white-gloved Lady Georgiana in an off-the-shoulder white gown, her waist encircled by a wide lilac belt facing us as she dances with someone in a tux inside a room. The visual path then sweeps right as we look thorugh a huge, paned window at a crowd of people chatting and dancing outside in an area enclosed by a tall hedge, a tower and buildings beyond that.

The title is centered within a turquoise ribbon double-edged with purple trim across the bottom. I’m not sure if the title was inspired by the toilet tank that came off the wall or from the antagonist attempting to hurt everyone in the line of inheritance.