Monday, April 4, 2011

Royal Blood by Rhys Bowen ****

It's the 1930s and European royalty still celebrates weddings in grand style. Lady Georgiana, 34th in line to the throne of England, is selected to represent the Queen for a wedding in an isolated castle in Transylvania. She is joined by her promiscuous mother and girlfriend, both of whom encourage her to marry and bed someone from the selection of princes in attendance, not necessarily in that order, along with a Prince who she has already turned down but is still interested, and a chubby girl from boarding school who is now the beautiful bride and princess, and

Though over twenty and still virgin, Lady Georgiana is more interested in solving murders. Two happen within in days of her arrival. Comic relief comes in the form of the poor cockney girl Lady Georgiana hired as a maid when she discovered there was no way to avoid her attendance.

Maid? This was 1932, merely 15 years following the first patent for the zipper and no lady could dress herself with long rows of buttons and hooks down the back of most formal dresses. I can still remember the 50s and into the 60s, when women would says, "Dear, please zip me up," as even this important sartorial invention did not free formal women from the need for assistance getting dressed and undressed.

In this delightful context of castle with hidden passages, royalty with rigid manners, secret sexual liaisons, and possibly even vampires, Rhys Bowen unfolds a fascinating a whodunit: Royal Blood.

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