Book Review // On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service by Rhys Bowen

On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service Book Cover On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service
The Royal Spyness
Rhys Bowen
Cozy Mystery
Berkley Publishing Group
August 1, 2017
Hardcover, Paperback, Digital

In the new Royal Spyness Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Crowned and Dangerous, Lady Georgiana Rannoch juggles secret missions from the Queen, Darcy, and her mother. But it’s all in a day’s work when you’re thirty-fifth in line to the British Crown.

When Darcy runs off on another secret assignment, I am left to figure out how to travel to Italy sans maid and chaperone to help my dear friend Belinda, as she awaits the birth of her baby alone. An opportunity presents itself in a most unexpected way—my cousin the queen is in need of a spy to attend a house party in the Italian lake country. The Prince of Wales and the dreadful Mrs. Simpson have been invited, and Her Majesty is anxious to thwart a possible secret wedding.  

What luck! A chance to see Belinda and please the queen as I seek her permission to relinquish my claim to the throne so I can marry Darcy. Only that’s as far as my good fortune takes me. I soon discover that Mummy is attending the villa party and she has her own secret task for me. Then, Darcy shows up and tells me that the fate of a world on the brink of war could very well depend on what I overhear at dinner! I shouldn’t be all that surprised when one of my fellow guests is murdered and my Italian holiday becomes a nightmare...


Now and again, I enjoy a humorous, cozy mystery. I’m definitely a hard thriller fan, but sometimes one needs to take a breather from the fast pace and allow a relaxing whodunit into the mix of reading. And when I had the opportunity to read On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service by Rhys Bowen, I snatched up a bit of light reading. That is when I found myself sitting around lazily reading about British spies, the British Royalty, and the Italian countryside.

Cozy mysteries have always been a real treat for me. With a true mystery at play, I enjoy the calmness with which the protagonist approaches and solves their mystery. Of course, there are still adventures, and twists, but cozies definitely offer a lighter side that allow for easy reading without some of the anxiety that a traditional mystery or thriller may offer.

Within On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service, you will meet Georgie, a spirited Royal with fiery ambition. Along the way, you meet Georgie’s best friend, Belinda; her love and soon-to-be-husband, Darcy; and Georgie’s Mummy, who happens to make her own chaos for Georgie, while her daughter is trying to thwart a Royal catastrophe. A fun spin through a cozy mystery that gives you Agatha Christie-like delight.

My first read of a Rhys Bowen mystery and I’m loving her weave of taking a real event in time – the affair and love of The Prince of Wales and Mrs. Simpson – and using this occurrence to spin a crafty well-received mystery of political intrigue. It’s a light read that doesn’t jump around; it is a straight-forward flow from start to finish.

Another thing I like is that although this is a series, The Royal Spyness Series, readers can easily read On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service as a standalone book and not feel lost regarding backstories for the characters. This definitely allows readers to start from a mid-series book and quickly catch up in the series without feeling lost. Each story is their own story.

Click here for other books in the series.

Definitely pick up On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service if you are looking for a warm, fun cozy mystery for a light read. This is not a hard-hitting mystery, so if that is what you LOVE, this may not be for you. Stars: 3 out of 5.

Rhys Bowen, a New York Times bestselling author, has been nominated for every major award in mystery writing, including the Edgar®, and has won many, including both the Agatha and Anthony awards. She is the author of the Royal Spyness Mysteries, set in 1930s London, the Molly Murphy Mysteries, set in turn-of-the-century New York, and the Constable Evans Mysteries, set in Wales. She was born in England and now divides her time between Northern California and Arizona.

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