A Royal Pain is the second in the Royal Spyness Mystery series (the first of which I reviewed previously) by Rhys Bowen. We’re back with Georgie—Lady Georgiana Rannoch—in 1930s London as she hosts a troublesome visiting princess.
There’s less setup this time, as less is needed—how Georgie ended up alone in Rannoch house and working secretly as a maid just needs to be mentioned, not fully written out as in the first book. So the first body shows up at the one-third mark instead of halfway through. The plot seems to meander a bit mostly because it takes Georgie so long to start connecting events, and even then she’s reluctant to suspect the princess or others of her “set”. Which brings me to my next point.
I’m glad Georgie’s sensibilities and morality reflect her upbringing rather than being transplanted from our own era. While this means we see Georgie’s classism show up, she remains a sympathetic character. Mostly I’m annoyed this classism seems to be what prevented her from figuring things out sooner. Also, she never once wondered if the princess was who she said she was even after the third death. That’s not just classism though—Georgie may be smart but she’s also naive.
The romance takes a backseat in this book as Georgie’s love interest, Darcy O’Mara, is absent for most of it. And much of the time he is present, he’s flirting with the princess. Mostly the romantic tension is from Georgie wondering if she’s driven Darcy away because she has trouble expressing her interest in him. And when she does express interest in another man, gets herself into trouble due to the previously mentioned naiveté.
I liked the first book better but this was still a good outing. Georgie is charming as ever and I enjoyed spending time in her head. If you liked the first book, you’ll like this one too.