Not Quite Georgie

I had mixed feelings as I read this addition to the irresistibly cute Her Royal Spyness mystery series. The story was interesting and the resolution had a twist that was at once disturbing and yet ballsy of Bowen at the same time. Not many authors are willing to go there, especially with a cozy. Not that children never cause someone's death, but most people like to believe in the "incorruptible innocence" of the child. In a way the children here are innocent, but it was still their little experiment gone wrong which led to their uncle's death. I say good for Bowen that she was willing to take that step. On the other hand, though, it just didn't feel like a Georgie book.

Things started going wrong when Georgie went out with Belinda her last night in London. The setting was classic for our leading lady: dinner and dancing, high society men, and evening shoes. Fans have come to recognize this mixture as a disaster in the making, but the whole thing resolved itself in a quick sentence or two in which we learned that Georgie went out, danced with a rich American, had a wonderful time ... AND DIDN'T HAVE A SINGLE CLUTZY MOMENT!!! What?! That's not Georgie! Sure she'd already disgraced herself earlier by squirting eclair cream down her front during tea with HM, but that was tame compared to what generally befalls her when she's attempting to be graceful while dancing with a rich man. And this seemed to set the theme for the remainder of the book. Georgie didn't crash into any priceless vases, get lost and walk in on an embarrassing encounter, drop her earrings in the soup tureen, etc etc etc ... she just wasn't her usual "not-again-Georgie!" self. It's what makes her character really sparkle and not having her on her game was a disappointment.

Another sadness I had with this book was Darcy. HE WASN'T HELPFUL AT ALL!!! He showed up in typical, out-of-the-blue, oh-my-girlish-heart fashion and set himself up in a position to provide us with humor, insightful comments, and blushes. He wasn't as smart with his wit as he usually is and he really didn't contribute anything at all to the investigation. Okay, he helped Georgie discover the secret passage in the folly, but that was it. Usually he's all tail up, nose down, sniffing out the culprit, but this time around he seemed to spend his time telling Georgie to stay out of it (SAY WHAT?!?!) in between their lip-locks. He didn't have any heroic scenes of nabbing the murderer, chasing someone in a Bently, or catching Georgie before she plummets off the edge of some high place. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Okay, I've stopped my ranting, promise. Setting all that aside, Heirs and Graces really is a good little cozy fueled by one of the best brain-benders Bowen has come up with yet. True, our leading lady and her still-my-heart Irish beau were off their game characterization-wise, but the plot carries you along effortlessly. Bravo!