Kudos to Rhys Bowen for her latest Royal Spyness mystery, The Twelve Clues of Christmas. It's a perfect story for the holidays, creating an atmosphere of an old-fashioned English Christmas in a country house. But, only if your holidays are filled with murder.
In December 1933, Lady Georgiana Rannoch is stuck in Scotland with her brother and his unbearable wife, Fig. Georgie stayed to keep Fig company because she was so depressed following the birth of her baby. But, Georgie now faces a terrible fate for the holidays. Fig's mother and family are starting to arrive at Castle Rannoch, and the atmosphere is only going to get worse. She has no place to go, so she answers an ad for a hostess for a house party. Lady Camilla Hawse-Gorzley is delighted to have Georgie there. It looks so good to have someone in the line of succession, even if Georgie is only 35th in line for the throne. And, Tiddleton-under-Lovey is an enchanting village in Devon. Georgie might actually have a nice Christmas, and her mother and grandfather are even spending time in the village.
It looks like it will be a delightful party, even if the guests are somewhat unusual. Georgie couldn't be happier when she learns her beloved Darcy O'Mara will be there since he's a cousin of Lady Hawse-Gorzley. But, Georgie's dreams of romance are overshadowed by a bitter pill. Darcy is the son of Lord Kilhenny, and he's Catholic. Since Georgie is in line for the throne, she can't marry a Catholic.
Before long, Georgie has more troubling things on her mind, though, than her doomed romance. Upon arriving, she learned the police were investigating an unfortunate accident, the death of a neighbor who shot himself while in a tree. On day two, a man falls into Lovey Brook and dies. As the death count mounts, the police investigator blames the unusual deaths on three escaped convicts. The villagers blame them on the Lovey Curse, the lingering story of a witch who cursed the village. And, Georgie has a nagging suspicion she should recognize a pattern.
As I said, kudos to Rhys Bowen. It wasn't until the eighth death that I recognized the pattern. And, I didn't guess the killer. Bowen fills the book with all the charm of an English Christmas, relating the customs of pantomime, charades, Christmas games and holiday food. The book includes a few recipes and directions for games. Best of all, though, it includes Georgie, and a clever killer. The Twelve Clues of Christmas is a fun kick-off to holiday reading. (And, Rhys Bowen reminds everyone that it would make a wonderful gift for the mystery lover in the family.)
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
It's an honor to be asked to review books, and I'm grateful to all the publishers, publicists, and authors who send me books. Thank you. Reviews will appear on my blog if I've had a chance to read, and finish, the book. If I do not finish a book, I won't review it, and I will not respond to emails asking when, or if, I'll be reviewing a book.
My reviews are only my opinion, and do not reflect the views of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library.
I will not review self-published books, and, at the present time, do not accept books in e-book format.
1, 2, 3 ... By the Sea: A Counting Book
Book: 1, 2, 3 ... By the Sea: A Counting Book Author: Dianne Moritz Illustrator: Hazel Mitchell Pages: 36 Age Range: 3-6 1, 2, 3 ... By the Sea is a nice lit...
My Oct. 19, 2009 blog provides full disclosure that I only receive review copies of books, with no other compensation. All review copies are marked as such. If there any any questions, please feel free to contact me.