Book Review: Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding by Rhys Bowen

Posted January 14, 2019 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 6 Comments

Book Review: Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding by Rhys Bowen

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding by Rhys Bowen
Series: Her Royal Spyness #12
Genres: British, Historical, Amateur Sleuth, Mystery
Published by Berkley Books on August 7, 2018
Pages: 304
Format: eBook
Source: the library

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Also in this series: Heirs and Graces

Also by this author: Heirs and Graces, Queen of Hearts, Malice at the Palace, Crowned and Dangerous, On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service, The Tuscan Child, Love and Death Among the Cheetahs, The Last Mrs Summers

Twelfth in the Her Royal Spyness historical British mystery series involving an amateur sleuth, the Lady Georgiana Rannoch.

My Take

At last! I was beginning to wonder if Georgie and Darcy would ever get married!? Although, just because Georgie has to renounce her claim to the throne, how does this suddenly make her not family? And I still don’t understand her blasted mother. Why hasn’t she ever taken Georgie shopping for some decent clothes!?

Georgie does make me a bit nuts at times with her insecurity. I do get that she has major esteem problems, but how many times do we have to go through her angst — it’s that first person protagonist point-of-view that ensures we have a ringside seat — only to find there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation?

There is one explanation I’d love to know, just what does Darcy do? He claims to be a fact gatherer, and I suspect he’s more of a spy.

Hmmm, once we get through the initial sorting out, Darcy and Georgie go flat hunting. Oh. Boy. Things are looking grim. On the other hand, Georgie has enough good news that upsets Fig so much that it takes all Georgie has to keep from dancing.

While I appreciate Georgie growing a backbone, I do wish her smarts would have increased along with it. I will concede, however, that the servants’ roadblock against Georgie being able to do anything is quite effective. Although, why Georgie hasn’t been to the solicitors or immediately sent off a letter to Sir Hubert has me wondering. And I’m frustrated with her wanting to handle it all herself. Yes, she does need to handle the servants, but not at the cost of her life!

“Lady Plunkett keeps birds.” I thought she was supposed to be Lady Anstruther, Sir Hubert’s mother? And that Plunkett was the butler?

They giveth and they taketh…it’s a blessing when Sir Hubert makes his offer, but deathly when Georgie meets the servants at Eynsleigh. They’re nothing like they should be and the house and grounds are a mess, creating a nasty conundrum for Georgie as she tries to sort it out.

Forty pounds a month. Forty pounds. That’s all it takes to keep up an estate like Sir Hubert’s and pay staff and the bills. I want to rob a bank and go back in time. Then there’s Queenie. You know how bad the servants are if Georgie and Mummy are thrilled to have Queenie around, lol. As for thinking butlers are snooty, that’s hypocritical of Georgie with all that she says about Hamilton!

The Story

So much for a small wedding, for Queen Mary is expecting invitations for the family and Georgie’s great-aunts at Kensington Palace, besides the European royal relations…and the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret will be in the wedding!

Nor is Georgie’s the only wedding, for marriage is in the air for Grandad — that Hettie Huggins has finally got him in a corner — and Mummy is finally marrying Max.

The Characters

Lady Georgianna Rannoch had been thirty-fifth in line for the throne, but if she’s marrying a Catholic, she’ll have to give it up. Queenie, her disaster of a maid, is learning to be an assistant cook with Darcy’s relatives, Aunt Oona and Uncle Dooley, in Ireland.

Belinda Warburton-Stoke is her best friend and is making the wedding dress. Francesca is/was her daily in Italy. Camilla, an “old friend” from schooldays, is married to Paolo, the Countess and Count di Marola and Martini; they have adopted Belinda’s baby (Paolo is the father, after all). Florence had been the maid Belinda employed in England. The hideous Huddlestone will be her new, very proper maid in London.

Darcy O’Mara, a Catholic and Georgie’s fiancé, is the son of an impoverished Irish lord, and he “gathers facts” for the British. Thaddeus, Lord Kilhenny, is his father who managed to buy back the ancestral home. Princess ZouZou, who loves to fly her aeroplane, is in love with Darcy’s dad who runs her racing stable on his estate in Ireland. Clotilde is the princess’ maid.

Eynsleigh, Haywards Heath, Sussex, is…
Sir Hubert Anstruther‘s country home; he’s another of Mummy’s ex-husbands. He’d wanted to adopt Georgie at the time, and he has made her his heir. He’s currently mountain climbing in Chile. Rogers was the butler. Turns out that Charles Plunkett is the new butler. Mrs Holbrook had been the housekeeper, and she hasn’t been replaced. McShea is the footman. Joanie is the housemaid. Molly is an Irish scullery maid. Fernando is said to be the cook…and he’s awful. Bill Bagley and Ted Hoskins are the inept gardeners. Mrs Pritchard looks after the Dowager Lady Anstruther who ran away from her retirement home, Downsview. Charlie and Rani are her birds. Although the lady at Downsview said she had white Persians, Rajah and Rani.

Ben Wayland used to be the assistant head gardener. Eaton and Harris are Sir Hubert’s family solicitors. Miss Tompkins is the secretary. Lady Mountjoy, a neighbor, lives at Farlows, a mile from Eynsleigh.

Detective Inspector Travers is with the Sussex Constabulary, as is Sergeant Willis. Detective Chief Inspector Garland is with Scotland Yard and had been trained by Grandad.

Queen Mary is quite fond of Georgie, who is cousin to her husband, King George V (Queen Victoria was Georgie’s great-grandmother). Lady P is one of the queen’s ladies-in-waiting. Bertie and Elizabeth, the Duke and Duchess of York, have two children: Lillibet and Margaret. David is the Prince of Wales who’s seeing that ghastly Wallis Simpson woman. Marina, the Duchess of Kent, is married to Prince George, the fourth son, and she is friends with Georgie. They really must invite Nicholas of Bulgaria and his wife, Maria.

The beastly (and stingy) Hilda “Fig“, Duchess of Rannoch, is married to Georgie’s brother, Binky. Podge is their son — he’ll be a page boy — while Addy is their daughter. Mr McTavish plays the bagpipes at Castle Rannoch. At Rannoch House in London, Hamilton is the aged butler. Mrs McPherson is the cook.

Cousins Fergus and Lachlan have RSVPd.

Georgie’s mummy, the guilt-inducing Claire, is still engaged to Max von Strohheim, a German industrialist who’s quite pally with the Nazis. But they’re planning on a wedding next month in Berlin. Mummy is actually forking out some dough for Georgie’s trousseau! Claudette is Mummy’s French maid. Noël Coward is a friend of Claire’s.

The now retired Sergeant Albert Spinks is Grandad, a former policeman who lives in a row house in Essex. His brother? son? Jimmy was killed in World War I. Hettie Huggins is the next-door neighbor (and Queenie’s great-aunt) who has been keeping her eye on Albert. Her son Stan has a daughter, Jewel, who’d love to be in Georgie’s wedding.

Prince Siegfried, a.k.a., Fishface, had been one of her potential grooms. Mrs Callendar has a famous stallion for stud, King’s Ransom. Madame Chow makes the most luscious undies. Elsa Schiaparelli is a clothing designer. Father Dominik is a sweet Polish priest. Plunkett had worked for Lady Malmsbury before she died. Cecil Peregrin, Earl of Malmsbury, is her son with some answers. Arthur Broadbent is a financial advisor for Harrison and Weekes in the City. Annabel is his wife.

The burglary ring in London was…
…led by Phil “Birdman” Vogel. Looney Lopez and Joan Parsons are some of his crew.

The Cover and Title

The cover is quite soft in its graying pastels with the lilac walls, the crystal chandelier, and the gray-shadowed white staircase winding upwards, bunches of pink roses tied to the newel posts. The blonde-bobbed Georgie is in her wedding dress in profile to us with her head turned our way and holding more roses in her gloved hands. The author’s name is in the top quarter in a pale yellow-orange, the same color used for the background of the ribbon that spans Georgie’s legs as a background for the purple script font for the title and the series information. Naturally there is a picot edging in a dusky pink on both edges of the ribbon with a single picot in each of the top corners. I suspect the besuited gray-haired gentleman behind the pillar is Sir Hubert, Georgie’s benefactor.

The title refers to the grim ends of four as we hope that Georgie and Darcy’s wedding actually takes place with Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding.

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6 responses to “Book Review: Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding by Rhys Bowen

  1. This sounds pretty intriguing. AND, I just really love that title? It’s just cute. Which, come to think of it, is an odd way to explain it considering the title starts with “Funerals” but it’s the only way I can describe it, oops!

  2. I first discovered Rhys Bowen when I picked up on of her Constable Evans books when I lived in Wales. Tempted by this series if it features Haywards Heath – my family’s ancestral home & estate are there so I grew up in the area. Is Eynsleigh in earlier books?

    • That’s how I got started with Bowen! I adored her Constable Evans books, and I was so disappointed that the series finished. Eynsleigh might have been mentioned before, but this is the first time it’s been featured.

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