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Her Royal Spyness

Narrated by: Katherine Kellgren
Series: Royal Spyness, Book 1
Length: 8 hrs and 4 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (173 ratings)

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Summary

Agatha Award-winning author Rhys Bowen’s charming combination of intrigue and romance blended with a touch of humor shines when performed by Audible Hall of Fame narrator Katherine Kellgren, whose deft range and impeccable accent work make it hard to believe this isn’t a multicast performance.

In this irresistible cozy set in 1930s London, Rhys Bowen introduces the lively Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie—or "Georgie" for short. Despite standing 34th in line for the throne and occasionally having tea with (…and spying for!) Her Majesty the Queen, Georgie is penniless and down-on-her-luck. And just when it seems things might be looking up, she finds a body in her bathtub.

Listeners are sure to be hooked on this royally enjoyable series—and luckily for them, the collaboration between author and narrator only gets richer over the course of 12 books. 

©2007 Janet Quin-Harkin (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

Critic reviews

  • Audie Award Nominee - Best Mystery/Suspense Audiobook, 2011

"Rhys Bowen has crafted an insightful blend of old-fashioned whodunnit, clever satire, and drawing room comedy of errors -- and created a feisty new heroine to delight a legion of Anglophile readers." (Jacqueline Winspear, author of the Maisie Dobbs novels)

"Kellgren finds unique voices for quirky characters such as Georgie’s adorable grandfather and estranged mother, Wallis Simpson, and a sexy Irish lord. Kellgren will make listeners want to meet the kilt-clad ghosts who play bagpipes in Scotland’s castle corridors and tartan-wallpapered bathrooms." ( AudioFile)

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
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    5 out of 5 stars

Body found in Dukes bath!!!

Where does Her Royal Spyness rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This series of audiobooks is among the best for easy listening. Lots of humorous episodes with a minor Royal who also has a cockney grandad.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Her Royal Spyness?

Georgie, short for Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie is the poor relation but gets called in to the palace to be the Queens spy. This leads to hilarious scenes between Georgie and Fig (the sister-in-law); who holds the purse strings of her brother Binky (the Duke); as she tries to get money or a maid to come down from the Scottish Castle to the London residences were she tries to look after herself without servants.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Georgie's meetings with her ex-policeman Grandad (the royal one haunts the castle battlements) as they investigate the Murder in their bath while dodging someone who wants her out of the way.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Full of laughs and old-fashion fun with thrills in a time between the World Wars.

Any additional comments?

Katherine Kellgren brings the book to life with the range of voices and accents she brings to this audiobook. Looking forward to the next in the series.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Brilliant Book

Where does Her Royal Spyness rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Very high, certainly one of my favourites.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Her Royal Spyness?

Having more or less worked out who the murderer was, I was delighted to find I was correct.

What does Katherine Kellgren bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Wonderful use of accents, with just the right emphasis.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, but one does have to sleep!

Any additional comments?

I will certainly be investing in the rest of the series over the coming months.

4 people found this helpful

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  • L
  • 07-08-15

Great, light-hearted fun

This is a great, light-hearted story with a classic feel to it. It kind of reminded me of the old Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot series. Not a complicated tale, and it was easy to work out how the culprit was, but it was still fun to listen as the heroine of the story put the pieces together. I liked the narrator, she did a good job with the characters and added to the fun. This is an ideal book for a lazy afternoon when you want something entertaining but uncomplicated.

1 person found this helpful

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Her Royal Spyness

This is a funny, and silly detective story where she accudently discovers the truth. Loads of fun and really entertaining to listen to. Read brilliantly by Katherine Kellgren.

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brilliant!

I have enjoyed this author’s other books and happened across her Christmas 12 clues book, loved it so much that i thought i would start at the beginning.
Entertaining story, excellent narration, the murder took a while to get to, but once we did, it was well executed, pun not intended!

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light hearted

very enjoyable read can't wait to read the next book very unique in its story line light hearted reading but very moorish and a good page turner. Would highly recommend for a light hearted who dunnit

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Down and out among the toffs of the 20s

I enjoyed this even more than I expected. Our heroine is naive but determined and quite shrewd. The ridiculous situations she finds herself in come about fairly naturally. It lets you enjoy the dresses and champagne of Downton Abbey or Nancy Mitford style high life while also laughing at the snobbery and xenophobia on show. I wanted to beat the patronising and entitled love interest around the ears, and I think she could do far better, but you can't have everything. The series is off to a rollicking start and I immediately downloaded the second novel.

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disappointing

nice idea, and it started pretty well. I liked the main character and the situation she was in and was happy to go along for the ride. sadly not very much happens, and it happens very slowly and laboriously. Added to that is the least original romcom storyline (one of the men is even called Darcy, just to flag that up for anyone who's missed it). not great.

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Really grew on me when i turned down reader speed!

An enjoyable mystery, following the fortunes of Lady Georgiana, a poverty-stricken relative of the British Royal Family in the 1930s, and her quest to establish an independent life for herself.

To start with i wasn't enjoying it, but once i turned down the reader speed to 0.85 it really grew on me. The reader is really talented with the different voices and accents but i felt buffeted by the onslaught till i slowed it down.

Some formulaic elements here and there, but some funny and acidly drawn characters. I will definitely be getting the next one.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Her royal spyness

Really enjoyed the humour, period features and l
Phases, will definitely read all further books in the series.

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  • Em
  • 11-06-12

I’ve Been Charmed

I’m writing a review of the first book in this series, but that’s because you need to begin at the beginning and keep going. But you don’t want to miss any of the books in Bowen’s adorable and delightful Royal Spyness series. These books are total charmers. They tell the story of Lady Georgiana Rannoch, cousin to the Queen, in 1930s England. She’s a minor royal who's completely penniless, but expected to keep up with the Joneses. Uninterested in marrying for money, she’s trying to figure out how to make her own way in the world, with very few suitable options available to her. And then there’s the fact that keeps running into dead bodies (as tends to happen in these cozy mysteries). You may be rolling your eyes, but trust me: these books are absolutely wonderful little gems. And while I would never dare discourage reading, you really ought to listen to them. Katherine Kellgren is the real star here. She gives perfect voice to all of the characters Georgie encounters: her Cockney grandfather, a handsome Irish rogue, a crazy German princess who’s obsessed with American gangster movies, a stuffy butler, and even Wallis Simpson and Coco Chanel. I can’t wait for the next one!

131 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Living Right
  • 16-08-10

Happy addition to a difficult genre

I love a good mystery and am frequently disappointed. This one was very satisfying. The story is set during an interesting time in history, the early 1930s; the characters span a range of social classes due to the main character's position as a fiscally destitute minor royal whose mixed parentage includes a Cockney grandfather. She thinks out of the box which places her in situations that would be precluded by strict adherence to class code. The story contains enough plot twists to keep the reader guessing, but all the necessary clues are provided, so the conclusion is logical.
The narrator does a fantastic job with the voices and accents.

139 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Coffee Lover
  • 17-01-11

Joy, Joy, Joy!

This is the first novel in Rhys Bowen's Royal Spyness series and it is a jewel. Katherine Kellgren brings the characters to life and will have you laughing out loud. Not that there isn't suspense in plenty and some romantic interest as well. Audible has all of this series on the site now and if you haven't heard them, you are in for a major treat!

165 people found this helpful

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  • Dylan
  • 04-02-16

Such Fun

If you could sum up Her Royal Spyness in three words, what would they be?

Good mystery fun.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

The plot was subtle to start but like all Royal Spyness books its setting a great story. Its fun and entertaining. Some good laughs and there are moments where you can't wait to hear what happens next because there are some great cliffhangers.

What about Katherine Kellgren’s performance did you like?

Its so hard to find a narrator that I like. One who is expressive and who can do so many characters. In each Royal Spyness book this is one of the main reasons I keep on coming back.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes. I just didn't have the time.

Any additional comments?

Such a great series. I am almost finished it. Well worth the money!

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • marie
  • 19-02-11

Not Bad

Since I have run the gamut of Agatha Christie's mysteries (some multiple times) I was starting to feel like a part of my life was missing, so I figured that I would give this author a shot, even on the outset, I thought these books would be overly hokey. They aren't. Also, I have to say that although the story lines are sometimes, but not wholly predictable, that this series is pretty darn enjoyable. They definitely fit the cozy genre to a "t" and I think the main character is great. Like Christie, Bowen treats English artistocracy with a tongue in cheek type of humor and manages to keep the reader interested enough in the plot to want to keep going without stopping. I don't necessarily think it is a bad thing to be able to predict some of the outcomes, as long as we aren't able to guess them all, and hey maybe this was the author's intent, anyway.
If you are looking for a happy, fun, cozy, enjoyable whodunit, this series is for you.

84 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Emily
  • 24-01-11

Funny as all get out!

I am generally not a 1st person plot view fan, but I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The mystery was not the focus of the story, and I liked that. The whole "aristocrat struggling to get by" plot was what had me coming back to it, and I laughed out loud many a time.

The narrator was perfection as well, I believe she just might be Georgie and just never knew till now :)

55 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Chip Atkinson
  • 22-05-13

Funny, Entertaining and a Wonderful Read

I actually purchased this to listen with my wife. What a pleasant surprise! Best of all I'm hooked on a series with plenty of novels to go.

The story is of a clever, beautiful, poor yet still royal woman having to disgrace her position by working. It leads to a myriad of humorous scenes, all of which overshadow the actual mystery.

Katherine Kellgren does a wonderful job reading a variety of characters.

17 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mike From Mesa
  • 19-12-12

Delightful little mystery

I bought this book on a whim. The idea of a down-and-out royal trying to make a living in 1930s London was interesting enough to peak my curiosity, but mixing that with a murder mystery was enough to convince me to give it a try.

The book was a worthwhile read for me if only for the portrait it paints of the 1930s class-conscious society that existed of that time in the UK. The lives of those in the upper class as well as those not in that class (NOCD - not our class darling) is presented as is with no explicit excuses or embarrasment, just as the people who lived then must have thought of it. What are most interesting, besides the interactions of the two classes, are the unconscious restrictions placed on the upper class who still, sometimes, had to make a living.

The murder mystery added some additional interest to the book although the mystery was both much clearer and easier to piece for me than Agatha Chrisie's Miss Marple books. There were sufficient red herrings thrown in and our heroine does indeed make some stupid decisions, but it is all in fun and the true culprit did not become clear to me until the last hour or so of the book. All in all I can say that I had a good time reading it. I do not expect to read any other books in the series but I do not regret having purchased and read this one.

Ms Kellgren's narration of the book is first class - the British, Scots and American accents sound authentic (to my ears). She spoke clearly and seemed perfectly chosen for the tone and pace of the book. I feel I can recommend this book for some fun and light reading.

32 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Angela Heinrich
  • 09-07-12

Mildly entertaining, but mostly silly

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

As you might suppose from the title of this book, it is light-hearted and a little silly. I was somewhat entertained but I won't be listening to the rest of the series.

What does Katherine Kellgren bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Narrator was wonderful.

23 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Linda
  • 08-08-10

If you like Miss Marple and Mrs. Pollifax

I' m sure this kind of book isn't for everyone, but if you like Jane Marple or Emily Pollifax, you'll like Georgie. An amusing cozy mystery/adventure in which a young royal (35th in line for the throne) adjusts to having no money, no household help and tries to survive by doing menial work and special investigations for the queen.

The narrator does an excellent job.

52 people found this helpful