Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Book Review: Love and Death Among the Cheetahs by Rhys Bowen (Royal Spyness Mysteries #13)

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Georgie, Darcy, good mystery
Cons: One plot point seems forced, usual slow pace early on
The Bottom Line:
Georgie and Darcy
An African honeymoon
Complete with murder

Honeymoon Safari with Murder

Reading can be a two-edged sword at times.  When you don’t have the money or vacation time (or both) to travel, getting to read a book like Love and Death Among the Cheetahs is a wonderful way to travel relatively inexpensively.  On the other hand, now I really want to go to Africa on a safari.

Let me back up a bit.  For those who may not be familiar with the series, this is the thirteenth book in the Royal Spyness series, which stars the newly married Lady Georgianna, a (fictional) British minor royal in the 1930’s.  This book opens just days after the previous book in the series ended and finds Georgie and her new husband Darcy on their honeymoon.  Georgie is thrilled when Darcy announces that he’s made arrangements to extend their honeymoon in Kenya.  She’s looking forward to seeing exotic animals and getting to spend more time with her new husband.

However, when they arrive, Georgie learns that things aren’t quite as they appear.  While she’s been asked once again by Queen Mary to keep an eye on the Prince of Wales and his friend Mrs. Simpson, Darcy has been given an assignment as well.  He’s tracking a jewel thief that just stole a valuable diamond.  The best information available is that it is going to be sold to a contact in Kenya.

Of course, this still leaves plenty of time to get to know the British colonists there.  While the colonists are excited to have new British citizens to get to know, Georgie starts to discover that they aren’t all friendly people.  In fact, some of them are downright shocking.  Then a murder takes place, and Georgie and Darcy find themselves caught up in the middle of it.  Can they solve the murder without it ruining their honeymoon?

As usual with this series, we get updates on most of the regulars before we set out to parts unknown, and the descriptions of Georgie and Darcy’s trip to Kenya make me very thankful for modern travel.  Of course, along the way we start meeting the characters who will come into play once the action really gets going.

Even once we land, things take a little time to come fully into focus, but once the murder takes place, we are in for a wild ride.  The set-up is brilliant, and the secrets that Darcy and Georgie uncover along the way are great.  The solution is logical.

Yes, I keep talking about Georgie and Darcy as a unit here, and there is reason for that.  They are on their honeymoon, so they are spending as much time together as possible.  While Darcy has popped into and out of most of the earlier books in the series, he is very present here.  Yes, Georgie makes most of the contributions to solving the mystery, but Darcy is by her side for the entire thing.  And I loved it!  Honestly, I’ve always loved Darcy’s character, so getting to see more of him is very welcome.  Naturally, Georgie is her usual charming self.  I did have a hard time keeping the all of the new supporting characters and their relationships straight, but I was still able to follow the mystery perfectly, so this was a minor complaint.

My bigger complaint is an event that takes place near the middle of the book.  I get why it happened from a plot point of view, but why no one took Darcy aside to warn him is beyond me.  (I can understand why no one said anything to Georgie.)

On the other hand, this book delves into the European political landscape of the day in a way that the earlier books have managed to avoid.  But it is 1935 in this book, and Europe is building to World War II.  I appreciated how this backdrop was used to further develop the mystery and give us a sense of time and place without feeling out of place in this mostly light series.  Because there is nothing light or fun about what happened during World War II.

If you are looking for an arm chair vacation as summer winds down, look no further than Love and Death Among the Cheetahs.  It will whisk you away to another time and place and leave you wishing to visit in person.

Need more time with Georgie?  Here are the rest of the Royal Spyness Mysteries in order.

NOTE: I received a copy of this book.


Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of this book to give away.  Because it is a physical book, the contest is limited to residence of the US.

Just leave me a comment with your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you if you win.  I will pick the winner Tuesday August 13th, so please leave your comment before midnight Pacific Time on 8/13.  You will have until midnight on 8/18 to get back to me, or I will choose a new winner on 8/19.


  1. This looks like an interesting read. Thank you for this chance. pgenest57(at)aol(dot)com

  2. This sounds like another good Royal Spyness mystery, and I appreciate your spoiler-free complaint. Thanks for the review and contest! mbradeen [at] yahoo [dot] com

  3. I have wanted to try this series. Thanks for the opportunity and thorough review.

  4. This is a fun series. I love Georgie.
    turtle6422 at gmail dot com

  5. Thank you for the great review!!

  6. This sounds like a really great book. Looking forward to reading.

  7. smpopple@hotmail.comAugust 7, 2019 at 12:18 AM

    I love this series! I didn't realize that the new book was out yet.

  8. This one sounds really good. The backdrop as WWII is beginning to loom sounds like an interesting addition, especially in these Colonial outposts. Thanks for the chance to win!

  9. This is such an enjoyable series! I appreciate a review that doesn't contain spoilers, but sums up your impression of the book. Please enter me in the drawing for the book.

  10. Love this series. It's fun to read about a royal who doesn't take herself too seriously. Great review. I've done a safari in Kenya and Tanzania. Go do it - you won't regret it! m.drew@neu.edu


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