Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Book Review: The Last Mrs. Summers by Rhys Bowen (Royal Spyness Mysteries #14)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong atmosphere, fun characters, good story
Cons: Usual slow start
The Bottom Line:
Cottage in Cornwall
Unexpected reunion
And great atmosphere

Gothic Trip to Cornwall

As I have stated multiple times over the years, I skipped over the classics of the mystery genre in my reading journey.  I’ve filled in a few over the years, but one of the classics I am still missing is Rebecca, which helped inspire The Last Mrs. Summers, the newest Royal Spyness Mystery from Rhys Bowen.  While I’m sure familiarity with Rebecca would have helped me appreciate this book more, I still enjoyed catching Georgie’s latest adventure.

If you are new to the series, Lady Georgiana Rannoch O’Mara is a minor royal in 1935’s England.  Yes, she has finally married Darcy O’Mara, but settling into a happy ever after is not in the cards for them.  Instead, they have more adventure and mystery to look forward to.

It's been a quiet couple of months now that Georgie and Darcy are back from their honeymoon to Africa.  Darcy has just left on one of his secret assignments, and Georgie, who should be hiring a new cook, is feeling a bit at loose ends.  So when her best friend Belinda shows up talking about the small cottage she’s just inherited in Cornwall, Georgie jumps at the chance to join Belinda in taking a look at it.

It turns out that cottage was too nice a term for Belinda’s inheritance.  Shack would be a better term.  That’s when Belinda runs into her childhood friend Rose.  Rose surprises Belinda by announcing that she is now married to Tony Summers and has become mistress of Trewoma Hall.  Rose insists Belinda and Georgie stay with her while they are in the area.  However, something doesn’t seem right at Trewoma Hall.  Will Georgie figure out what is going on before tragedy strikes?

If you are familiar with the series, you know what to expect here, and you won’t be disappointed.  Before the plot really kicks in, we get updates on the various supporting players in the series.  I do love them, so it is nice to pop in on them.  Belinda is my favorite of Georgie’s friends and relations, so I was thrilled to find out she was going to be strongly featured in this book.  Of course, as we meet the new characters, they are strong as well.

The downside of getting to check in with Georgie’s family and friends is it takes a bit longer for the plot to get going.  Once we meet Rose, things definitely pick up, with lots of questions to be answered.  Again, I’m sure if I were familiar with Rebecca, I’d enjoy spotting some nods to that Gothic classic.  Even without that knowledge, I reveled in the atmosphere that Rhys Bowen created as she told the story.  Once Georgie figures everything out, the events make perfect sense.

Some books in the series have involved more history than others.  This book just focuses on the plot at hand with only a few references to the historical events unfolding around the characters.  Still, the setting is well down, and I felt like I was back in 1935 with the characters as I read.

Fans of the series will be delighted with Georgie’s latest adventure.  Pick up The Last Mrs. Summers and be prepared for an atmospheric trip to another time and place.

And be sure to enjoy more of Georgie’s adventures with the rest of the Royal Spyness series.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

1 comment:

  1. I need to get back to this series. I've enjoyed the ones I've read.
    I reread Rebecca last year. I didn't love it. Actually I found it a little annoying.