Friday, January 4, 2013

The Twelve Clues of Christmas

I like to read Christmas-y books at Christmastime, and so when Amazon's book recommendation genies told me that I might like "The Twelve Clues of Christmas" by Rhys Bowen, I decided to give it a try.  I'd not read any mysteries by this author, but I found myself charmed right away.  "Her royal spyness" is Lady Georgianna Rannoch, a distant relative of the queen's (34th in line for the throne, she reports) and an accidental amateur detective.  (What can one do, when one keeps stumbling across murders?!)  All of this series is set in the 1940's in England, and Georgianna narrates with a tone that reminded me of the breezy charm of Myrna Loy in the Thin Man and the Topper movies. 

In this one, Georgianna is desperate to escape the prospect of spending the holidays with her brother and sister-in-law in the drafty ancestral Scottish castle, and takes a job as a social activities leader at a country house in a small village where the house's owner is taking in paying guests to provide them the proper English country experience.  Meanwhile, a series of seemingly unrelated and accidental deaths to local villagers starts up -- one a day -- and Georgianna sets out to sort out why. There is much amusing commentary on the different classes of guests and their reactions to the holiday traditions, and of course reading about the Christmas activities is quite entertaining. 

This wasn't a particularly twisty plot but it had a lot of amusing turns.  It was the perfect enjoyable and well-written story for post-Christmas light reading.  I'll be hunting down others by this author.

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