A Royal Affair
(A Sparks & Bainbridge Mystery)
July 28, 2020
More goes wrong than could be imagined when Iris Sparks and Gwendolyn Bainbridge of The Right Sort Marriage Bureau are unexpectedly engaged to dig into the past of a suitor of a royal princess in Allison Montclair’s delightful second novel, A Royal Affair.
In London 1946, The Right Sort Marriage Bureau is just beginning to take off and the proprietors, Miss Iris Sparks and Mrs. Gwendolyn Bainbridge, are in need of a bigger office and a secretary to handle the growing demand. Unfortunately, they don’t yet have the necessary means. So when a woman arrives―a cousin of Gwen’s―with an interesting and quite remunerative proposition, they two of them are all ears.
The cousin, one Lady Matheson, works for the Queen in “some capacity” and is in need of some discreet investigation. It seems that the Princess Elizabeth has developed feelings for a dashing Greek prince and a blackmail note has arrived, alluding to some potentially damaging information about said prince. Wanting to keep this out of the palace gossip circles, but also needing to find out what skeletons might lurk in the prince’s closet, the palace has quietly turned to Gwen and Iris. Without causing a stir, the two of them must now find out what secrets lurk in the prince’s past, before his engagement to the future Queen of England is announced. And there’s more at stake than the future of the Empire ―there is their potential new office that lies in the balance.
A Royal Affair will be published on July 28, 2020. You can preorder on the links below.
Last year, exactly around this time, I gushed over Allison Montclair’s debut novel, The Right Sort of Man (read my review here). Thankfully this year I’m back to gush over her new novel in the Sparks & Bainbridge Mystery series, A Royal Affair.
A Royal Affair occurs just after the previous novel and involves a mystery surrounding the British Royal family. Now, to be honest, I’m not a big Royal Family groupie, not even a small Royal Family groupie but this mystery captivated me because of the extensive research and the fact that I knew the players involved Princess Elizabeth and her beloved Prince.
Sparks and Bainbridge, complete opposites in almost every way, bring their distinctive talents to solving the mystery, Sparks with her worldly knowledge and Bainbridge with her uncanny ability to read people and know whether they are being truthful or not.
There are many other characters, some recurring, who add color and gravity.
Usually I have qualms about a novel that is told mostly in dialogue, but the dialogue furthers the story and is informative, not to mention that it’s witty and smart. And, perhaps that should be the overall description of the novel: witty and smart.
A Royal Affair won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you like historical mysteries that delve into real character motivation, offer good research, and is so well-written that you become completely immersed in the story and definitely don’t want to put it down, then this one is definitely for you. And I’ll echo last year’s sentiment: I hope Allison Montclair writes quicker!
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
4 butterflies and a ladybug out of 5 butterflies