Mystery Author Rhys Bowen's Biography

Rhys Bowen is the New York Times Bestselling Author of the Royal Spyness Series, Molly Murphy Mysteries, and Constable Evans.  Won the Agatha Best Novel Award and nominated for the Edgar Best Novel Rhys’s titles have received rave reviews around the globe.

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Bio Short



Rhys Bowen is the New York Times Bestselling Author of the Royal Spyness Series, Molly Murphy Mysteries, and Constable Evans. Won the Agatha Best Novel Award and nominated for the Edgar Best Novel Rhys’s titles have received rave reviews around the globe



Rhys currently writes two mystery series, the atmospheric Molly Murphy novels, about a feisty Irish immigrant in 1900s New York City and the funny and sexy Royal Spyness mysteries about a penniless minor royal in 1930s Britain. Her books have made bestseller lists, garnered many awards, nominations, and starred reviews. She was born in England and married into a family with historic royal connections. She now divides her time between California and Arizona.


Rhys Bowen, Long Bio:


Rhys Bowen is the New York Times Bestselling Author of the Royal Spyness Series, Molly Murphy Mysteries, and Constable Evans.  Wonthe Agatha Best Novel Award and nominated for the Edgar Best Novel Rhys’s titles have received rave reviews around the globe.


Rhys Bowen was born in Bath, England, of a family that was half Welsh, half English. She was educated at London University and then began her career with the BBC, where she became a drama studio manager. She had made up stories all her life. While working on a boring play she decided to write a play of her own. With the bravado of a 22 year old she marched into the office of the head of BBC drama and handed him the script. Two days later he summoned her and told her that they were going to produce the play..  Rhys has never looked back.


The British climate forced Rhys to escape to Australia where she worked for Australian Broadcasting before meeting her future husband, a fellow Brit who was on his way to California. So Rhys packed up again and found herself in San Francisco where she settled and has lived ever since, raising four children.


Finding nothing like the BBC in San Francisco, Rhys turned to writing children’s books under her married name, Janet Quin-Harkin. Her first picture book was an immediate success and won several awards. More picture books followed, then her agent asked her to write a book for young adults. This was a turning point in Rhys’s career. Her first young adult novel was an instant hit. By her third she was selling half a million copies. Many more popular YA novels followed until Rhys decided she had said all she wanted to say about teenage love and angst, and she turned her real love—mysteries.


The sort of books she loves to read are those with a great sense of time and place. So she considered where to set a series of her own and chose the mountains of North Wales, where she had spent many happy childhood vacations and used her grandfather’s name as her nom de plume. Constable Evan Evans was the hero of these novels that took place in a tiny fictitious village in Snowdonia. The series was well received from the start. The second book, Evan Help Us, was nominated for a Barry Award. Evan’s Gate achieved the ultimate success when it was nominated for the Edgar best novel—the highest prize in mysterydom.


But it was a chance visit to Ellis Island that made Rhys start thinking in a new direction. The spunky and not always wise Molly Murphy came into her head, fleeing from Ireland and finding herself implicated in a murder on Ellis Island in the first book, MURPHY”S LAW. This book won the Agatha Best Novel award, plus three others. Every subsequent book in the series has received awards, nominations and glowing reviews.  Book eleven, HUSH NOW, DON’T YOU CRY, was published in March 2012 and went straight to the New York Times bestseller list.


Never one to rest on her laurels Rhys reacted to the gloom and doom of real life by creating a second heroine—this one aimed to amuse. She is Lady Georgiana, 34th in line to the British throne but utterly penniless and struggling to make her own way in the cruel world of the Great Depression. Her Royal Spyness was a bestseller, nominated for many awards and instantly endeared readers to her heroine. The following books have all received award nominations. The 2011 book, Naughty in Nice started off with a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and was then nominated for an Agatha, Bruce Alexander and RT Reviews award. The audio version is also nominated for an Audie. In April 2012 it won the Agatha Award for best historical mystery.

Rhys is listed in Who’s Who in America under her married name, Janet Quin-Harkin

As well as novels Rhys has written many short stories, including an Anthony winner. She is an ex chapter president of Mystery Writers of America. When not writing she loves to travel, sing, hike, paint, play her Celtic harp and spoil her grandchildren.



Bio: Medium


Rhys Bowen is the New York Times Bestselling Author of the Royal Spyness Series, Molly Murphy Mysteries, and Constable Evans.  Winner of the Agatha Best Novel Award and nominated for the Edgar Best Novel Rhys’s titles have received rave reviews around the globe


Rhys Bowen is a transplanted Brit who now divides her time between California and Arizona where she goes to escape the harsh California winters. She has been a professional writer all her life, moving from plays with the BBC in London, to books for children and young adults and finally to her real love, mysteries.


She began her mystery career with the Constable Evans series, set in her mother’s family’s native Wales, and has since moved on to two spunky heroines: Molly Murphy whose stories take place in 1900s New York City and Lady Georgiana, the penniless minor royal in 1930s England, whose Royal Spyness stories have become best sellers.


Rhys’s books have so far garnered 11 major awards out of 25 nominations.


Rhys also writes award-winning short stories when she can find the time to breathe. She enjoys touring for her books and meeting fans around the country.

51 Responses to “Bio”

  • Dear Rhys Bowen,

    I just LOVE your mysteries, particularly the ones with Lady Georgiana. The Molly Murphy mysteries–my favorites are “In Like Flynn”, For The Love of Mike”, Bless the Bride”.
    Constable Evans is great also. You are a wonderful mystery writer. And I look forward to reading all your new books.

    • rhys:

      Sorry I’ve taken so long to reply to this. My webdesigner has been sick and the site has been stuck in limbo since October. I’m gradually recovering it.
      I’m so glad you are enjoying my books. Thank you,
      Rhys Bowen

  • Hello Ms. Bowen,

    My name is Salli Slaughter and I am a partner in a project called The Authors Road (my husband, George Mason is the other partner). We are interviewing authors in America, filming the interviews and posting them as audio/video on our website. We are heading into the Bay Area tomorrow, and will be in the area about a month. We are hoping we can interview you while we are there.

    Our interviews usually take one to two hours (depending on how much fun we are having) and the interviewee gets to review the webpage and interview before it goes live to make corrections, approve or disapprove. Our basic questions are these:

    1. Is there a specific time or event in your life when you knew you were, or wanted to become a writer?

    2. Who were your earliest influences as a writer?

    3. What is your writing regimen? Where, when and how – and has it changed over the years?

    4. Has technology changed the way you write? If so, how? Do you use social
    media? Do you foresee other technology that will change your process?

    5. In your opinion, what does the future hold for American writers? Will the ability to self-publish electronically (cheaply) be a good change for writers and/or readers? What about instant access to research, publishing, critique, social circles?

    6. Any words of wisdom for prospective writers?

    I have to say that I just finished “Her Royal Spyness” and it was just what the doctor ordered after downsizing to a 27 ft RV and a 8′x10′ storage unit from a nearly 3,000 sq ft house a few weeks ago. I just devoured it and can hardly wait to pass it along to my sister in SF. I’m ordering more of your books from Powells in Portland where I used to work.

    Just a little more to the pitch – Hallie Ephron and I have become friends over years at the Willamette Writers Conference and I’ll be part of her blog on Dec. 5th. And . . . I am half Welsh myself (my father used to tell us that we were Irish, but when told that we are in fact Welsh after doing some research, he just shrugged his shoulders and said, “Well, the whisky tastes the same.” ) Still working on understanding all those consonants.

    Our website is
    phone: 503.310.1290

    I am not on email every day (still working out the details of our communication system as we move from place to place in our RV), but I am on at least every other day.

    Thanks for considering my request.


    Salli Slaughter

  • Dawn Streeter:


    Just a note to let you know I’m hooked on the Spyness series.
    I picked up Royal Blood at the library and read in one sitting.
    I then went out to purchase the set from the beginning.

    I’m wating for Naughty in Nice in paperback.
    Keep them coming.

    • rhys:

      Sorry it’s taken so long to reply, Dawn. My website has been down while my web person was sick.
      I’m delighted you’re enjoying the books and I will keep them coming!


  • Kathleen:

    Do you have a newsletter, I just discovered your Molly Murphy series. Loved it and have read all of the books, but want to make sure I know when your next book is coming out. Thanks

    • rhys:

      I’m so sorry it took so long to reply. My webmistress was rebuilding the site and became sick, so everything was put on hold until now.
      Yes, I have a newsletter and I’m happy to add you to the list. I’m so glad you’re enjoying my books.
      Rhys Bowen

  • I love Molly Murphy, have read most. I have a question–Did you know Wally Henshaw of San Diago or did you pick the name some other way for the steward in In Dublin’s Fair City? My husband and I were friends for years of Wally and his wife andher family. Sheila Pitkin,Corinth, N.Y.

    • rhys:

      I make up all of the names of my characters and it’s surprising how often I get a letter like yours telling me I have used someone’s name!
      I’m so glad you’re enjoying the books!

  • Sarah Priestley:

    Hello Ms. Bowen! I have just finished Naughty in Nice–loved it! The only thing is, I am troubled by the lines Georgie receives in the note at the end. I don’t want to give anything away about the ending, but I have some unanswered questions about it. If I can email you my questions, that would be great! Thanks!

  • m justice:

    I find your Molly Murphy and Lady Georgiana series engaging and charming.
    Regarding your writing, however, I am puzzled that you begin many conversational sentences of the Molly Murphy and Lady Georgiana period with the word SO.

    I grew up in the 1930’s and 40’s and do not remember the word SO being use in the vernacular way that has been used in conversation in these recent 2000’s.

    Best Wishes for your continued imaginative and creative writing. M Justice

  • Randy Shipp:

    Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the latest “Naughty in Nice” … just happened to watch “The King’s Speech” a couple days before so I had a greater sense of who some of the people were, putting faces to the names. What fun!

  • Christine Mendoza:

    I started reading Naughty in Nice and to the part when the Queen discusses “That Woman” with Lady Georgie just as an interview with Madonna began on the TV in the background. Madonna was detailing her new movie W.E. about that woman herself, Wallis-Simpson. Madonna wanted to show the world how misunderstood Simpson was. I had to laugh! It was perfect timing!
    Having finished the book, I can say I loved the addition of Coco! I look forward to Lady Georgie’s next adventure in one of her new dresses!

  • June Edwards:

    Love your constable Evans books. Found some of the American spelling annoying. Never had hot welshcakes with jam and cream. At his wedding the bridesmaids would not have gone done the aisle first. Is this another American custom?

    • rhys:

      June, I have probably lived in America too long, so I slip up on things like bridesmaids going first. However I have to tell you that I have noticed weddings in UK are now adopting more US customs, like evening dress style gowns, strapless, for the attendants and several groomsmen. Welshcakes? They are so much better with jam and cream rather than just sugar. After all, they are a type of scone, aren’t they?

  • Rosaria Colangelo:

    Dear Rhys Bowen; Thank you for your wonderful book NAUGHTY BUT NICE


  • Mary Culpin:

    I have read all of the Royal Spyness books. I was introduced to them by a recommendation written by Jacqueline Winspear.
    Now the first in the series is the selection for our book club next month. I know they will really enjoy it.

    Mary Culpin

  • Melissa:

    Hi, I’ve read every one of your books and just wanted to know how much I appreciate your writing. I remember day in particular when I read three of the Lady Georgiana books in one day, because I just couldn’t put them down! I’m really looking forward to the next instalment.

    Thank you!

    Melissa Jones

  • Frank Butterfield:

    I didn’t realize until last night that I’ve been waiting all my life to read about a Bavarian princess whose English is formed by watching American gangster movies. I had a hard time reading as I kept laughing and laughing.

    Also, thanks to the movie The King’s Speech, I have a perfect image of Queen Mary every time she shows up.

    I found A Royal Pain at Bank of Books on Main St in Ventura and now plan to head over to Mysteries To Die For to scoop up as many of your titles as I can get my hands on. And I’m looking forward to you appearance there next Friday.

    So happy to have found your books! Thanks for the delightful reads!!

    Frank Butterfield

  • Nancy Hoca:

    I have just read “Murphy’s Law”. (I know that it’s been out for over ten years, but as I live in France I read English-language books when I manage to come across them, which is usually not when they are hot off the press.)

    I enjoyed the book very much, but I have one little question. On page171 when you have Molly say, “Je parle Française très bien” instead of “Je parle français très bien”, is it a deliberate mistake to show that her French is a bit limited, or is it a slip-up in transcription or typesetting?


    • rhys:

      It was a mistake in the typesetting. I speak good French and should have picked this up during the proof reading–except I’m a terrible proof reader!

  • I have truly enjoyed your Royal Spyness series and would like to know when book number 6 for this series is to come out. This is a heavy hint for a new one, please.

  • Anne Lewis:

    alas have just read latest Spyness and Molly Murphy – can hardly wait till next out, do I have very long to wait? Oh what shall I do in the meantime (apart from go back to the beginnings again)? Hope you can find some writing time between all your hobbies!


  • Diane Klechefski:

    Sorry to hear of your accident at Malice. Missed your witty comments during interviews and panels.
    I wish you an amazingly speedy recovery.

  • mary ann:

    You are a great writer. Some of the best mystries I have ever read.
    Hope to read all of your books, I love them.

  • Maureen Lechwar:

    I am reading Hush Don’t You Cry. I have read everyone of your Molly Murphy books and have enjoyed them immensely. My mother was of Irish heritage (3 grandparents born in Ireland and 1 in USA) and my dad (first generation Polish American) was raised by Irish American nuns to it was like growing up in an Irish home. My dad adored anyone Irish heritage and preferred all things Irish (including his music).

    Your stories struck a chord with me because my great grandfather, John Joseph Smith, was a New York City policeman. He eventually left the job because he was arresting too many Irish and placing them in the infamous “paddy wagons.” As a history major in college, I preferred American history and your accuracy in telling these stories intrigues me. Of course, placing your heroine in NYC near the Hudson and environs reminds me of my childhood on Long Island and upper NYS.

    You included Toora Loora Loora, the lullaby that my parents sang to me at bedtime. To this day, hearing that song still makes me sleepy.

    Thank you, Rhys Bowen, thank you, thank you. I love the series but I am particularly enthralled with this latest book.

  • HELLO….your EVAN series…someone came in the bookstore looking for a few of the EVAN titles,…they seem to be out of print why? how can i get them for her? please let me know..DAVID

  • Claudia Aldrich:

    I have recently discovered you and your wonderful stories. I am reading all three of your series and loving every page of each one. You have a wonderful sense of people and humor and I can visualize beautifully as I read. As it only takes me two to three days to inhale one of your books, I’m rapidly catching up with everything you’ve written. I certainly hope you have been busy writing so I’m not forced to suffer Bowden withdrawal!

    Thank you for the gift of your wonderful stories.


  • Elaine:

    I so miss your Evan Evans series. Any chance there will be more? Also love the Spyness series.

  • Jennifer Dillon:

    I have just finished reading Hush Now’ and just had to tell you how very much I enjoyed it. It would make a fantastic series for TV! Has anyone approached you about this?

    If not chase it up!!!

  • Chris Tilenni:

    Ms. Bowen,
    I am new to your works, but WOW! I’ve collected a lot of authors in my
    life and enjoyed many, Perry, Agatha, Grafton, etc. Loved Aunt Dimity and
    many others BUT nothing has been as utterly wonderful as Lady Georgianna.
    I found her in a used book store one day; read it the next and off to the
    bookstore I went to purchase the rest. Am reading Naughty in Nice now.

    I thank you for all your hard work and talent that has given me many moments
    of pure pleasure. It has been a blast. Now I’m off to get Molly Murphy;
    after all I am Irish. Sincerely, Chris Tilenni Ohio

  • Arliss:

    love your books!
    PLEASE tell me how to say Rhys.
    Rise,Riss, ?
    I have no Welsh background.
    Thanks, Arliss

  • Lisa Larsen:

    Was looking for a good ebook mystery for my nook and saw Murphy’s Law. It’s wonderful and kept me wanting more.
    So I’m now reading Evans Above and A Royal Pain!!! Love, love, love your work. Lots of drama, suspense, and action.
    Keep writing!!! We’ll keep reading!
    Lisa Larsen

  • Kim Hadfield:

    Ms. Bowen, my husband bought me an e-book last Christmas.( As an avid book reader all my life, I thought I would never give up good old fashioned paperbacks.) My favorite genre has always been historical fiction, (which sometimes left me limited when looking for a new book to read). I recently discovered your books and “history mysteries” and have fallen in love with a whole new feast of books to read. I have been reading both your Molly Murphy and Lady Georgiana series. I have fallen in love with my e-book because I can finish one book and immediatly download the next and keep on reading! My only complaint…. I am so hooked on them I can’t get any work done around the house! Who wants to do dishes when your heroine is about to solve her case! Thank you very much for such fun entertainment. I look forward to reading even more of your delightful series. Happy Writing! Kim

  • Philip Blacker:

    Dear Rhys
    I loved the latest Evan Evans book I read – Evan Only Knows.
    From about the time I was 4 until about 12 we spent every vacation staying with neighbor’s sister in a house on Oystermouth Road. The house was just opposite the jail’s main gate. In the evenings after we had gone to bed, when we heard the Mumbles Train coming we would try and guess if it was going Up to the Mumbles or Down to the Docks. The house is gone now and I am sorry to say, so is the Mumbles Train. But my memories of both will live on forever.
    Thank you for the story.
    Phil Blacker

  • Angharad Taylor:

    Today while watching New Day NW, I discovered you, author Rhys Bowen. Suspecting you might have Welsh connections, I went on-line and was delighted to read your bio. I was born and raised in Wales and miss the traditions of a simple Christmas too:)
    Can’t wait to start reading your books!

  • Nancy Gard:

    What a treat! While browsing through the Evans series (and hoping to find a new one) I came across the Royal Spyness series. I have recommended them to all my friends and fellow readers. Already have read three and haunting the libraries for more.

    Thank you for this new series

  • Dear Ms. Bowen, I have just discovered you through “Death of Riley” and shall be ordering more of your books. I love the way you write. Rich characters and heavy on plot.

    I am an author, playwright, and blogger and have a series of interviews (with other authors) on my blog. I am inviting my favorite authors to participate.

    There is no ‘catch’ or ‘strings’. Since my site’s sole focus is on the art of writing I try to think of blogs that my readers would enjoy. My slant for the Q&A is casual and intimate; behind the scenes. (Sample questions:) What are your rituals when you sit down to write? What inspires you? Where do you write?

    Would you consider being interviewed? It is as simple as an email with a Q&A sheet. And of course a plug for your books and a link to your web site.
    Thank you in advance for considering this.
    Best regards…and Happy New Year! Trish

  • marilyn stanley:

    Love your stories. Poor Georgie! I just bought a book from Amazon and realized I had already read it in a copy from the library. AS I to;d the daughter of Wendy Hornsby, I am adding to your inheritance. I guess that is true of your 4. Keep up the good works and thank you. I am not a very envious person but have enjoyed books all my life and am envious of authors!

  • Mary Ann:

    Love your books, couldtnt put down your Christmas book. You are great!

  • donna heath:

    As a volunteer for my towns’ library I sort books for the yearly book sale and came across Welsh by John T. Bowen & T.J. Rhys Jones. I recalled that you got your pen name by using your grandfather’s name, but wondered if you had used a combination of these author’s names. Which one is your grandfather? I love and have read all your books. Write faster!!! Py Russell-Heath author of The Forfeit,

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