Reviews

Review of Heirs and Graces in The Season for Romance magazine:

Heirs and Graces is the seventh installment in Rhys Bowen’s utterly fabulous Royal Spyness Mystery series. It’s Agatha Christie meets P.G.  Wodehouse with a dash of Downton  Abbeythrown in for good measure, and it’s every bit as extraordinary as  its predecessors. This book grabs you with the very first sentence and then staunchly  refuses to let go. The prose is graceful yet spirited. The narrative drive is  strong. The mystery is clever, complex, and is destined to keep you guessing  thanks to its wealth of clever clues and viable suspects. And Bowen does a spectacular  job transporting readers to 1930s Britain; her descriptions of manor-house life  are vivid, and her writing has a remarkable sense of time and place.

Bowen’s character work is among the best in the genre. The  perfect blend of proper and impertinent, Georgie is a marvelous heroine for  whom you can’t help but root. Fiancé and partner-in-crime Darcy is not only a  great love interest, but a compelling character in his own right. Georgie’s flighty  actress mother, man-eating best friend, and utterly incompetent maid provide  regular doses of comic relief.  And  murder victim Cedric is so callous and self-absorbed, you’ll be rooting for his  death from the moment you make his acquaintance.

If you’re a fan of mysteries, love historical fiction, or  just like good books, give Heirs and  Graces by Rhys Bowen a try; I’ve yet to read a book of Bowen’s that I  didn’t completely and totally adore, and I, for one, can’t wait to see what  Georgie gets up to next.

Reviewed by Kat

Naughty in Nice

“Georgie’s latest adventure is charming and lighthearted as ever, though the 1930s setting carries ominous hints of the future.”– Kirkus Reviews

“It’s another delightful, unmissable installment in the Royal Spyness series. Bowen captures the cheeky humor and charm of the Lost Generation, ladling in a healthy dose of dry British wit and fundamental common sense.” – Romantic Times

“Fans of Peter Lovesey’s hilarious books transforming the future Edward VII into an unlikely sleuth will relish Bowen’s whimsical fifth Royal Spyness mystery starring Lady Georgiana Rannoch, 34th in line to the British thrown (after 2010’s Royal Blood.) Bowen successfully melds a whodunit with comedy as few contemporary writers can.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“The best part of this delicious series is the cast of characters (well known and otherwise), led, of course, by the level-headed and stiff-upper-lipped Georgiana, who tackles whatever is in front of her, be it murder or romance, with uncommon relish. A royal romp.” –Booklist

The Last Illusion:

“Winning… The gutsy Molly, who’s no prim Edwardian miss, will appeal to fans of contemporary female detectives.”
Publishers Weekly

Her Royal Spyness:

“[T]his merry first in a new cozy series from Agatha-winner Bowen introduces a delightful heroine—Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie… Quirky characters… add to the fun. Georgie’s madcap antics are certain to leave the reader eager for the next installment.”
Publishers Weekly

“*Starred Review* Bowen, the Agatha winner responsible for the popular Molly Murphy series, has come up with another winner in her new heroine, Lady Georgina… [T]he best part here is Bowen’s evocation of 1930s England. Drawing on Georgie’s diary entries, she vividly portrays what daily life between the wars was like for a modern young woman bumping up against tradition… [T]his is a smashing romp.”
Booklist

“Marvelously funny and very entertaining.”
—Meg Chittenden, Writersarereaders.com

Oh Danny Boy:

“Rhys Bowen is one of the few authors of ‘cozy’ mysteries in recent years to achieve much critical success, having been nominated for the prestigious Edgar Award in 2005. It’s clear to see why she has received that acclaim, as her new book shows.”
—David Montgomery in the Chicago Sun-Times, 9/24/06

“Though Oh Danny Boy is marketed toward cozy mystery readers, its enjoyable charm and wit will appeal to a cross-section of mystery fans.”
Baltimore Sun

“A small masterpiece in a charming series.”
Toronto Globe and Mail on Evan’s Gate

“Bowen sparkles in this clever concocted puzzler.”
Publishers Weekly on Evanly Bodies

“There is a reason Rhys Bowen gets nominated for so many awards. She’s just damn good.”
Crimespree Magazine, 6/12/06

For the Love of Mike:

“Pioneering private eye Molly Murphy’s third adventure allows both her and her author to take wing amid the seediest settings… Molly grows ever more engaging against a vibrant background of New York’s dark side at the turn of the century.”
Kirkus Reviews

“…[F]ull of the flavor of New York City at the turn of the century… The infancy of labor union struggles and women’s suffrage movements are well documented. For the Love of Mike is a well-paced and well-researched mystery novel.”
Bookreporter.com

“[A] lively period re-creation. Highly recommended.”
Library Journal

Death of Riley:

“Rhys Bowen’s wit makes Death of Riley more than equal to her award-winning first book, Murphy’s Law. The ending is a historical treat.”
—Maan Meyers, a.k.a. Martin and Annette Meyers, authors of the Dutchman series

“An evocative trip through old New York — including the poets, painters, playwrights and private investigators of Greenwich Village 1901 — in the company of Irish immigrant Molly Murphy, a spirited and appealing guide.”
—S.J. Rozan, Edgar-Winning Author of Winter and Night

“Bowen’s highly detailed picture of New York at the turn of the century is a delight.”
Kirkus Reviews

“The most pervasive character in the Molly Murphy books is New York City itself. Bowen, always a consummate professional, conveys such a strong sense of the turn-of-the-century city that you can smell it. If you don’t love New York, and Molly, when you begin, you will be the time you finish.”
—Helen Francini, Drood Review

Murphy’s Law:

“Bowen tells a phenomenal story, and it will be a real treat to see what fate has in store for Molly and Daniel.”
Romantic Times, top pick

“Perceptive and poignant writing… make us look forward to Molly’s return.”
Chicago Tribune

“Rhys Bowen launches her Molly Murphy series with the same skill that has made her five Constable Evans novels so enjoyable… Entertaining.”
Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

“Conveys a nice sense of place and period in this debut of a new historical series with its spunky, 19th century heroine.”
Publishers Weekly

Evan’s Gate:

“[P]erfectly paced, deftly choreographed… Bowen delivers an enchanting portrait of Wales with genuine, flawed characters, a modicum of humor and plenty of red herrings to keep the detective constable and the reader guessing.”
Publishers Weekly

“A fine sense of place, a compelling dual story line, and a cast of sympathetic, well-drawn characters give this small-town police procedural plenty of appeal.”
Booklist

Evan Only Knows:

“British police procedurals don’t get better than this.”
Allreaders.com

Evans to Betsy:

“Bowen deftly and humorously weaves the various plot threads into an entertaining whole. This is a series that consistently charms.”
Publishers Weekly

“A welcome addition to a charming series.”
Library Journal

Evan Can Wait:

“Lots of people write small-town mysteries, perhaps because they seem so easy to do, but few of them get it as right as Bowen does. Readers expecting hard-boiled intensity should look elsewhere, but fans of light, entertaining mysteries, with an emphasis on appealing characters and intriguing plots will be thrilled.”
—David Pitt, Booklist

“Few writers are capable of this deft combination of dark and light. This is a pitch-perfect book, which will charm you in one sentence, chill you in the next.”
—Laura Lippman, winner of the Edgar, Shamus, Anthony and Agatha Awards

“Denser and more detailed than Evan’s first four adventures, but the action is crisp, the small-town atmosphere and characters as appealing as ever. Though Evan’s superiors are as usual unimpressed, his coterie of fans will be pleased—and enlarged.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Rhys Bowen textures Evan Can Wait with a carefully wrought and emotionally powerful backstory of a Northern Welsh slate mining community enduring World War II. The past echoes into the present, giving Llanfair an expanded stage, and produces a darker and weightier book where both Constable Evans and teacher Bronwen reveal more emotional depth than hitherto seen. The brash Betsy keeps the series’ trademark humor alive as she preens and schemes to be a film star during a documentary intended to dramatize the flotation of a downed Nazi airplane. Series fans will be pleased with a maturing cast that does not discard the elements that made them fans in the first place.”
—Barbara Peters, Poisoned Pen Bookstore

“Rhys Bowen just keeps getting better. Her tiny corner of Wales is lovingly created and Constable Evans is its national treasure.”
—Margaret Maron, award-winning author

A sampling of reviews of the earlier Constable Evans books:

“A jewel of a story”
Publishers Weekly

“Satisfying as a Guinness Pint”
Booklist

“Fans of the delightful Welsh policeman Evan Evans will rejoice in his latest adventure… there’s plenty to enjoy in this well-written tale.”
Contra Costa Times

23 Responses to “Reviews”

  • ken:

    after the next two Evan Evans books I am about to read, I would have read them all. I hope the constable returns in a new mystery.
    your books are so very enjoyable, I have read all of the lady Georgiana books except naughty in nice which my library will put on hold for me when it is returned.

    • rhys:

      I’m sorry it’s taken so long to reply to you. My website has been down when my web person became ill and I’ve just now been able to access it again.
      I wish I could have better news about Evan but I don’t see any new books on the horizon. I do plan to write some short stories about him to keep us up to date.
      Best
      Rhys

  • Ellen Moir:

    You mention sending you an email but I couldn’t find an email address. Usually when I can’t find something it is my user error ..Please help me out. Thanks you. I was just introduced to your books last year and while I really enjoy Evan and Molly, I must admit the Georgie is my favorite! I’m trying to contact you on behalf of the Poway-Penasquitos branch of AAUW with a request.

  • I’ll immediately grasp your rss feed as I can’t in finding your email subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly permit me recognise so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  • Nancy Wright:

    1st of your books I’ve read,; Hush Now, Don’t You Cry, and I love your style of writing. Looking forward to more of Rhys Bowen novels.

  • susan fixman:

    Ms. Bowen- just want to say I love your books and always look forward to new ones! I just finished Hush Now, Don’t You Cry and it was excellent. As an avid reader, I am used to occasional “typos” in books but i wanted to tell you about two things that do not fall into the “typo” category. I am assuming that the publisher (and I will send them an email as well) had more to do w/this than you as it concerns the jacket of Hush Now, Don’t You Cry. (I am a big jacket reader!)
    The first paragraph on the jacket reads: “Molly Murphy, now Molly Sullivan, and her new husband, Daniel,a captain in the New York Police Department, have been invited to spend their honeymoon on the Newport, Rhode Island, estate of Alderman Brian Hanna in the spring of 1904.”
    First of all, the man’s name is HANNAN. Second of all, the story takes place beginning on OCTOBER 8, 1903 (at the top of pg. 1, chapter one) and never proceeds anywhere near 1904. (I thought at first the story began then but continued into the spring, but obviously it didn’t). You probably have already been told about these two errors, but in the event you haven’t, I thought you would want to know. Susan Fixman

  • susan fixman:

    I am guessing I have to shorten my comments?
    Two errors on jacket for Hush Now , Don’t You Cry:
    -the man’s name is Brian Hannan not Brian Hanna.
    -the story does NOT take place in the spring of 1904. The first page, ch. 1, says OCTOBER 8, 1903. The story takes place w/i a few days.

  • Claudia:

    Ms. Bowen, I happened to see your Royal Spyness books in one of my book clubs online and decided it was time to try out a new author. I am so happy that I did. On our way to the beach two weeks ago we stopped at Barnes and Noble where I bought the first two books of the series. What delightful books and characters. I finished the first quickly and am currently reading the second. I enjoy your writing style very much. Thank you for these wonderful creations of your imagination! I look forward to reading all the books in the series. I especially like books set in the era between the two world wars. I am recommending them to my friends and family.

  • Claudia:

    I just read under “News” that Her Royal Spyness is to become a movie! As I read the book, the thought came to me that it would be great as a movie, but now that it is to be, I have mixed feelings. We all create our own personal versions of your characters (Binky to me is a dead ringer for Hugh Laurie’s Bertie Wooster) but with movie stars filling those rolls we’ll have to bid farewell to our own ideas of them. That’s okay. It will be such a joy to see them come alive on the screen. Congratulations, Ms. Bowen.

  • Claudia Morris:

    Ms. Bowen, about a month ago my husband and I vacationed in South Carolina as usual where we stopped at Barnes & Noble as we drove onto the island so I could buy the first two books of your Royal Spyness series. I’m about to read the fourth book having finished the third in 2 nights time! My quest for a new author to read has been royally rewarded by your wonderful book series. I so admire your writing style. Some authors languish setting up their stories and characters, but you draw the reader in quickly and that allows more time to savor what you have written. Royal Flush seems so far to be the best in my opinion probably because it is so suspenseful. I’ve never read so fast in all my 61 years so I’m sure to finish Royal Blood just as fast. My dilemma will be should I order Naughty in Nice in hardcover so I can read it now or should I wait impatiently for the paperback version to be issued? We exchanged emails after I read Her Royal Spyness about the movie version of the book. I surely hope that works out. Personally, I would like to see some lesser known British actress play the role of Georgie and make it her own. Anyway, many, many thanks for your wonderful books. I see you as a lighthearted, romantic version of P.D. James!

    Sincerely,
    Claudia Morris
    Augusta, GA.

    • rhys:

      Naughty in Nice is out in paperback in August, if you can hang on that long. I’m so glad you’re enjoying them. They certainly are fun to write and I’m both anxious and excited to see what they do with a movie.
      It needs an A list female to carry a picture, so I’m told.

      Rhys

  • Darlene Guidi:

    Just listened to my first Rhys Bowen book “Evan Blessed” and loved it. Would like to do the entire series via audio books but they only seem to be available in the UK. Also looked for the Molly Murphy series in audio with no luck. Are there plans to bring these books to audio form?

    • rhys:

      I wish the other series were also available on audio. Unfortunately I have no say in the matter. The Evan books are available as books for the blind, if you know a seeing impaired friend who can order them for you!

  • Doris mello:

    I love the Molly Murphy Sullivan and Constable Evans series. I really enjoyed Hush Now, Don’t You Cry until I saw where you were heading. A Catholic Priest! Really we Catholics don’t have enough mud slinging as it is. I felt this was beneath you and I’m really disappointed. Doris

  • Mary Tokumaru:

    I am currently listening to my first Royal Spyness audio book (available at audible.com), and I’m loving it. I was only a few chapters in when I become convinced that you are the reincarnation of P.G. Wodehouse. I’ll have to check out the other series as well. Thanks!

  • Joni Shade:

    Love the 3 series but Molly is my favorite. l would love a prequel set in Ireland about Molly solving a mystery. l think any of the 3 series would be a great tv series. lt would be much better than what is on now.

  • Joni Shade:

    Do you hate Catholics too? Just wondered after the priest was the bad guy. Seems like we are still persecuted.

  • There may possibly be something wrong with your site links. You should have a web developer check out the site.

  • archa:

    Loved The Twelve Clues of Christmas! I listened to it on audio from Audible, And bought a copy of the book. Can the explained Christmas customs and recipes become available on your website, so that they can be printed out for those of us who purchased the audiobook>? I love all of the Her Royal Spyness mysteries! Thank you!

  • Peta:

    Hi Rhys,

    I love your Royal Spyness Series and am desperately waiting for 12 Clues of Christmas (and in anticipation for Heirs and Graces in Aug) to be available via Kindle & audible to us ‘Colonials’ down in Sunny (!) Bushfire infested Australia. At present, the only format I am able to buy is Hardcover (I have all the previous on kindle + a number as audio as well!!).
    Many Thanks
    P.S. Love your ‘Rhys Pieces’ as well!

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New Release

Naughty in Nice

“Georgie’s latest adventure is charming and lighthearted as ever, though the 1930s setting carries ominous hints of the future.”– Kirkus Reviews “It’s another delightful, unmissable installment in the Royal Spyness series. Bowen captures the cheeky humor and charm of the Lost Generation, ladling in a healthy dose of dry British wit and fundamental common sense.” – Romantic Times “Fans of Peter Lovesey’s hilarious books transforming the future Edward VII into an unlikely sleuth will relish Bowen’s whimsical fifth Royal Spyness mystery starring Lady Georgiana Rannoch, 34th in line to the British thrown (after 2010’s Royal Blood.) Bowen successfully melds a whodunit with comedy as few contemporary writers can.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review) “The best part of this delicious series is the cast of characters (well known and otherwise), led, of course, by the level-headed and stiff-upper-lipped Georgiana, who tackles whatever is in front of her, be it murder or romance, with uncommon relish. A royal romp.” –Booklist