Bowen, Rhys. Royal Blood.

NY: Berkeley, 2010.

Okay, so it’s late in 1932 and Lady Georgiana, living on tea and toast because her family’s broke and she has no way to earn a living, gets drafted by her cousin, Queen Mary, to go and represent the family at a royal wedding in a castle in Transylvania.

One of her old friends from finishing school, a Roumanian princess, is marrying a Bulgarian prince. Georgie is dutiful (and maybe she’ll get a few good meals out of it), so off she goes, into the Balkan winter. Of course, it all turns out to be much more complicated than that, with everyone being snowed in, and strange figures creeping about the castle, and the distinct possibility of vampires and werewolves. Somehow, too, her ex-actress mother is there (Georgie’s father was the late Duke of Rannoch), and her best friend, the slutty Belinda, and (of course) her heart-throb, the rather wild Darcy O’Mara, who seems to be doing something secret for His Majesty’s government. Then there’s a murder — Georgie is accumulating a good deal of experience with murders — and in order to prevent international political complications, they’ll have to try to cover the whole thing up. At least until after the wedding.

Somehow, though you know going in that this isn’t meant to be a “serious” murder mystery, this fourth entry in the series isn’t nearly as much fun as the previous three. The pace rather plods and the usually sprightly, tongue-in-cheek humor seems forced. I kept waiting for something interesting to happen. And it’s hard to accept that a no-nonsense girl like Georgiana would ever seriously consider the possibility that vampires were real, even in a spooky castle. I think it’s time to give this series a break.

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