MYSTERY

A Royal Affair

Minotaur: St. Martin’s. (Sparks & Bainbridge, Bk. 2). Jun. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9781250178398. $26.99. M
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In their second adventure set in post–World War II England (after The Right Sort of Man), The Right Sort Marriage Bureau founders Iris Sparks and Gwendolyn Bainbridge have been asked by the royal family to quietly look into the background of one of Princess Elizabeth’s suitors. Is there something shady about Philip or the way his family escaped from Greece back in 1921? Our intrepid heroines are on the case! Outside the office, Sparks navigates a possible romance with a charming gangster, while Bainbridge focuses on her mental health in order to regain custody of her young son, Ronnie. Pseudonymous author Montclair carefully reveals more about her two main characters, as their friendship strengthens and they learn to balance each other’s skills. It’s refreshing to see believable female friends in a historical mystery. Montclair doesn’t neglect secondary characters either, particularly Sparks’s loyal friend Sally and the aforementioned Ronnie.
VERDICT Fans of period mysteries by authors such as Ashley Weaver and Deanna Raybourn will appreciate this gutsy duo. [See Prepub Alert, 11/18/19.]

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