Saturday, 14 November 2020

A Royal Affair

Finished November 11 
A Royal Affair by Allison Montclair


This is the second book in a mystery series, but I have not yet the first one. The two characters at the centre of the book are Iris Sparks and Gwendolyn Bainbridge. The two women work together to own and run The Right Sort of Marriage Bureau. Iris Sparks worked in an unidentified, but hush-hush manner in the war, and has a bit of a disreputable reputation in some of the "right circles" for some of her improper romantic experiences. She is also a Cambridge graduate. She is currently in the initial stages of a relationship with a mobster. Gwen Bainbridge is a war widow with a young son, Ronnie. She had a breakdown following the loss of her husband, which necessitated a stay in an institution. She is living with her in-laws and struggling for custody of her son. Gwen is of the upper class, came out, and has all the right connections, but her breakdown has made her former acquaintances slightly wary of her. 
The story is set in 1946.One of Gwen's cousin's, Lady Patience Matheson works for the Queen and has come to them on a delicate matter. A threatening letter was sent to Princess Elizabeth regarding one of her suitors, Prince Philip. Matheson asks Gwen and Iris to look into it and see if they can clear things up. With a case of attempted blackmail, at least one dead body, and a few Greeks involved, the two women look into the situation, but find that it is much more dangerous than it seemed at first.
The office of The Right Sort of Marriage Bureau is quite small and they are hoping to expand to the empty office next door, which comes with some lovely desks, but need more funds to make it work. This could be the opportunity they need, if all goes well. As they handle this unusual request, they also continue to match couples for the agency, and encounter some interesting personal situations. 
I like both the characters, women working in a world that didn't see a lot of independent women, and smart ones at that. There is some very good humour, and some suspenseful scenes. A great read.

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