There is no getting around that these books are the very definition of cozy; they're also charming in a way that endears them to even a thoroughly unromantic soul such as mine. And while the focus of the series is an overall sweetness and innocence, Bowen occasionally slips edgier tragedies in that makes them all the more heartbreaking. I think Bowen manages to capture perfectly a certain naiveté at a time in history when the world was at a tipping point, before everyone found out how truly evil humanity can be.
This eleventh book is a good example of this, even though the mystery itself wasn't quite as finely crafted as some of her others. Anyone who has read the series will be thoroughly at home with Georgie and Belinda (another one!), Darcy and Fig. And Queenie was left behind in this one - YAY! This time Georgie is in Mussolini's Italy and there are dodgy goings-on at a house party the Queen has sent Georgie to, in order to spy on her son and that hussy Wallis Simpson.
I guessed the murderer early on (too much page time) but the story never failed to keep me amused, and there was a scene between Georgie and a German soldier that purely broke my heart for it's sweetness and naiveté.
The ending for Belinda's story line was just way too convenient, in the way these story lines always are, but in spite of that, I'm happy to see it wrapped up and I'm looking forward to the next book - may the fates keep Bowen from turning it into a wedding-in-peril story.