Peril in Paris

by Rhys Bowen
Berkley, November 2022, $27

In Rhys Bowen’s 16th Royal Spyness caper starring Lady Georgiana Rannoch and her husband Darcy O’Mara, it’s 1936. The happy couple are expecting a baby and to celebrate the end of Georgie’s morning sickness, Darcy suggests they go to Paris. He has some business (she suspects spy business) to attend to and she can visit her dear friend Belinda who apprentices as a designer with Coco Chanel.

When Darcy learns that wives of a German trade delegation will be attending Chanel’s fashion show, he asks Georgie to retrieve something from one of the women. It sounds easy, but things go terribly awry and suddenly Darcy is nowhere in sight and Georgie finds herself alone and on the wrong side of the law accused of murder.

For such a long-running series, Bowen keeps the plot fresh and intriguing with the happenings in Europe in 1936. Georgie, the star of the show, is a delight: smart, strong yet feminine, and particularly vulnerable this time out, being pregnant. That doesn’t stop her from once again sticking her nose where it shouldn’t be, though.

Readers will have plenty of suspects, but will have a hard time guessing whodunit. and the characters (many of historical importance) are all fantastic. The Parisian backdrops are wonderful and the behind-the-scenes frenzy at Chanel’s show is exciting. And although the mystery is specific to the novel, reading the series in order is best.

Debbie Haupt
Teri Duerr
November 2022