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She may be thirty-fifth in line for the throne, but Lady Georgiana Rannoch cannot wait to ring in the New Year—before a Christmas killer wrings another neck…   On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me—well, actually, my true love, Darcy O’Mara, is spending a feliz navidad tramping around South America. Meanwhile Mummy is holed up in a tiny village called Tidd She may be thirty-fifth in line for the throne, but Lady Georgiana Rannoch cannot wait to ring in the New Year—before a Christmas killer wrings another neck…   On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me—well, actually, my true love, Darcy O’Mara, is spending a feliz navidad tramping around South America. Meanwhile Mummy is holed up in a tiny village called Tiddleton-under-Lovey with that droll Noel Coward! And I’m snowed in at Castle Rannoch with my bumbling brother, Binky, and sourpuss sister-in-law, Fig.   So it’s a miracle when I contrive to land a position as hostess to a posh holiday party in Tiddleton. The village is like something out of A Christmas Carol! But no sooner have I arrived than a neighborhood nuisance, a fellow named Freddie, falls out of a tree dead.  On my second day, another so-called accident results in a death – and there’s yet another on my third.  Perhaps a recent prison break could have something to do with it…that, or a long-standing witch’s curse. But after Darcy shows up beneath the mistletoe, anything could be possible in this wicked wonderland. Includes an English Christmas companion, full of holiday recipes, games, and more!


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She may be thirty-fifth in line for the throne, but Lady Georgiana Rannoch cannot wait to ring in the New Year—before a Christmas killer wrings another neck…   On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me—well, actually, my true love, Darcy O’Mara, is spending a feliz navidad tramping around South America. Meanwhile Mummy is holed up in a tiny village called Tidd She may be thirty-fifth in line for the throne, but Lady Georgiana Rannoch cannot wait to ring in the New Year—before a Christmas killer wrings another neck…   On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me—well, actually, my true love, Darcy O’Mara, is spending a feliz navidad tramping around South America. Meanwhile Mummy is holed up in a tiny village called Tiddleton-under-Lovey with that droll Noel Coward! And I’m snowed in at Castle Rannoch with my bumbling brother, Binky, and sourpuss sister-in-law, Fig.   So it’s a miracle when I contrive to land a position as hostess to a posh holiday party in Tiddleton. The village is like something out of A Christmas Carol! But no sooner have I arrived than a neighborhood nuisance, a fellow named Freddie, falls out of a tree dead.  On my second day, another so-called accident results in a death – and there’s yet another on my third.  Perhaps a recent prison break could have something to do with it…that, or a long-standing witch’s curse. But after Darcy shows up beneath the mistletoe, anything could be possible in this wicked wonderland. Includes an English Christmas companion, full of holiday recipes, games, and more!

30 review for The Twelve Clues of Christmas

  1. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    Oh my, what can I say about The Twelve Clues of Christmas without sounding like a complete and utter fangirl? Rhys Bowen has really outdid herself this time – this is the perfect Christmas book for mystery aficionados and longtime fans of the Royal Spyness series will have a great deal to be happy about with the developments in this latest installment. In two words: More Darcy! After the fun, fashion and flirting of Naughty in Nice and Georgie's numerous adventures abroad, we return to England fo Oh my, what can I say about The Twelve Clues of Christmas without sounding like a complete and utter fangirl? Rhys Bowen has really outdid herself this time – this is the perfect Christmas book for mystery aficionados and longtime fans of the Royal Spyness series will have a great deal to be happy about with the developments in this latest installment. In two words: More Darcy! After the fun, fashion and flirting of Naughty in Nice and Georgie's numerous adventures abroad, we return to England for a good old classic English village murder mystery when Georgie answers an ad in a newspaper to play social hostess at the Christmas party of Lady Hawse-Gorzley in the village of Tiddleton-under-Lovey. A house party composed of a spoilt American family, a countess, two very different couples, a nouveau riche family looking to move into upper-class society and a lecherous middle-aged bachelor, all stuck in a quaint village with its fair share of wild women, stern clergymen and queer old ladies – what could go wrong? It's back to the basics, and sometimes the basics are the best. The change-up from the assignments for the Queen or poverty-induced overseas travel of previous books is a delight, introducing a story that is almost Agatha Christie or Ngaio Marsh-esque in its setup, but effortlessly combined with the light-hearted fun and social antics that are the hallmark of the Royal Spyness books. The murder mystery was truly front-and-center in The Twelve Clues of Christmas, and I loved this redirection in focus. Despite having enjoyed the social considerations of the previous few books, I must admit I felt that the mystery was increasingly taking the backseat to the fun and games and the mystery fan in me winced a little. Well, there is certainly no cause for complaint here! This was everything I wanted in a cozy mystery – full of suspense, suspicious goings-on and unexpected developments. The high body count certainly helped; a body per Christmas day undoubtedly ramps up the tension and keeps the mystery firmly in focus. The only issue I had was with the pacing of these murders versus the number of clues being revealed, whether to the characters or to the audience. It was quite a time before there was even enough circumstantial "evidence" for Georgie's suspicions of foul-play to be confirmed, and this had two adverse effects. (view spoiler)[The first was that the knowledge that a murder will occur per day could only be established through sufficient precedence, considering that almost all of them were perfectly set up as unrelated, mysterious accidents. This meant that it wasn't until at least the 5th or 6th death before it was even possible to voice suspicions, and the sense of suspense and dread that had steadily built up previously dulled somewhat. Secondly, the lack of any apparent cause for suspicion leaves Georgie operating entirely on intuition – when there's nothing to investigate and no one believes they are any more than awful coincidences, it unfortunately makes our amateur detective look a bit barmy (or quite bloodthirsty) when she insists they are murders with no basis for her belief. (hide spoiler)] On the upside, the cause for the murders is really quite clever and guessing the identity of the murderer kept me occupied until the end. Fittingly, Georgie's nearest and dearest are around to take part in the festivities – her Granddad, flighty mother and her loving Darcy – and we meet a number of new characters in the house party that will hopefully provide Georgie with friendly and stalwart supporters in the future. Lord knows she'll need some, considering her destitute state and Fig's increasing hostility. And Darcy fans, rejoice! He was almost a non-entity in Naughty in Nice, but it was quite the opposite here. The wait was worth it, because Darcy really stepped up to the plate in this book; I had previously doubted the depth of his affection for Georgie and his ability to maintain his loyalty and interest, but now I doubt no longer. I have never been so happy to be proven wrong! By golly is Rhys Bowen proving that she's too good a writer to draw things out, preferring to introduce positive developments rather than allow things to stagnate. Really, The Twelve Clues of Christmas is such a little bundle of perfection that I feel like rolling back under my electric blanket with a hot cup of cocoa and rereading this all over again. It is now firmly cemented as my favourite of the series thus far. I know this sounds like a cliché, but I cannot wait to see what Book 7 will bring. Perhaps, fingers crossed, a meeting with Daddy O'Mara?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Despite the high body count in this cosy mystery, it is a perfect Christmas read. Set in the 1930s, penniless Lady Georgiana Rannoch finds herself holed up in her brother's castle in Scotland facing a bleak Christmas with her penny pinching sister in law and her boring family. Finding herself a job helping to hostess a large house party in Devon, she happily escapes to the quaint village of Tiddleton-under-Lovey. All is going well with the guests enjoying traditional Christmas fare and activitie Despite the high body count in this cosy mystery, it is a perfect Christmas read. Set in the 1930s, penniless Lady Georgiana Rannoch finds herself holed up in her brother's castle in Scotland facing a bleak Christmas with her penny pinching sister in law and her boring family. Finding herself a job helping to hostess a large house party in Devon, she happily escapes to the quaint village of Tiddleton-under-Lovey. All is going well with the guests enjoying traditional Christmas fare and activities except that villagers keep dying in a series of unrelated accidents. Ever the amateur sleuth, Georgie tries to puzzle out the connection between the deaths as the local police seem to be getting nowhere. This was a lot of fun. Mixed in with the mystery are some strange local village Christmas customs, odd people like simple Willum and Wild Sal, carolling, parlor games, some romance and all manner of food and drink to help you get in the mood for the season (recipes are included in an appendix). Although it is the sixth book in the series, it is self contained and lends itself to reading on it's own.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    This was the perfect book for the Christmas season, I enjoyed every second of this audio book and will definitely read/listen to some of the other books in the ‘Her Royal Spyness’ series. It was not the murder mystery part that I enjoyed most but the setting in an English country house in the 1930s with all those Christmas traditions and so many details about life, class and royalty was very delightful. Not to forget to mention that there was a good part of humour in there as well. I absolutely This was the perfect book for the Christmas season, I enjoyed every second of this audio book and will definitely read/listen to some of the other books in the ‘Her Royal Spyness’ series. It was not the murder mystery part that I enjoyed most but the setting in an English country house in the 1930s with all those Christmas traditions and so many details about life, class and royalty was very delightful. Not to forget to mention that there was a good part of humour in there as well. I absolutely loved it!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

    This was my first Rhys Bowen mystery. I LOVED IT! It's a historical set in the 1930's,one of my favorite eras. Remember THE THIN MAN movies? The heroine is 33rd in line to the throne but is impovrished after the 1929 crash. Great period piece and a "novel" mystery idea. If you love wit and historical detail and a good mystery, try it! This was my first Rhys Bowen mystery. I LOVED IT! It's a historical set in the 1930's,one of my favorite eras. Remember THE THIN MAN movies? The heroine is 33rd in line to the throne but is impovrished after the 1929 crash. Great period piece and a "novel" mystery idea. If you love wit and historical detail and a good mystery, try it!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Deacon Tom F

    A Clever Christmas Tale I really enjoyed this book. It was so cleverly written and entertaining. The overall plot was nothing short of genius. The characters were all tightly placed with individual qualities. I found myself relating to most, even those dripping with English satire. The book was a bit slow starter but once the engines start it roared to the finish. It was a wonderful experience and I want to read more of Ms. Bowen's works. I highly recommend A Clever Christmas Tale I really enjoyed this book. It was so cleverly written and entertaining. The overall plot was nothing short of genius. The characters were all tightly placed with individual qualities. I found myself relating to most, even those dripping with English satire. The book was a bit slow starter but once the engines start it roared to the finish. It was a wonderful experience and I want to read more of Ms. Bowen's works. I highly recommend

  6. 5 out of 5

    Veronica

    The sixth book in this delightful series sees Lady Georgiana, or Georgie for short, answer an advertisement to be a social hostess at a large house party in the country over the holidays. Desperate to escape a dull Christmas in Scotland with her stuffy sister-in-law, Georgie jumps at the chance for a friendlier atmosphere and before she knows it, she's taking the train to the quaint country village of Tiddleton-under-lovey to put her hostess skills to use. Admittedly, I lost track of who was who The sixth book in this delightful series sees Lady Georgiana, or Georgie for short, answer an advertisement to be a social hostess at a large house party in the country over the holidays. Desperate to escape a dull Christmas in Scotland with her stuffy sister-in-law, Georgie jumps at the chance for a friendlier atmosphere and before she knows it, she's taking the train to the quaint country village of Tiddleton-under-lovey to put her hostess skills to use. Admittedly, I lost track of who was who among the rather large guest list for the house party - and this installment in the series has the highest body count to date - but that didn't detract from my enjoyment of the story. Though once again in a new locale, Georgie is not without personal support as the author manages to include both Georgie's mother and grandfather in this misadventure. Best of all, the author makes up for the lack of Darcy in the last book by giving us a heaping dose of him in this one. It's still a very PG rated romance but it's sweet and showing signs of steady progress. A fun read overall!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brett

    Pure escapist fun of the best kind, this book does a beautiful job of channeling vintage Agatha Christie. The "Her Royal Spyness" series is my favorite of Bowen's, because of the way she captures the feel of Christie, only with tongue held firmly in cheek. The mystery is always a good one, but there's plenty of room for humor, too. This one is obviously set at Christmastime, & captures that perennial favorite of Golden Era mystery settings, the country house party with a house full of potentiall Pure escapist fun of the best kind, this book does a beautiful job of channeling vintage Agatha Christie. The "Her Royal Spyness" series is my favorite of Bowen's, because of the way she captures the feel of Christie, only with tongue held firmly in cheek. The mystery is always a good one, but there's plenty of room for humor, too. This one is obviously set at Christmastime, & captures that perennial favorite of Golden Era mystery settings, the country house party with a house full of potentially suspicious guests. Bowen really outdoes herself describing the traditions of British Christmases past - I think just reading the book caused me to gain weight, what with all the mince pies, sausage rolls, & various roasts. Lady Georgiana Rannoch is still trying to keep body & soul together while hiding the fact of her impecuniousness from the world. In an effort to avoid having to spend Christmas at Rannoch Castle with her sister-in-law's family making her much less than welcome, she answers an advertisement from a lady in Devon looking for a "lady of impeccable background" to help with social activities at a large Christmas house party. Initially doing it to make some money & be sure to get some good meals around the holiday, Georgie starts to enjoy herself - until the mysterious accidents start to happen. Soon, she's sure that these can't all be simply tragic coincidences, & that something way more sinister is going on. Luckily, she has both her amour, Darcy, & her beloved retired-policeman grandfather in the area to help her try to figure out just what is going on in this sleepy little village. I'll read these entertaining books as long as Bowen keeps writing them.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Suzy

    A delightful find! Her Royal Spyness mysteries have been recommended to me but this was the first that I have read, part of my 2015 holiday reading marathon. Seemingly unrelated murders are occurring daily in a small English town, Tiddleton-under-Lovey, where a diverse lot of people have gathered for the Christmas holidays. Penniless Lady Victoria Georgiana "Georgie" Charlotte Eugenie (Her Royal Spyness) is coincidentally on the scene, having been hired as a social director by the local landed g A delightful find! Her Royal Spyness mysteries have been recommended to me but this was the first that I have read, part of my 2015 holiday reading marathon. Seemingly unrelated murders are occurring daily in a small English town, Tiddleton-under-Lovey, where a diverse lot of people have gathered for the Christmas holidays. Penniless Lady Victoria Georgiana "Georgie" Charlotte Eugenie (Her Royal Spyness) is coincidentally on the scene, having been hired as a social director by the local landed gentry for their Christmas festivities. As the murders pile up, she works hard to put the clues together to prove to the local constabulary that these seeming accidental deaths are actually a series of related murders. When she isn't focused on the murders, she is busy in her role as social director and is swooning and swept up in her romance with Darcy O'Mara, also penniless and unfortunately a Catholic. Ah, horrors, her one true love is of a religion forbidden to a lady in direct lineage to the throne. Will she solve the murders? Will she marry Darcy? Tune in to The Twelve Clues of Christmas to find out. As the author says of this mystery series: "It's lighter, sexier, funnier, wicked satire." Agreed! I will seek out more from Her Royal Spyness.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    'On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me—well, actually, my true love, Darcy O’Mara, is spending a feliz navidad tramping around South America. Meanwhile Mummy is holed up in a tiny village called Tiddleton-under-Lovey with that droll Noel Coward! And I’m snowed in at Castle Rannoch with my bumbling brother, Binky, and sourpuss sister-in-law, Fig.   So it’s a miracle when I contrive to land a position as hostess to a posh holiday party in Tiddleton. The village is like something out 'On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me—well, actually, my true love, Darcy O’Mara, is spending a feliz navidad tramping around South America. Meanwhile Mummy is holed up in a tiny village called Tiddleton-under-Lovey with that droll Noel Coward! And I’m snowed in at Castle Rannoch with my bumbling brother, Binky, and sourpuss sister-in-law, Fig.   So it’s a miracle when I contrive to land a position as hostess to a posh holiday party in Tiddleton. The village is like something out of A Christmas Carol! But no sooner have I arrived than a neighborhood nuisance, a fellow named Freddie, falls out of a tree dead.  On my second day, another so-called accident results in a death – and there’s yet another on my third.  Perhaps a recent prison break could have something to do with it…that, or a long-standing witch’s curse. But after Darcy shows up beneath the mistletoe, anything could be possible in this wicked wonderland.' _________________________________ 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 stars. The Twelve Clues of Christmas  is the sixth book in Rhys Bowen's A Royal Spyness Mystery series and follows the awkwardly clumsy yet charming Lady Georgiana Rannoch. A very whimsical holiday mystery based off of the well-known carol, The 12 Days of Christmas. This is the first book that Belinda hasn't made an unexpected appearance after charming herself an invitation, which I think it was for the best. It would stretch belief if in every book Gerogie, Darcy, and Belinda always manage to appear in the same location independently where murders also happen to occur. Plus Belinda often overshadows Georgie who is more shy by nature and I wanted Georgie to have the opportunity to shine all on her own. It did seem to me that there had been some editing issues with this book. Two instances stood out to me where a character didn't  seem to remember having a specific piece of information or clue when they had recently learned of it only the chapter or so before. It wasn't a huge deal, but it did impede the sleuthing temporarily because it gave the impression of a character ignoring something obviously relevant to sorting things out with what was going on. It was sweet that Georgie was able to have her some of her family together for the holiday without the shadow of Fig hanging over her, even if they weren't all under the same roof. Georgie so often seems lonely, floating about like a shadow in the background of others' lives so it was lovely that she was able to have her favorite person nearby for the holidays. Loved the action at the end and the hint of the paranormal, that was my favorite bit of the whole book. And this book had so many victims and so many moving pieces, it was really interesting to follow the net closing in around the culprits. As much of a dear Darcy is and how much I adore his character, I was ready to slap that boy for shrugging off Georgie's concerns for as long as he did. For a man that does some covert work for England, he really was blind to an increasing body count and laundry list of clues for far too long. I found it truly shocking how dense he was in this book and his continued belief it wasn't suspicious that there were so many seeming accidents day after day was making him look quite stupid. I hope he is in better form for the next book and not so ready to brush Georgie's concerns away. She has a knack for stepping into dangerous situations, why not just automatically assume that she is always mixed up in some plot or another. Overall though, I really enjoyed The Twelve Clues of Christmas and it has been one of my favorite of the series so far. The guide  at the end of the book to traditional English holiday customs and activities was a real treat(pun intended), I'll definitely be trying my hand at some of the recipies included this holiday season. Looking forward to the next book in the series!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    3.5 Stars Perfect for Christmas time; a cosy crime story with lots of Christmas cheer (and numerous deaths ha!)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Please, do yourself a favor, run to your library or your bookstore or borrow the first book in this series from a friend and read it, you will NOT regret it. In yet another amazing installment Georgie finds herself playing hostess to a group of people from various backgrounds in a small village named Tiddleton. However, the first day she's there someone dies, and the second day another villager dies, and the third day, too. Soon people are scared for their lives wondering who could be next. But Please, do yourself a favor, run to your library or your bookstore or borrow the first book in this series from a friend and read it, you will NOT regret it. In yet another amazing installment Georgie finds herself playing hostess to a group of people from various backgrounds in a small village named Tiddleton. However, the first day she's there someone dies, and the second day another villager dies, and the third day, too. Soon people are scared for their lives wondering who could be next. But were all of these simply accidents or were they more? Georgie is determined to find out. Most of the normal, wonderful characters appeared, Georgie, Claire, Darcy, Queenie, Mrs. Huggins, and Georgie's grandfather, and we are introduced to many new characters. Georgie and Darcy's relationship takes a turn in this book and we see a lot more of him and even learn more about him. Queenie is ever hilarious with the best intentions and Georgie's grandfather is, as always, kind and helpful. The mystery in this book really shined. It completely blew me away once I recognized the pattern, and I must say that I did recognize the pattern before Georgie did, but that was the absolutely only negative part of the book. The reason for the killings was also different and unique, and it made a wonderful and different mystery that I'd read again. Overall an amazing book, the mystery, the characters, the setting, it was all stellar. The Twelve Clues of Christmas deserves 5/5 stars!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    The Twelve Clues of Christmas 4 Stars Lady Georgiana Rannoch manages to avoid spending Christmas with her idiotic brother and priggish sister-in-law by agreeing to act as hostess to a posh house party in Tiddleton-Under-Lovey. Unfortunately, things go awry early on when a young man is found dead in a tree and several others in the village die from apparent accidents. Is all of this merely coincidence or does someone have a grudge against the townsfolk? This is such a wonderfully zany series and Kat The Twelve Clues of Christmas 4 Stars Lady Georgiana Rannoch manages to avoid spending Christmas with her idiotic brother and priggish sister-in-law by agreeing to act as hostess to a posh house party in Tiddleton-Under-Lovey. Unfortunately, things go awry early on when a young man is found dead in a tree and several others in the village die from apparent accidents. Is all of this merely coincidence or does someone have a grudge against the townsfolk? This is such a wonderfully zany series and Katherine Kellgren's narration never fails to have me laughing out loud at Georgie's antics. The mystery is very entertaining with the deaths occurring in accordance with the (view spoiler)[Twelve Days of Christmas song (hide spoiler)] . That said, it takes Georgie far too long to catch on to this particular twist. Georgie and Darcy's romance is finally getting somewhere and it was good to have him front and center after his being virtually MIA in the previous book. Looking forward to them finally getting their much deserved HEA.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Renata

    Delightful and an entertaining mystery. Georgie (aka Lady Georgiana Rannach, 34th in line to the throne) definitely lands on her feet this time in her endeavor to stay someplace lovelier and warmer than her brothers lonely London townhouse over the Christmas holidays. Lots of action and a respectable Agatha Christie type of mystery. Charming descriptions of the Cotswold village and a bit of hilarity about honoring traditional English traditions for American houseguests. The ever tantalizing Darc Delightful and an entertaining mystery. Georgie (aka Lady Georgiana Rannach, 34th in line to the throne) definitely lands on her feet this time in her endeavor to stay someplace lovelier and warmer than her brothers lonely London townhouse over the Christmas holidays. Lots of action and a respectable Agatha Christie type of mystery. Charming descriptions of the Cotswold village and a bit of hilarity about honoring traditional English traditions for American houseguests. The ever tantalizing Darcy makes more than a cameo appearance. I just may make rereading this book each year one of my Christmas traditions. Okay - so I didn’t quite make it an annual tradition, but am loving the Christmas in the Cotswolds with Georgie and the best parts of her family! It just such a delicious escape reading in spite of a spate of murders. I’m finding it even more fun re-reading the mystery than I did the first time.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ali

    As I came to the end of the last week at school – I was so exhausted I needed something undemanding and cosy to read – I had been planning to read Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot’s Christmas. However I had bought The Twelve clues of Christmas on something of a whim from ebay a couple of weeks ago – and so decided to give it a try instead. I have to admit when I saw it was published by Berkley Prime Crime I had groaned slightly – because although I have read a few rather pleasant little cosy (so As I came to the end of the last week at school – I was so exhausted I needed something undemanding and cosy to read – I had been planning to read Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot’s Christmas. However I had bought The Twelve clues of Christmas on something of a whim from ebay a couple of weeks ago – and so decided to give it a try instead. I have to admit when I saw it was published by Berkley Prime Crime I had groaned slightly – because although I have read a few rather pleasant little cosy (sorry I refuse to use the z) mysteries from them I sort of see them all as a bit samey. There is absolutely no doubt that although this story (and presumably the rest of series) is set in 1930’s England among the aristocracy – the novel was written for an American cosy market. That isn’t to denigrate it at all – it is actually really rather good – one or two inappropriate Americanisms (despite the author being British) which jarred slightly – but overall lovely festive cosy reading. This is the kind of book that is just right for curling up with, with a cup of hot chocolate and a blanket. It is unashamed cosy reading – and just what I needed. Lady Georgiana Rannoch is thirty fifth in line to the throne – a cousin to the king. Unfortunately her title comes with no money – her family is impoverished, and she is fated to spend Christmas with her bumbling brother Binky and his sour wife Fig in the freezing family castle in Scotland. Unwanted by her sister-in-law – and banned from using the London house due to the cost it would incur – Georgie is not looking forward to the season at all. Georgie’s mother – an actress – who once shocked society by leaving her husband and embarking on a series of affairs – is holing up in a small Devon village with Noel Coward to work on a new play. When Georgie spots an advertisement for a lady of impeccable background to assist with the running of a Christmas house party in the very same village where her mother will be she sees it as her one chance to escape a dreary, freezing Christmas with people who don’t really want her around anyway. Accepted by Lady Hawse–Gorzley, Georgie is soon on her way to Devon, where she meets up with her mother, and grandfather (an ex-metropolitan policeman) who are staying in the village. “What in God’s name is all this weeping and wailing?” Noel Coward appeared in the doorway, wearing a striped silk dressing gown, with a long cigarette holder between his fingers and a pained expression on his handsome face. “I thought I chose this place for peace and quiet.” “There’s been a tragedy, Noel. Rosie’s uncle fell off a bridge last night and drowned.” “Ah the transience of life.” Noel gave a dramatic sigh. “Frightfully sorry to hear about your uncle, Rosie dear, but could you grieve more quietly do you think? The muse was doing splendidly until a few minutes ago, when she fluttered out of the window and simply vanished,” “Do you want me to go and look for it for you, sir? Rosie asked “some kind of pet bird is it?” Up at Gorzley Hall, Lady Hawse-Gorzley takes to Georgie right away. As they wait for the mixed bag of guests to arrive for a proper old fashioned English Christmas, Georgie learns that there has been a tragic accident at the neighbouring property resulting in a man’s death. This is the first in a series of bizarre deaths – which all at first appear to be accidents. However Georgie and her grandfather – soon start to wonder if they are really accidents at all. The local police inspector – a fairly bumbling old soul – even takes to consulting Georgie’s granddad as he tries to unravel the truth behind the deaths – which some local villagers are even putting down to a centuries old curse. When Darcy O’Mara, the man Georgie is in love with turns up at the hall, she is delighted – and draws him into the baffling mystery. This is all perfect cosy mystery fare – a country house, countryside deep in snow, a collection of charming characters (a mixture of village odd bods, toffs and cockneys ) and some baffling deaths – no gruesome descriptions of horridness though which I appreciate . The plot is pretty good – and I only began to work things out right at the very end. Yes there are some improbabilities – but so what? It actually doesn’t matter – I thoroughly enjoyed this festive mystery – and I would happily read more of this series. Incidentally this is the sixth of the series – and I don’t think it matters what order you read them in – but presumably the earlier books would fully explore Georgie’s peculiar family background.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    I was utterly enchanted by this addition to the Georgie mystery series, as it had some excellent character development, a rather devious set of murders and a most beautiful Christmas celebrations.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Marcie

    Balderdash! I wish I had discovered this book at the library a month ago, mid-December. It's perfectly charming -- a Christmas-themed parlor mystery! Set in a quaint, Dickensian English village during a fascinating time (1930s, when royals were still "royal" but dirt-poor after investing in American stock). The hostess of the holiday vacay has offered a traditional English Christmas celebration for a FEE (loved all the details of the darling practices), but the bodies just keep dropping! I say, Balderdash! I wish I had discovered this book at the library a month ago, mid-December. It's perfectly charming -- a Christmas-themed parlor mystery! Set in a quaint, Dickensian English village during a fascinating time (1930s, when royals were still "royal" but dirt-poor after investing in American stock). The hostess of the holiday vacay has offered a traditional English Christmas celebration for a FEE (loved all the details of the darling practices), but the bodies just keep dropping! I say, one each day. I would have spent my own holiday adopting the speech patterns of our intrepid, royal-girl narrator, exclaiming "Oh, bugger!" while unraveling the mystery of tangled Christmas tree lights and "Away from there, you nosy parker!" to those snooping for clues to their presents. I would have had to give everyone in my family a stupid British nickname like Bunty or Binky or Fig. There is a weird mistake in logic on page 266 -- but, who cares?! There's recipes and game descriptions in the back to recreate your own traditional English Christmas! Sometimes, I just want to read something girly and silly, and this was really fun. I just found an online Jolly Well Spoken Translator, lol. Crikey! You just jiggle in your phrase, and Bob's your uncle!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    Surprisingly good mystery which kept me guessing despite the clue of the title! It has been a while since I have read any of this series and I found this one was less silly than I had remembered.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bart

    Actual rating: 3.50

  19. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

    Clearly I am in the minority with regard to this book. I have really been enjoying this series and I looked forward to this latest entry eagerly. I had it on reserve at the library while it was still listed as "on-order". I was disapointed though and I think it is the weakest entry to date. I will leave the plot summary to the others . . . .and move on. One of the things I like about this series is that it is "cosy". I will grant you that "cosy" and "murder" together would seem to be a little cont Clearly I am in the minority with regard to this book. I have really been enjoying this series and I looked forward to this latest entry eagerly. I had it on reserve at the library while it was still listed as "on-order". I was disapointed though and I think it is the weakest entry to date. I will leave the plot summary to the others . . . .and move on. One of the things I like about this series is that it is "cosy". I will grant you that "cosy" and "murder" together would seem to be a little contradictory but those of us who like cosy mysteries manage. That said,12 murders is a little over the top. I just couldn't get past 12 murders as "cosy". In addition, Georgie witnesses several deaths which occur in a particularly gruesome way and that went way beyond my idea of cosy also. I always enjoy Georgie, her mother and her grandfather. It was good to see all of them. I also liked the premise that got Georgie to the house party and her role there. (view spoiler)[ A few more issues: 1) I don't think a heroine as smart as Georgie would agree to marry someone (that is Darcy) without knowing what mysterious work he has been doing. No way. 2) And again, I don't think someone as smart as Georgie couldn't figure out that she could renounce her claim to the throne and thereby be free to marry whom she chooses. 3) Finally, is it possible that Georgie's mother has no idea how she lives? And Georgie is so "proud" she won't say anything to her mother who is wealthy and could certainly give her a small allowance or whatever? There must be a way she receive some assistance from her mother and still retain her pride. I guess I'm getting a little cynical. (hide spoiler)] So I will continue to read this series, but I'm hopeful that the next installment will be back up to par. It is a great premise and Georgie is one of my favorite heroines!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    One of my all time favorite books. I even purchased the paperback for my grandmother for Christmas in 2013. I’m addicted to this series. I can’t listen to each book fast enough. I love the storylines, the settings, all the characters and all their crazy names. This one has more characters than usual. It also had more Darcy...yeah! The audible narrator of this series until 2017, was the extremely talented Katherine Kellgren. Her accents and voices for each character was just awesome. Her voice ma One of my all time favorite books. I even purchased the paperback for my grandmother for Christmas in 2013. I’m addicted to this series. I can’t listen to each book fast enough. I love the storylines, the settings, all the characters and all their crazy names. This one has more characters than usual. It also had more Darcy...yeah! The audible narrator of this series until 2017, was the extremely talented Katherine Kellgren. Her accents and voices for each character was just awesome. Her voice made each book even more entertaining. Unfortunately, she passed away on Jan. 10, 2018. She is truly missed.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    Absolutely delightful! A traditional English Christmas in the countryside is depicted by Rhys Bowen in this installment of her Lady Georgiana mysteries. Set in the English countryside, Georgie has fled the cold austerity of Castle Rannoch in Scotland to assist a lady with her ten day holiday house party. Of course, crime rears its ugly head and Georgie promptly jumps in to help solve the case. I really enjoyed the holiday traditions: mine pies, crackers, yule log, caroling, plum pudding, games suc Absolutely delightful! A traditional English Christmas in the countryside is depicted by Rhys Bowen in this installment of her Lady Georgiana mysteries. Set in the English countryside, Georgie has fled the cold austerity of Castle Rannoch in Scotland to assist a lady with her ten day holiday house party. Of course, crime rears its ugly head and Georgie promptly jumps in to help solve the case. I really enjoyed the holiday traditions: mine pies, crackers, yule log, caroling, plum pudding, games such as sardines and catch a stick and inside fireworks. Sparks fly between George and Darcy, also!

  22. 4 out of 5

    ✨Susan✨

    My second read of this great Christmas story and I am enjoying it more since I have read more of this series this year. It is so much better when you know and care about the characters. Still good as a stand alone.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Davie

    Sixth in the Her Royal Spyness historical mystery series revolving around Lady Georgiana and a country house Christmas in 1933 in Tiddleton-under-Lovey. My Take I do enjoy the setting Bowen has created for this series. It's a treat to read about a noble family that has fallen on hard times and the straits to which they're reduced...ooh, that sounds kind of nasty. It's not that I enjoy their "poverty" so much as it's a change from the usual billionaire romances. And it gives us an inside look at th Sixth in the Her Royal Spyness historical mystery series revolving around Lady Georgiana and a country house Christmas in 1933 in Tiddleton-under-Lovey. My Take I do enjoy the setting Bowen has created for this series. It's a treat to read about a noble family that has fallen on hard times and the straits to which they're reduced...ooh, that sounds kind of nasty. It's not that I enjoy their "poverty" so much as it's a change from the usual billionaire romances. And it gives us an inside look at the upper class with their mores and expectations. And how they cope with their change in circumstances. This story had everything going for it to be at least a "4" with its dash of Agatha Christie-ishness, but Bowen has stuck in too many silly clichés for my taste as well as a number of flopping threads that didn't add up. It's just not as funny as previous stories. The colonel's excuse still doesn't explain his lack of knowledge or seat. Oh. They can't find Mr. Barclay even though Georgie knows he'll be giving them a concert at the church. What? Was Bowen in such a hurry that she couldn't take the time to remember what she wrote? If Queenie's so sorry about barging in, why didn't she just sneak out without getting loud and obnoxious about it the night before? Its saving grace is Georgie's romancing with Darcy. Although, even here, Bowen is falling back on cliché with Georgie's whining on about his being Catholic. Duhhh. Bowen has a lovely cast of characters whom I mostly enjoy: Georgie does whine a bit about her poverty, but it's very reasonable and she is a very realistic lass; Binky cracks me up with his obtuseness (I look forward to Podge growing up just to see how his parents affect him); Fig and her family are, ohmigod, whackos; Mummy has her own intriguing lifestyle; not knowing what Darcy does keeps me cracking that book as well as to see if Georgie has figured out what's what yet; and, then there's Granddad, a rock in this stream of craziness. On the negative side, Queenie makes me nuts; she's so amazingly incompetent. I don't understand Georgie's mother. She has all this money and she does nothing for her daughter. I just don't get it. I don't get Newcombe in this, either. It's pretty rare for a cop to accept Georgie's help and he does so too easily in this story. Turns out, a number of Lady Hawse-Gorzley's guests have their own sob stories while several others may be getting hitched. For all Georgie's whining on about solving the case, she doesn't really do much. Even I could think of a number of things to check on! The Story The coming Christmas promises to be absolutely miserable with Georgie trapped in Scotland at the freezing cold Castle Rannoch, especially now that Lady Wormwood has shown up. At least until Mummy calls up to announce her celebrating Christmas in England; seems Max has to spend Christmas with his family and this isn't the time to tell his prim and proper family about his bit on the side. It starts Georgie thinking, reading, and inquiring about a position. An ad in the The Lady has Georgie hoping and praying. A prayer that's answered with Georgie and Queenie off in a rush. Seems Lady Hawse-Gorzley has guests to whom she's promised an olde fashioned English Christmas. It's a bit of a tug between the old-fashioned and the Yanks' complaining that it's not like home. The food, the parlor games, the caroling and snowball fights, the hunt, the costume ball, and the very human Lovey Chase. The lovely part of this house party is that it is very self-contained with no great emphasis on material things. They provide their own fun and games with some interaction with the village. Of course, murder for Christmas does add an unexpected thrill. Then there are the prison escapees. The sultanas in the pudding?? The Characters Lady Georgiana Rannoch, the daughter of the late Duke of Rannoch and sister to the present duke, is thirty-fifth in line to the throne (Queen Victoria was her great-grandmother). Queenie is her absolutely hopeless maid. Claire Daniels is Georgie's mother, aka The Bolter, a former actress, who is currently involved with Max Von Strohheim, a German industrialist; her father, Albert Spinks, is a retired Cockney policeman and Georgie adores him. Mrs. Huggins is granddad's next-door neighbor (Queenie is her great-niece), and she's got her eye on him. (They played butler and cook for Georgie in A Royal Pain and will be playing the same roles in this story.) Noel Coward is one of Claire's friends and she's spending Christmas writing a play with him. Binky is the Duke of Glen Garry and Rannoch. Fig, a.k.a., Hilda, is his bad-tempered duchess. Hector, a.k.a., Podge, is the son and heir and a little sister has arrived, Adelaide Gertrude Hermione Maude Rannoch. Lady Wormwood is Fig's mother, and she's worse than Fig! Matilda, a.k.a., Ducky, is Fig's sister, her husband Foggy, and their daughter Maude are coming to Scotland for Christmas (we first met them in Naughty in Nice ). Even better reasons to be anywhere but Scotland! Darcy O'Mara, is an Irish peer's heir and, Georgie speculates, a spy who has to make his own way. AND he's Catholic! Turns out Lady Hawse-Gorzley is his aunt. The Crash of 1929 has forced a number of noble families to sell off, out, or hunker down. Darcy's father has sold off the family estate and the stables and now lives in a house on his former property. The Party at Gorzley Hall in Tiddleton-under-Lovey, Devonshire Lady [Camilla] Hawse-Gorzley needs someone of rank to help her host her paying-in Christmas party; she's also a magistrate. Sir Oswald is her down-to-earth husband. Monty is the son and heir. Hortense, a.k.a., Bunty, is their daughter who's in love with Darcy. Dickson is the butler. Freddie Partridge is an obnoxious neighbor always playing pranks. Ted Grover is the local mechanic. Willum is the village idiot. Wild Sal is their local nutjob; she's said to be a descendant of the witch they burned, the one who laid the Lovey Curse. There are three spinster Ffrench-finches: Miss Effie, who rules the younger two. Miss Prendergast moved to the village some five years ago, and she's a bit of a busybody. Gladys Tripp is a telephone switchboard operator in the nearby market town of Newton Abbott. Mr. Skaggs is the butcher delivering the geese. Mr. Klein runs a jewelry shop where Georgie finds some last-minute gifts. Badger is one of Monty's friends from Oxford. Colonel Reginald and Mrs. Rathbone plan to enjoy an English Christmas on their leave from India. Mr. and Mrs. Upthorpe are coming with their daughter Ethel; he's in trade. The ugly Americans: Mr. Clyde and Mrs. Wexler with their children Cherie and Junior. The dowager Countess Albury. Locals include navy Captain and Mrs. Sechrest, Johnnie Protheroe is a letch, Major Wesley-Parker is the local master of hounds, and Mr. Barclay is the very fussy organist. Detective Inspector Harry Newcombe is on his own investigating the murders and tracking down the escapees; he's not very competent. One of the escaped convicts is Robert Robbins, a music hall entertainer put away for murder and swindling. His wife, Trixie Robbins, is said to have drowned herself. King George and Queen Mary are Lady Georgie's relatives. The Cover The cover has a chilly promise with the snow-covered landscape viewed through the tall, arched window in front of which a tuxedo-clad Darcy is having a cup of punch while Georgie is clad in a backless lilac chiffon with her own cup of cheer. Just under the white and silver picot-edged ribbon showcasing the title and the series is a punch bowl trimmed with holly. The title is the clue and there are The Twelve Clues of Christmas to help you count down.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mike Finn

    "The Twelve Clues Of Christmas" is a Christmas Cracker of a book where the prize is solving an ingenious set of Christmas-themed murders, the wrapping is a colourful evocation of a 1935 English Country House Party made all the more believable because it's being constructed for paying guests by gentry who can no longer fund their way of life, and the explosive energy comes from an engaging heroine who is instantly likeable, even though she's thirty-fifth in line to the throne. it takes talent to s "The Twelve Clues Of Christmas" is a Christmas Cracker of a book where the prize is solving an ingenious set of Christmas-themed murders, the wrapping is a colourful evocation of a 1935 English Country House Party made all the more believable because it's being constructed for paying guests by gentry who can no longer fund their way of life, and the explosive energy comes from an engaging heroine who is instantly likeable, even though she's thirty-fifth in line to the throne. it takes talent to sustain a truly light-hearted tone, especially while delivering a clever and complex plot for multiple murders and making gentle fun of the English class system. Rhys Bowen makes it look easy. The puzzle of the murders, which seem at first to be accidental deaths, is beautifully constructed. It's complex, dramatic and feels just a little far-fetched until the moment when all was revealed and I was left slapping my forehead in a "why didn't I think of that?" way while grinning at the impudence of the idea. The Country House Christmas Party, running from Christmas Eve until New Year's Day, provides the perfect setting and cast of characters to deliver both a rich suspect pool and lots of gentle humour about the nuances of the English Class system. The paying guests include an American family, a new money rich Yorkshire family who are in Trade, and a formidable Dowerger who has out-lived everyone else she might have spent Christmas with, all of whom are expecting to experience a "genuine old-fashioned English Christmas." The main energy of the book comes from our the heroine: Lady Georgiana Rannoch. She is a wonderful creation: young, penniless, well-connected but with plebian as well as royal roots, vulnerable but unable to step back from doing the right thing, even when it puts her in danger and in love with a man she may not marry and who is often absent. The story is delivered as instalments in her journal, so her personality shapes the whole tale. Fortunately, she is fun to listen to, easy to like and impossible not to root for. I strongly recommend the audiobook version. Katherine Kelligran's award-winning narration is extraordinary. She gets everything right. Her pacing enhances both the humour and the tension. She gives all her characters easy to identify voices, the accents she uses are spot on and she can even sing the Christmas Carols in a believable upper-class English voice. "The Twelve Clues Of Christmas" is the sixth book in the "Her Royal Spyness" series about Georgiana Rannoch but it can be read as a stand-alone story. Diving into this Christmas tale with no knowledge of the previous books didn't cause me any problems or expose me to any important spoilers but it did make me hungry for more so the "Her Royal Highness" books will be on my 2020 TBR pile.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    Here I go again jumping into the middle of series without an thought given to the books that came before. And guess what? It worked. This is a more or less lighthearted mystery. Lady Georgiana R is 34th err no make that 35th in the line of succession. So unless there's an epidemic or a bombing she's not going to be queen. The daughter of and now sister to an impoverished Duke has seriously curtailed any hope for fun or a happy holiday. Desperate to escape the family castle in Scotland she'll do a Here I go again jumping into the middle of series without an thought given to the books that came before. And guess what? It worked. This is a more or less lighthearted mystery. Lady Georgiana R is 34th err no make that 35th in the line of succession. So unless there's an epidemic or a bombing she's not going to be queen. The daughter of and now sister to an impoverished Duke has seriously curtailed any hope for fun or a happy holiday. Desperate to escape the family castle in Scotland she'll do anything for a Christmas invitation elsewhere. When she answers an advert in The Lady for a society girl to help out at a house party she and her incompetent ladies maid, Queenie, are off to Devon for a few hot meals and some relaxation away from the austerity of her life. But upon her arrival she stumbles onto a most suspicious death. And bodies are piling up fast; one a day. There's lots more to the book that makes it charming and readable. I have one teeny tiny nit pick in the Book the term Serial Killer is used. However "the English term and concept of serial killer are commonly attributed to former FBI Special agent Robert Ressler who used the term serial homicide in 1974 in a lecture at Police Staff Academy in Bramshill, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom."

  26. 5 out of 5

    writer...

    Exceptional, award winning narration brought this holiday story to life with unique voices and characterizations. Traditions of British and village life formed a foundation for the mysteries underway as Georgiana steps into a role as social hostess that allows her to escape the icy chill of Scotland for the holidays.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlyn Dunnett

    Overall, enjoyable. Georgie is good at figuring out most things but slips up when it comes to personal issues and is awfully trusting! That said, this was a good, fun read, especially at this time of year.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    Another enjoyable story with Georgie, Darcy and gang!

  29. 4 out of 5

    QNPoohBear

    My original review seems to have been eaten so here it is again Poor Georgie is stuck in snowy Scotland after the birth of Fig and Binky's second child. Now it's Christmas and Fig's awful family is coming and they all want Georgie out of the house and married off to some terrible prince or ANYbody. Georgie's heart belongs to the enigmatic Darcy O'Meara but they can never marry, even if he does manage to earn a respectable living, for Darcy is Catholic and Georgie is in line for the throne. Even G My original review seems to have been eaten so here it is again Poor Georgie is stuck in snowy Scotland after the birth of Fig and Binky's second child. Now it's Christmas and Fig's awful family is coming and they all want Georgie out of the house and married off to some terrible prince or ANYbody. Georgie's heart belongs to the enigmatic Darcy O'Meara but they can never marry, even if he does manage to earn a respectable living, for Darcy is Catholic and Georgie is in line for the throne. Even Georgie's other family has happy plans for the holidays: Mum is going off to some quaint Devonshire village called Tiddleton-Under-Lovey with Noel Coward and Granddad and Mrs. Huggins to serve as help. Glumly, Georgie resigns herself to a dreary Christmas in Scotland. Then a casual glance at a lady's magazine reveals the solution: a Lady Hawes-Gorsley wants a society hostess to help at a holiday party in Tiddleton-Under-Lovey. Georgie jumps at the chance. She looks forward to a traditional English country Christmas, especially once Darcy shows up and their relationship intensifies. She refuses to allow a freak accident that killed a neighbor scare her. That is, until more people end up dead - one a day during the 12 Days of Christmas. The local police don't have a clue but suspect some escaped convicts from Dartmoor. Georgie enlists the aid of Granddad to help her spot clues, but it's not going well. Will the entire village end up dead before Christmas is over? This is the very best book in the entire series. The mystery is completely unsolvable until the motive is finally revealed. I did guess at the villain, which was obvious, but Georgiana was really very clever to figure out the clues and find out the motive. I wanted to read straight through until the end to find out whodunnit but I found a good stopping point and reluctantly went to sleep. I adored the quirky English village complete with a mad woman and "village idiot". It reminded me a lot of Cranford and Emma and was perfectly English. The party guests are hilarious and really illustrate the difference between American "new money" and British aristocracy. The 12 days of Christmas customs were straight out of Dickens and the author provides recipes and parlor games in the back of the book. I love social history and Charles Dickens so I really enjoyed that aspect of the story, plus it provided a lot of comic relief. There's also the perfect amount of romance in this book. Georgie and Darcy's relationship progresses (thank goodness!) and there's some resolution there.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lizzy (Bent Bookworm)

    ~*Check out all my reviews over on The Bent Bookworm!*~ The Twelve Clues of Christmas completely rekindled my interest in this series! I was starting to debate whether or not I wanted to continue with this series after Naughty in Nice, which was lighthearted and fun but not much mystery or substance and nothing really progressed in the main plot. I’m so glad I kept reading! Book 6 was soooo much better. There was a real mystery in this one, and things kept happening at such a pace I could barely ~*Check out all my reviews over on The Bent Bookworm!*~ The Twelve Clues of Christmas completely rekindled my interest in this series! I was starting to debate whether or not I wanted to continue with this series after Naughty in Nice, which was lighthearted and fun but not much mystery or substance and nothing really progressed in the main plot. I’m so glad I kept reading! Book 6 was soooo much better. There was a real mystery in this one, and things kept happening at such a pace I could barely put it down and even though I had suspicions about the killer throughout the book I didn’t actually figure it out until about the last third. Things I Liked - Darcy had some more page time! He and Georgie seemed to work things out a little better and I liked that. - Georgie is, per usual, trying to find somewhere to live and somehow to support herself and this time instead of the queen coming through with an “assignment,” she actually finds a job that suits both herself and the royal relatives. Her mother just happens to be nearby, being her usual flighty but charming self. - The murders – yes, more than one this time – just kept coming and getting stranger and…is it weird that I really liked that? 😛 Things I Didn’t Like - Thoroughly enjoyed this one, honestly, but some of it still felt a little unrealistic and a tiny bit corny. I think it’s really hard for cozy mysteries to avoid that entirely. - Georgie, for all her talk about wishing she was more experienced in the ways of the world and envying her carefree friend Belinda, is ridiculously straitlaced. I guess I shouldn’t be expecting anything else, given how careful she is to not bring any shame to the royal family, but still. Then again, maybe her character is written that way to keep the story’s romance in the “sweet” category. If You Like… …the Amelia Peabody series, or the Maisie Dobbs series, you’ll probably enjoy the Her Royal Spyness series as well! Blog | Twitter | Bloglovin | Instagram |

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