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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
A Royal Affair

A Royal Affair

A Sparks & Bainbridge Mystery

Sparks & Bainbridge Mystery (Volume 2)

Allison Montclair

Minotaur Books


More goes wrong than could be imagined when Iris Sparks and Gwendolyn Bainbridge of The Right Sort Marriage Bureau are unexpectedly engaged to dig into the past of a suitor of a royal princess in Allison Montclair’s delightful second novel, A Royal Affair.

In London 1946, The Right Sort Marriage Bureau is just beginning to take off and the proprietors, Miss Iris Sparks and Mrs. Gwendolyn Bainbridge, are in need of a bigger office and a secretary to handle the growing demand. Unfortunately, they don't yet have the necessary means. So when a woman arrives—a cousin of Gwen's—with an interesting and quite remunerative proposition, they two of them are all ears.

The cousin, one Lady Matheson, works for the Queen in "some capacity" and is in need of some discreet investigation. It seems that the Princess Elizabeth has developed feelings for a dashing Greek prince and a blackmail note has arrived, alluding to some potentially damaging information about said prince. Wanting to keep this out of the palace gossip circles, but also needing to find out what skeletons might lurk in the prince's closet, the palace has quietly turned to Gwen and Iris. Without causing a stir, the two of them must now find out what secrets lurk in the prince's past, before his engagement to the future Queen of England is announced. And there's more at stake than the future of the Empire —there is their potential new office that lies in the balance.


“Men find me intimidating,” boomed Miss Hardiman. “That’s the problem.”

“Surely not,” Sparks protested.

“Oh, it’s been like that ever since I was little,” Miss Hardiman continued, at...

Praise for A Royal Affair

"Brava! Brava! Bravissima! ... The charming characters and twisty plot simply beg to become a screenplay. But it’ll be hard to improve on these fast-turning pages." --Historical Novel Society

"What follows mixes blackmail and murder, spies and servants, aristocrats and gangsters, all of which Montclair relates with believability, verve and dark humor. And her evolving portraits of intrepid heroines Iris and Gwen glow with originality and depth." --Fredericksburg Freelance-Star

"Stellar... Montclair successfully combines the insightful characterizations of Jacqueline Winspear with the witty banter of Hammett’s Nick and Nora Charles. Fans of the British royal family will have fun." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Here’s to the return of these formidable women, and to many more chances to enjoy their company." --BookPage

"An irresistible mix of period thrills, international intrigue, unquenchable friendship, and a royal betrothal." --Kirkus Reviews

"Written with flair and lots of snarky humor, this is great fun for British mystery fans." --Booklist


Allison Montclair

ALLISON MONTCLAIR grew up devouring hand-me-down Agatha Christie paperbacks and James Bond movies. As a result of this deplorable upbringing, Montclair became addicted to tales of crime, intrigue, and espionage. She now spends her spare time poking through the corners, nooks, and crannies of history, searching for the odd mysterious bits and transforming them into novels of her own.

Allison Montclair

Minotaur Books

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