Friday, August 7, 2020

Rhys Bowen Interview - The Last Mrs. Summers

Photo Content from Rhys Bowen

Rhys Bowen is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of two historical mystery series as well as three internationally bestselling stand alone novels. Her books have won multiple awards and been translated into over twenty languages. A transplanted Brit, Rhys now divides her time between California and Arizona, where she escapes from those harsh California winters.


What inspired you to pen THE LAST MRS. SUMMERS?
Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca was one of the first suspense novels I ever read and it has haunted me for my whole life. When I was considering where to send my heroine, Lady Georgie, next I thought Cornwall, which I know so well, and a house like Manderley would make a fabulous story.

Tell us your latest news.
I’m hunkering down during the pandemic, about to start writing my 15th Royal Spyness novel which will be a Christimas book. I have just completed a big stand-alone historical novel set in Venice.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
The ladies of the Golden Age hooked me on mysteries early on. But I also loved the light hearted social commentaries of Nancy Mitford, the capers of P.G Wodehouse.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Winning my first Agatha Award was really special (I now have four) but I think being #1 on Kindle and #1 in Author Rank could not get much better. However, I can think of a different sort of satisfaction. I received a note from a reader who said that she was sitting in her car while her home was flooded in a hurricane and it was only my books that kept her sane throughout the night. I’ve had other readers tell me my books have got them through chemotherapy, death of a loved one etc. Somehow they mean more than awards.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
This is such fun! I can’t put it down.

Tell us about your newest book, THE LAST MRS. SUMMERS (Royal Spyness #14).
Georgie’s friend Belinda has inherited a property in Cornwall. They drive together to inspect it. It turns out to be a derelict fishing cottage where they can’t stay but they run into an old acquaintance of Belinda and are invited to stay at Trewoma—a magnificent if brooding house on the cliffs. They sense, immediately, that this was not a good idea. There is an atmosphere to the house, a very scary housekeeper and the owner’s last wife died in mysterious circumstances. The current Mrs. Summers is so nervous and when someone dies Belinda is the prime suspect. Can Georgie save her friend?

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
I’m a professional writer who has written 45 mystery novels as well as other works of fiction. It is my day job. I write until the book is written. The only distraction is looking at my own photos of Cornwall, where we spend part of every summer and wishing I was there.

Which of your characters do you feel has grown the most since book one and in what way have they changed?
Lady Georgie has grown up so much. She was naïve, not self confident or worldly at the start of the series, but now she is a married woman, with a handsome husband and has inherited a large property. Her whole life has changed. And having solved a few murders along the way she has developed powers of observation and deduction as well as a more suspicious nature.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I’d like Georgie to meet Lord Peter Whimsey and Harriet Vane. They are from the same social background and I think they’d hit it off as fellow sleuths.

What was the best memory you ever had as a writer?
Being presented with my first Agatha Award.

A sense of place is one thing that sets my books apart. I only write about places I know well. I don’t believe a writer can do justice to a place they have only read about or passed through quickly. I have always loved to travel, having crossed Europe on my own at 14 and travelled extensively ever since. So writing about favorite places is a joy for me as I relive experiences.

Lady Georgie comes from Scotland (which is rather bleak in my books) but has experienced London (always a joy to revisit), as well as in the English countryside, and in an Irish castle. A country house in Devon (where my father comes from), a villa in Stresa, one of my favorite places in the Italian Lakes, another villa in Nice—another favorite place and I’ve also set books in Tuscany (where I have taught a writing workshop twice), Paris—who wouldn’t want to set a book in Paris? And lastly a book set in San Francisco, near where I live, although at the time of the Great Earthquake, which wasn’t such a fun time to be there!

Georgie is just back from her honeymoon with Darcy when a friend in need pulls her into a du Maurier-like murder in this all-new installment in the New York Times bestselling Royal Spyness series from Rhys Bowen!

Georgie's best friend, Belinda, inherits a spooky old house in Cornwall and asks Georgie to go with her to inspect the property. When they arrive, they meet Rose, a woman Belinda knew as a child when she spent her summers with her grandmother in Cornwall. Belinda never liked Rose, who has always been bossy and a bit of a bully, but when Belinda's house proves to be uninhabitable, Rose invites them to stay with her.

Rose is now married to Tony Summers, Belinda's childhood crush, and lives in the lovely house on the cliffs that he has inherited. Rose confides that she thinks Tony killed his first wife and now she is afraid. She asks Georgie and Belinda to observe Tony's behavior and their surroundings. Is Rose imagining things? Is Tony dangerous? In their quest for answers, they encounter a creepy housekeeper, Mrs. Manners, and learn that some kind of forgotten tragedy occurred on the property years ago involving them all.

There is a lot of strange to go around and things only get weirder--and deadlier--when one night a member of the household is found dead. All clues point to Belinda as the prime suspect. Now Georgie must uncover some long buried secrets that may prove the victim was really a villain before Belinda takes the fall for the murder.

You can purchase The Last Mrs. Summers at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you RHYS BOWEN for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Last Mrs. Summers (Royal Spyness #14) by Rhys Bowen.


  1. I take care of 8 outdoor cats and 2 indoor cats. Thank you

  2. I name every single bunny in my yard BunBun.

  3. I can sign.

    I have just finished reading THE TWELVE CLUES OF CHRISTMAS. I love Rhys Bowen's books.

  4. "Tell me something about you that most people don't know." I love England, I love France.

  5. I do stain glass and play the piano

  6. I have to have a foot out of the covers to sleep

  7. I'm pretty reserved so there is a lot people don't know about me. People don't know that I once tracked a black bear....and found it. That was scary! I was just a kid and was imagining myself a great tracker. I didn't tell because I didn't want to lose the privilege of wandering in the woods.

  8. I don't wear watches because I hate them. Don't know why.