November 7, 2023


by Rhys Bowen



Historical Fiction / Mystery

Hardcover, 304 pages

Lady Georgiana Rannoch is looking forward to her first ever turn as hostess for her house party when the festivities lead to murder.

Georgie, as she is known, back home at her estate in Eynsleigh, impatiently awaits the birth of her baby. But she has plenty to occupy her: her new chef, Pierre, has arrived from Paris, and her godfather, explorer Sir Hubert, who owns Eynsleigh, is back from his latest expedition. It's time for Georgie to throw her first house party to celebrate his return and show off her new chef. The dinner party is a smashing success. Sir Mortimer Mordred—famous author of creepy Gothic horror novels—is one of the guests. He recently purchased a nearby Elizabethan manor nearby because it has a famous poison garden. After the dinner, Sir Mortimer approaches Georgie and asks to borrow her new chef for his upcoming party, and Georgie and Darcy, her dashing husband, are invited! 

The tour of the poison garden is fascinating, as is Sir Mortimer’s laboratory. Shockingly, just after the banquet several of the guests become sick and one dies, apparently poisoned by berries from the garden. But how could this be when they all ate the same meal and the same delectable dessert? Georgie has to find the culprit to save her new chef and her own reputation—all before her bundle of joy arrives!

 Photo: © John Quin-Harkin

Dear Readers,

I’m excited to tell you about the latest book in my Royal Spyness series. The Proof of the Pudding has been one of my favorites in the series for several reasons. It's all about food, including a French chef. It’s funny—I don’t enjoy cooking that much but I love reading about cooking and delicious food for some reason. Who wouldn’t want to dream about a banquet with crab and duck and a fabulous dessert (the dessert might turn out to be not so fabulous for some people!)

The story also includes a poison garden. All the plants can kill you. I love to visit the Chelsea Physik Garden in London with my good friend Louise Penny. A section is a "poison garden" with a sign on each plant about the horrible way you would die. Fascinating.

And I was also excited to write this book as Lady Georgie is expecting a baby any moment. I was anxious to find out if it was a boy or a girl. Aren’t you? What would you guess? You’ll find out by the end of the book.

Happy Reading!

Your friend.


Book Club Recipe and Menu

In the novel, my heroine, Lady Georgiana—35th in line to the throne in 1936—acquires a French chef who becomes so popular he is invited to cook a charity dinner at Blackheart Manor—a house famous for its poison garden. Are we surprised when several guests are poisoned? Could it be the berry tart?

Here is his recipe. It’s fiddly but delicious. And I assure you no poisonous ingredients are involved!

Enjoy this fresh berry tart while you read The Proof of the Pudding, and work out who put poisonous berries into the tarts and why! 

Happy Reading,


Chef Pierre’s Berry Tart Recipe

Book Club Menu

Lady Georgiana and Mr. Darcy O’Mara Invite you to dinner at Eynsleigh Court in Sussex for the first dinner prepared by our new French chef:

*Consommé with Herbed Croutons

*Dover Sole Velouté

*Roast chicken, Roast Potatoes, Asparagus

*Tarte Tatin

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About Rhys Bowen

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