Tyler Whittle is the author of an amusing, occasionally moving, three-volume fictionalized biography of Queen Victoria, who, in spite of her institutionalized stodginess--as formal as her portrait on Bombay gin--was never dull. Her son Edward VII, however, most decidedly was. In this painstaking season-by-season account, Edward wearily wheezes through duties (minimal) and pleasures between restorative visits to the spas. Whittle has no choice but to march stolidly along, his usually agreeable prose flattened by the sheer weight of Edward's deadening personality. Even the gustatory and amatory diversions seem a chore. Whittle seems more at home with the women--particularly Queen Alix, here not the sainted mother but a neurotic whiner, and sprightly Aunt Augusta, brought to England for protocol emergencies and to straighten out Alix. Amid all the troubles caused by the Parliamentary Laborites, the Irish nationalists, Lloyd George's radicals, not to mention foreign turmoil and the King's nephew--the impossible Kaiser, Edward appears as a dutiful, even likable bear of--regrettably--very little brain. Re the famous affairs, Whittle is unusually discreet (the book is dedicated to the descendant of ""one of King Edward's steadier friends"") and there is just that one mention of a velvet-covered barber chair used in Paris for the act of love.