The first book is a highly original and delightfully clever crime series in which Queen Elizabeth II secretly solves crimes while carrying out her royal duties.
It is the early spring of 2016, and Queen Elizabeth is at Windsor Castle in advance of her 90th birthday celebrations. But the preparations are interrupted when a guest is found dead in one of the Castle bedrooms. The scene suggests the young Russian pianist strangled himself, but a poorly tied knot leads MI5 to suspect foul play. The Queen leaves the investigation to the professionals—until their suspicions point them in the wrong direction.
Unhappy at the case’s mishandling and concerned for her staff’s morale, the monarch decides to discreetly take matters into her own hands. With help from her Assistant Private Secretary, Rozie Oshodi, a British Nigerian and recent officer in the Royal Horse Artillery, the Queen secretly begins making inquiries. As she carries out her royal duties with her usual aplomb, no one in the Royal Household, the government, or the public knows that the resolute Elizabeth will use her keen eye, quick mind, and steady nerve to bring a murderer to justice.
SJ Bennett captures Queen Elizabeth’s voice with skill, nuance, wit, and genuine charm in this imaginative and engaging mystery that portrays Her Majesty as she’s rarely seen: kind yet worldly, decisive, cunning, and most importantly, a great judge of character.
I was very excited to read this book based on what the synopsis said. I love a good cozy mystery thriller. But unfortunately, this book fell flat for me. Though I enjoyed some parts of the book, most of the book made me feel underwhelmed and lukewarm. I liked the royal setting of this story, though. It was fascinating to see the Queen herself and the happenings in her castle.
My Issues With This Book:
• This book is very political, which makes sense since the story revolves around the Queen of England. But I’m not too fond of anything political, and I was brought out of the story every time there were some political discussions. And there were a lot of them.
• We don’t get to know the characters well. As a result, I didn’t get attached to any character or even liked any of them. The story and the characters are all so hyper-focused on the murder itself that there is no background story about the characters. If I don’t get to know them, how am I supposed to get attached to them?
• The Queen virtually doesn’t do anything to solve the crime. She plays a passive role in solving this crime while the police and her secretary do the primary investigation. This makes me furious because this book is marketed as “The Queen investigates and solves a crime.” And there wasn’t much of this in the book. I get it that the Queen is more of a secretive sleuth and doesn’t take credits, but there was no part where she actively took part in the investigation. She appears much more of a bystander.
• My biggest issue was that the mystery left me so unsatisfied. There were no plot twists, not even a mild one. It felt as if there were many loose ends and did not explain things clearly.
Overall, I liked the royalty’s grandeur in this story, but I did not enjoy my time reading this book. I was bored, and this made me feel underwhelmed and unsatisfied. I had high expectations from this book, but this book did not stand up to my expectations. Even so, I would recommend this book to beginners of the mystery genre.
My rating : 2.5 out of 5 stars.