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16520128,917 (3.81)18
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This had such an intriguing premise, with none other than the Queen of England solving a murder. I really liked the attention to detail and place. The descriptions and scenes around Windsor seemed vibrant, including the ankle high dogs. A Russian pianist is found dead the morning after a dinner party at the Castle. Rozie, the queen's newest assistant private secretary, is asked to do some unusual things. One of the best parts was when Rozie went to speak with one of her former counterparts, who detailed that yes, the queen was going to ask very strange things of her. While I have no doubt the Queen has been underestimated over the years, I had a bit of trouble believing the whole decades long sleuthing with various assistant secretary's help. But like I said, it's an unique premise, so I am glad I too the time to read it. ( )
  ethel55 | Jul 9, 2021 |
Delightful book: sharp, funny, affectionate. I read it straight through. ( )
  librorumamans | Jul 1, 2021 |
This was enough of an interesting idea that I read it in spite of not enjoying murder mysteries. However I did not feel that it was well written. The characters never quite lived up to their hype. The murder investigation was confused. ( )
  MarthaJeanne | Jun 15, 2021 |
On Her Majesty's REAL Secret Service
Review of the William Morrow paperback edition (March, 2021) of the Bonnier Zaffre hardcover original (October, 2020)

Not as subversive as Alan Bennett's delightful The Uncommon Reader (2007), but just as much fun. S.J. Bennett's (not a relation to Alan as far as I know) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is a crime solving monarch who utilizes the services of her Assistant Private Secretaries and various retired Security Guards as her Windsor Castle Irregulars to hunt down clues to solve mysteries.

The added twist is that in order to not show her hand in play she drops hints to the actual authorities in Scotland Yard or MI5 (the latter nicknamed "the Box" by the Palace) to allow them to believe they are the ones actually solving the crime. Bennett places her first Her Majesty novel on the eve of the monarch's 90th birthday in 2016, but allows for prequels by hinting that the Queen's secret crime solving goes back many decades.

Prince Philip gets several cameo appearances playing on his gruff, frank reputation but with a comfortable affection for his life long companion. The rest of the royal family are off the page for the most part, and there is only a brief swipe at Sarah Ferguson. The future problems of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are as yet an unknown on the horizon.

Trivia and Links
Her Majesty will return in A Three Dog Problem (expected publication November, 2021). The title is a nod to Sherlock Holmes in The Red-Headed League - a Sherlock Holmes Short Story (1891) where Holmes remarks to Watson that:“It is quite a three pipe problem, and I beg that you won't speak to me for fifty minutes.”The reference was later borrowed by Julian Symons for the title of his A Three-Pipe Problem (1975). ( )
  alanteder | May 30, 2021 |
This was a good book. Too many characters and names to keep track of led it to fall short of being great for me.

The premise of the book is one I really was drawn to. It's 2016 and the palace is gearing up to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthday, but she has more important and interesting things to do...namely solve the mystery surrounding the murder of a Russian artist at Windsor Castle.

Given the news swirling around the royal family recently, this felt very timely. The Queen needs to figure out who amongst her staff she can trust to help her. She has to navigate some secret channels to do the things she wants to.

I'm very appreciative to the publisher for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  julesbailey9 | Mar 18, 2021 |
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