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Death at Buckingham Palace by C. C. Benison
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Death at Buckingham Palace (1996)

by C. C. Benison

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1765101,680 (3.53)19
  1. 00
    State of the Onion (White House Chef Mysteries, No. 1) by Julie Hyzy (cbl_tn)
    cbl_tn: Both are cozy mysteries set behind the scenes at famous residences.
  2. 00
    Death was in the Picture by Linda L. Richards (jlynno84)
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Showing 5 of 5
Jane Bee, a Canadian woman, decides to travel in Europe rather than attend college. Needing some cash, she begins to apply for jobs and lands a job as a maid at Buckingham Palace. Soon a fellow countryman ends up dead, and Jane is certain that foul play is involved. The Queen is persuaded by Jane's arguments and asks her to investigate while continuing to do her job. I found the entire premise of the book a bit of a stretch of the imagination. It got off to a slow start for me, but improved. I didn't really like it well enough to purposefully add the next in the series to my reading list. If the mood strikes me, I might eventually pick up the next one but it is not a priority. ( )
  thornton37814 | Aug 11, 2015 |
When Canadian Jane Bee decided to travel rather than go to college, she had no idea she'd eventually end up as a housemaid at Buckingham Palace. Jane is on hand when the Queen trips over the body of one of the palace footmen, who was a friend of Jane's. Although it's concluded that the young man had committed suicide, Jane suspects he was murdered to prevent him from talking to the Queen. The Queen thinks so, too, and commissions Jane to quietly investigate the circumstances of the death and report back to her.

During the four years I lived in London, I occasionally dreamed about visiting the royals in Buckingham Palace. Apparently other people do this, too, and it comes up in the book, along with lots of other fun references about the royal family and the household staff. Most of the action takes place inside the palace, and the floor plans at the front of the book are a handy reference for visualizing the layout of various scenes. When Jane does venture outside the palace, she's in the parts of London that are the most familiar to me. I enjoyed following her around to places I've been. The mystery component is good, especially for a first novel. There are several characters with plausible motives and opportunity to commit the murder.

The behind-the-scenes setting in a famous residence has a similar feel to State of the Onion, the first book in Julie Hyzy's White House Chef series. Most cozy readers who like one will probably like the other. This book belongs on the wish list of all royal watching cozy readers. ( )
4 vote cbl_tn | Jul 20, 2013 |
Jane Bee, a native of Prince Edward Island, Canada, has found herself in need of funding after a solo jaunt across Europe. With ancestry that enables her to work in the United Kingdom (and a relative to stay with), she searches for a job and, much to her surprise, is hired at Buckingham Palace as a housemaid. One fall, tragedy strikes when a footman friend is found dead near the Queen's Apartments, and suicide is presumed. But Jane can't believe that verdict. And neither does the person who discovered the body -- Jane's employer, Her Majesty herself, Queen Elizabeth II.

This is the first of (sadly, only) three books in the "Her Majesty Investigates" series, and it's a lot of fun. As a Canadian, I naturally approve of Jane Bee's nationality, and I like Jane herself. She's an intelligent, amusing narrator, and I enjoyed being privy to her thought processes whenever she had conversations with the Queen. They make a good team, and not really in a Holmes/Watson way -- they have different opportunities for collecting clues, given their respective stations, but the deductions and conclusions are shared.

The book is also a bit of a time capsule of the early 1990s: cassettes and VHS are still prevalent, Charles and Diana are pretty much (if not already) divorced, and newspapers play a key role in the proceedings, with only a few token computers mentioned once in the book. For that alone this is an interesting book, as well as for the glimpse into London life and the Royal Family. If you like books set in royal estates and/or royal sleuths, and enjoy a good puzzle with some chuckles along the way, this would be a good choice. ( )
2 vote rabbitprincess | Jul 19, 2013 |
Amusing and clever, with a definite twist at the end. This trilogy is a great set of mysteries. ( )
  kiri_wren | Sep 4, 2008 |
Intended to be funny, but is just silly, and not very interesting. ( )
  tripleblessings | May 29, 2006 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Nan, you would have had a laugh.
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Book description
Jane Bee, Her Majesty's housemaid, knows a great deal about the royal household. A young footman dies in unusual circumstances, and Jane is skeptical of the rumors that his death was self-inflicted. She neatly sets out to prove her theory of murder.
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Jane Bee came to Europe for adventure, only to end up with the job of a lifetime: housemaid at Buckingham Palace. Now her greatest challenge is removing gum from State Room carpets--until she comes across a nasty accident right outside the Royal Apartments. The Queen herself has literally stumbled across the dead body of Jane's good friend, footman and aspiring actor Robin Tukes, in what appears to be a suicide. But why would handsome, impetuous Robin, having just toasted his engagement to a gorgeous housemaid, not to mention his impending fatherhood, want to die? Buck House buzzes, but only Jane, and the Royal Personage known belowstairs as "Mother," suspect foul play. At Her Majesty's behest, Jane launches a discreet inquiry that takes her from the Servants' Hall to the highest echelons of the Palace. Yet the more Jane uncovers, the clearer it becomes that this latest royal scandal is a real killer.… (more)

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