A Murder at Balmoral is Chris McGeorge's new 'locked room' mystery. I absolutely adore this format!
The setting is of course, the Royal Castle at Balmoral. McGeorge's Royal Family is fiction, based on Edward VIII not abdicating the throne. One of his progeny - Eric - is the current King. Although, there are a few sly similarities to some current Royals. (But no disrespect in regards to the recent passing of the Queen)
It's Christmas and the King has directed that his immediate family come to Balmoral for the holidays. The staff are sent home - excepting the head of security and Jon, the chef. And what else is needed for that locked room mystery? A blizzard of course, which completely cuts off anyone coming in or going out.
From the publisher's description: "The king is dead. The killer is in the family. Solving this murder will be a royal pain."
The book is told through Jon's eyes, ears and actions. He is to act as the de facto investigator as directed by the other family members. Here's where the Agatha Christie and Hercule Poirot feel kicks in. He begins with individual interviews. But he really doesn't know what to ask. Jon has his work cut out, trying to still wear his chef's hat, remember his station - oft reminded by some of the Royals - and enduring some blatant racism. Where things go next is influenced by many unexpected twists and turns. Some of them are a bit unbelievable, but just go with it - those somewhat over the top moments make the book a lot of fun to read.
The culprit is indeed known by the end chapters. But the whodunit and epilogue surprised me with a situation that there's no way to predict. And the prologue now made sense to me.
I enjoyed A Murder at Balmoral. McGeorge is a new to me author and I'll happily pick up his next title. See for yourself - read an excerpt of A Murder at Balmoral.