Thursday, September 28, 2023

Murder Most Royal - SJ Bennett

SJ Bennett has just released Murder Most Royal, the third book in the 'Her Majesty the Queen Investigates' series. I've read the previous two entries and have quite enjoyed them.

This third book takes place at Christmas 2016 at Queen Elizabeth's beloved Sandringham House. I love the details Bennett gives her physical settings. It lets me create vivid mental images, not just of Sandringham, but other settings that the book visits. And it's at one of those other locations that a severed hand, still wearing a signet ring, is found. It is the Queen who identifies the ring. 

Now, the Queen is not the one physically investigating. But she is conducting a secret inquiry of her own alongside the formal investigation. She again employs her Assistant Private Secretary Rozie Oshodi, to be her eyes, ears and legs, reporting back only to her. This time around the Queen is doing more investigating herself than in the previous two books. She knows all of the family ties of her titled neighbours and uses that information to gently direct the constabulary.

I initially had concerns over how the Queen would be portrayed in that first book. Well, I didn't need to worry. She is drawn as kind, gracious, wise, highly intelligent, well-spoken, observant, but imposing as well. All quite true. Her inner dialogue is a treat to read and her sense of humor is dry, as are her observations about her Royal family. The relationship between the Queen And Prince Phillip is lovely and loving

Rozie brings her own take on things as well. Bennett weaves current events from 2016, such as Brexit, through the book. 

The plotting is well done, giving a believable reason and victim by book's end. There are a number of characters to keep track of and more than once I had to stop and think who was who. 

I quite enjoyed Murder Most Royal. It's a fun, clever read that could be considered cozy. But with corgis and no cats. :0)  See for yourself - read an excerpt of Murder Most Royal. I'll be waiting for number four!

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