The first time I heard about this series of books, I was intrigued. What a great idea to have Her Majesty the Queen as a kind of Miss Marple figure – or Vera! Sadly the third book in the series was published after the sad loss of our Queen and fittingly, Murder Most Royal is dedicated to her. As I follow S. J. Bennett on social media, I know she is a genuine royalist and felt reassured that she would treat the Royal Family with respect.
The book itself is gorgeous – a bright red cover with inside cover pages featuring crowns, the Queen and Corgis. Just lovely!
The story begins in December 2016 when a girl finds a severed hand on Snettisham Beach, not far from the Queen’s Sandringham Estate. The Queen and Prince Philip are both full of cold, so have to fly to Sandringham instead of going by train.
Rozie Oshodi is 30 years old and the Queen’s assistant private secretary. While Sir Simon Holcroft is away on holiday for two weeks, Rozie is in charge. Her mother describes her as “like the first black Thomas Cromwell” but Rozie expects a relatively quiet time. Then the news breaks of the severed hand and surprisingly, the Queen recognises it. Will they be investigating another murder after all?
S. J. Bennett’s writing is beautiful. The dialogue is witty and a real delight! Her descriptions are gorgeous, her characterisation of the Queen and Prince Philip are authentic and sensitive. The Queen’s love of horses, dogs and the countryside shines through. Other members of the Royal Family pop up too and come across as very realistic. (I especially loved the Princess Royal!) Although fiction, the novel feels very well-researched and I loved all the detail.
Rozie is a great character too, clever and resourceful. She has a great relationship with the Queen, but is always respectful. She reminded me of the companion in Doctor Who – often does the leg work. Rozie and the Queen are a great team and in this novel, because the Queen knows the murder victim, it adds a personal side to the crime and an extra reason for trying to solve it.
I loved the Christmas background to the novel, especially the fun presents given out by the family. It is great to see this kind of side to the Royal Family and although obviously fictional, it did ring true in many ways and was a delight to read.
I’m not telling you anything more about the book, because I want you to read it for yourself. I absolutely loved it and I may have found not only the perfect book, but a new favourite author.
THE ROYALLY BRILLIANT THIRD BOOK IN THE HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN INVESTIGATES MYSTERY SERIES – NOW AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER IN HARDBACK, EBOOK AND AUDIOBOOK!
December 2016 – A severed hand is found washed up on a beach next to the Queen’s estate at Sandringham.
Elizabeth has become quite accustomed to solving even the most complex of murders. And though she quickly identifies the 70-year-old victim, Edward St Cyr, from his signet ring, the search for his killer is not so straightforward.
St Cyr led an unconventional, often controversial life, making many enemies along the way in the quiet, rural world of North Norfolk, where everyone knows each other’s business.
But when a second man is found dead, and a prominent local woman is nearly killed in a hit-and-run, the mystery takes an even darker turn.
With the Christmas break coming to an end, the Queen and her trusted assistant Rozie must race to discover how the pieces of the puzzle fit together. Or the next victim may be found even closer to home.
Agatha Christie meets The Crown in MURDER MOST ROYAL, the much-anticipated third book in the ‘Her Majesty The Queen Investigates’ mystery series by SJ Bennett – for fans of The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, Agatha Christie and M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin.