It’s been a while since I’ve read or listened to anything having to do with the British royal family, and it was time to remedy that. The Windsor Knot (Amazon) is the first book in a new series where Queen Elizabeth II solves mysteries.
From the publisher: “The morning after a dinner party at Windsor Castle, eighty-nine-year-old Queen Elizabeth is shocked to discover that one of her guests has been found murdered in his room, with a rope around his neck.
When the police begin to suspect her loyal servants, Her Majesty knows they are looking in the wrong place. For the Queen has been living an extraordinary double life ever since her coronation. Away from the public eye, she has a brilliant knack for solving crimes.
With her household’s happiness on the line, her secret must not get out. Can the Queen and her trusted secretary Rozie catch the killer, without getting caught themselves?”
I really didn’t know that I needed a book where Queen Elizabeth II solves mysteries like a royal Miss Marple until I read the synopsis. What surprised me after reading the blurb is that this idea hasn’t been done before. It’s a perfect fit. A cozy mystery is the perfect type of fiction book starring the grandmotherly queen.
For the most part, The Windsor Knot works well as a mystery. Obviously, the queen can’t go tramping around looking for clues. She has to rely on Rozie Oshodi, her private secretary, to get the information and bring it back to her for dissemination. It’s very realistic in that regard. And all the while Elizabeth II is doing everything she normally does, including directing the palace’s activities, public appearances, greeting President Obama, and dealing with her family. Even with the mystery in her lap, she still has time for her horses.
I thought the humor in the book was an excellent addition to an otherwise pedestrian mystery. The story alternates POV between the queen and Rozie, and while I found Rozie very capable at her job, I had a hard time connecting with her. I much preferred to be inside the queen’s head, especially when she discusses the case with her husband, the late Duke of Edinburgh. In this story, Prince Philip is some of the comic relief, much like he was in real life, making off-the-cuff remarks that occasionally ruffled feathers. He’s got some real doozies in this book:
“Last thing you want is to be discovered in a royal palace with your goolies out.”
“No, I mean it. No wonder everyone’s keeping it hush-hush. That, and protecting your fragile nerves.”
The Queen threw him a look. “They forget. I’ve lived through a world war, that Ferguson girl, and you in the navy.”
That’s just one example of the great banter written in The Windsor Knot. The rest of the book has crisp dialogue that advances the story well. I highly recommend this book if you’re a fan of the royal family and enjoy cozy mysteries.
This is the 37th Audiobook I’ve listened to as part of my 2021 Audiobook Challenge.
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