All the Queen’s Men by S. J. Bennett All the Queen's Men by SJ Bennett
Narrator: Jane Copland
Series: Her Majesty the Queen Investigates #2
Published by Harper Audio, HarperAudio on March 1, 2022
Source: Library
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Length: 10 hrs 16 mins
Pages: 352
Format: Audiobook
Purchase at Bookshop.org or Audible
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three-half-stars

Amateur detective Queen Elizabeth II is back in this hugely entertaining follow-up to The Windsor Knot, in which Her Majesty must determine how a missing painting is connected to the shocking death of a staff member inside Buckingham Palace.

It's the height of summer 2016, and the Queen has pressing duties to attend to, such as meeting with the new prime minister, keeping an eye on a tumultuous election in the States, and the smaller but perhaps more frustrating matter of recovering a beloved painting that has unexpectedly turned up in the wrong place. She relies on her Assistant Private Secretary, Rozie Oshodi, to make sure she's fully apprised of the goings on in the palace and to help solve any issues that arise.

Rozie holds Her Majesty in the highest esteem and does everything in her power not to disappoint "the Boss." But she has recently become aware of a spate of disturbing letters some staff have received, and though her first instinct is to inform the Queen, more senior members of the household assure her they have everything in hand. When one of the targets of the letters is found dead in the pool house at Buckingham Palace, however, Rozie decides it's time to alert the Queen. After all, though the rest of the staff and public may not realize it, Elizabeth is the keenest sleuth among them. Sometimes, it takes a Queen's eye to see connections where no one else can.

The Queen is disconcerted to see one of her favorite paintings at an exhibition of maritime art in Portsmouth. The painting, given to her by the artist, is of the retired Britannia yacht and once hung outside her bedroom. She enlists Rozie to discover when it left her collection and why it has never been returned, a task that turns out to be not as easy as it sounds. Then, a housekeeper is found beside the Palace swimming pool and it turns out several of the staff, including the dead woman, had received nasty, threatening anonymous letters.

The mystery is a bit convoluted. The clues and cases all tie together, but it meanders a bit getting to the conclusion. I do enjoy the characters though. They give the book its charm. The Queen is sharp and charming. Rozie is super competent and we get to see a bit more of the personal side of her life. Prince Philip steals every scene he’s in with his mixture of humor and caring.

In the end, the Queen’s men get credit for solving the mysteries, but we know who the real credit goes to.

About SJ Bennett

SJ Bennett wrote several award-winning books for teenagers before turning to adult mysteries. She lives in London and has been a royal watcher for years, but is keen to stress that these are works of fiction: the Queen, to the best of her knowledge, does not secretly solve crimes.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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