ALL THE QUEEN’S MEN
Author: SJ Bennett
Publisher: William Morrow
Format: Trade Paperback, 340 pages
Back Cover Blurb
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.
What I Thought
They’re back. The cast of characters that helped Her Majesty, QEII, solve a murder in SJ Bennett’s debut novel, THE WINDSOR KNOT, are back. And on fine form once again.
This time, in ALL THE QUEEN’S MEN (A Three Dog Problem in the UK), Her Majesty is in residence at Buckingham Palace lamenting the lost of a beloved (garish) painting. A painting that is near and dear to her heart and, what starts as a hunt for what happened to said painting during a refurbishment of her private apartments—while away on a tour of Australia—turns into, yes, you guessed it. Murder.
I think I’m in love with Sophie Bennett’s writing. She really knows how to set up a good read by crafting a great plot, and subsequent sub-plots, filled with a bevvy of stalwart characters and shady duffers.
From Her Majesty, her APS, Rozie Oshodi, through to Sir Simon, Rozie’s immediate boss, through to those we only meet in passing. Each is well drawn and given enough depth as to make them fully realised. And as Rozie, at the Queen’s behest, does what she does best, investigate for HRH (ably helped by Sir Simon though he doesn’t know it) we’re off on another superbly crafted, and well-written murder-mystery.
What makes this series stand out for me is Bennett’s attention to what seem like throw away details. Those snippets of history and background, and the vignettes of guest appearance of real people of the day, like the then Prime Minister of the UK, Theresa May. It all adds to the richness of the read.
Never mind we’re on the hunt for a missing painting, a would-be poison-pen author, we’re also tracking who did not one, but two murders.
There are red herrings a plenty, and lots of little twists and turns to keep the pace ticking over like a purring Jaguar or Rolls Royce. And enough skullduggery to keep you guessing who the main culprits are, right up until the last chapter when, once again, HRH, pulling at those little loose threads, actually get’s everyone else to do all the work, and solve the whodunit in a very satisfactory way.
As an endnote, you don’t have to have read The Windsor Knot in order to enjoy All The Queen’s Men, but you would be missing out on some fun shenanigans and snappy dialogue.