As celebrations marking Queen Elizabeth’s platinum anniversary as monarch begin, it’s the perfect time to discover S.J. Bennett’s new mystery series. As an ardent fan of the British royal family, I started reading The Windsor Knott with a mixture of excitement and apprehension. The novel, Bennett’s debut in the “Her Majesty The Queen Investigates” series, proves the author knows her dukes from her earls and her way around a good mystery. The story is original and clever.
Mystery lovers, royal watchers, and Bennett’s fans are in for a treat with next month’s arrival of the second book in the series, A Three Dog Problem.
The Windsor Knot, in which Queen Elizabeth prepares for her 90th birthday celebration while dealing with matters of state and family, is a delight. Festivity preparations are interrupted by the apparent shocking suicide of a handsome young Russian pianist visiting Windsor Castle. A poorly tied knot leads MI5 to suspect murder. Could the young man have been a sleeper agent? As her top security forces investigate, Her Majesty believes they’re looking in the wrong direction.
Queen Elizabeth has been shrouded in mystery her whole life. However, she’s been leading an extraordinary double life since she was a young princess, unbeknownst to her sister, closest friends, and advisers. Behind her storied reserve, the astute “Lilibet” has honed an incredible knack for solving complex crimes from jewel thefts to murder.
Her Majesty launches her own inquiry into the young musician’s death with the help of her assistant private secretary, Rozie Oshodi. The secretary is quickly impressed with the Queen’s sharp powers of observation and ability to steer unwitting investigators. Rozie also discovers she’s merely the newest of the Queen’s secret civilian aides-de-camp.
Author S.J. Bennett has taken the genuine charm, voice, and mystery surrounding Queen Elizabeth and created a fun, engaging mystery portraying Her Majesty as many royal family fans assume her to be: decisive, strong, wise, kind, and sharp as a tack.
I was particularly taken with Bennett’s writing of her character of the late Prince Philip. Although he makes few appearances in the story, she makes them count. She perfectly captured the wit and feistiness for which he was so known. The story gives royal family fans glimpses into how we imagine Windsor’s private family life. Many family members are included in the story, including Charles and Camilla, William and Catherine (on their first foreign tour as newlyweds), Edward and Sophie, the corgis.
Bennett wrote award-winning books for teenagers before turning to adult crime novels. That she lives in London and has been a royal watcher for years is evident in her storytelling. However, the author’s quick to point out that Queen Elizabeth does not secretly solve crimes—to the best of her knowledge.
Learn more about Her Majesty’s sleuthing novels, as well as the author at www.sjbennettbooks.com, on Twitter as @sophiabennett, and on Instagram as @sophiabennett_writer. PHOTO: Carolyn Tillery