Murder Most Royal

Morrow. (Her Majesty the Queen Investigates, Bk. 3). Sept. 2023. 304p. ISBN 9780063051201. $30. M
Residing at Sandringham House for the Christmas season, the Queen of England is pulled into another case when a disembodied hand washes up on the Norfolk coast near her estate. Aided once more by her redoubtable assistant private secretary Rozie Oshodi, she calmly but relentlessly picks the case apart in Bennett’s third “Her Majesty the Queen Investigates” series (following All the Queen’s Men). While the mystery is deftly plotted, its delights rest in the ways Bennett evokes character. Elizabeth has a sharply observant mind and an unflappable, stalwart demeanor, which is showcased wonderfully through interior and direct dialogue, as well as multiple interactions with a range of characters, from Philip to a stable hand, and, of course, with Rozie, who is new enough to be aware of royal life but is also very much her own self. Additional charms come through the pacing, which is at once brisk and sedate, as it unspools both through Elizabeth’s thoughts and the case’s developments on the ground. The settings are superb too, as is the pitch-perfect positioning of the novel as just on the other side of cozy.
VERDICT Bennett’s newest is marvelous, as is her crackerjack royal detective.
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