Wednesday, March 3, 2021

ARC Review: The Windsor Knot by SJ Bennett

The Windsor Knot

SJ Bennett
Series: Queen Elizabeth II (Book 1)
Publication: William Morrow (March 9, 2021)

Description: The first book in a highly original and delightfully clever crime series in which Queen Elizabeth II secretly solves crimes while carrying out her royal duties.

It is the early spring of 2016 and Queen Elizabeth is at Windsor Castle in advance of her 90th birthday celebrations. But the preparations are interrupted when a guest is found dead in one of the Castle bedrooms. The scene suggests the young Russian pianist strangled himself, but a badly tied knot leads MI5 to suspect foul play was involved. The Queen leaves the investigation to the professionals—until their suspicions point them in the wrong direction.

Unhappy at the mishandling of the case and concerned for her staff’s morale, the monarch decides to discreetly take matters into her own hands. With help from her Assistant Private Secretary, Rozie Oshodi, a British Nigerian and recent officer in the Royal Horse Artillery, the Queen secretly begins making inquiries. As she carries out her royal duties with her usual aplomb, no one in the Royal Household, the government, or the public knows that the resolute Elizabeth will use her keen eye, quick mind, and steady nerve to bring a murderer to justice.

SJ Bennett captures Queen Elizabeth’s voice with skill, nuance, wit, and genuine charm in this imaginative and engaging mystery that portrays Her Majesty as she’s rarely seen: kind yet worldly, decisive, shrewd, and most importantly a great judge of character.

My Thoughts: Fans of British Royalty will greatly enjoy this new mystery story in which Queen Elizabeth II solves a mystery.

It is 2016 and the Queen is at her favorite home - Windsor Castle. Events are ramping up to her 90th birthday celebration and the annual Windsor Horse Show when a young Russian pianist is found dead after being present at a "dine and sleep." The Queen had danced with the young man the evening before and is concerned about informing his family. Her private secretary Sir Simon Holcroft is reluctant to share all that he knows about the young man's death since it seems to have been some sex play gone wrong which resulted in his death by hanging. 

However, some discrepancies in the set-up of the supposed suicide soon lead to the conviction that the young man was murdered. Three different legal entities are involved in investigating this case. Detective Chief Inspector David Strong is with the Windsor Police, Ravi Singh is with the Metropolitan Police, and Gavin Humphreys is the new chief of MI5. Humphreys gets the idea that the young man was killed at the order of Putin and immediately begins investigating the idea that someone at Windsor Castle is a Russian sleeper agent.

The Queen, who is deeply loyal to her staff, and whose staff is deeply loyal to her is not pleased with the direction of the investigation and recruits her new Assistant Private Secretary, Rozie Oshodi, to do some investigating for her and to keep it secret from Sir Simon. Rozie quickly learns that she isn't the first APS who has done this sort of thing for the Queen when she makes contact with former APS for some insight into the Queen's wishes.

The Queen subtly guides her police officials based on things she and Rozie discover rather than taking an active role in the investigation. I liked that she outmaneuvered and outthought the men who persisted in underestimating her abilities. 

I enjoyed this story and enjoyed my vicarious visit to Windsor Castle. I think other mystery lovers will enjoy it too.

Favorite Quote:
"No, I mean it. No wonder everyone's keeping it hush-hush. That, and protecting you 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."

"And yet, they think you'll need smelling salts if they so much as hint at anything fruity. All they see is a little old lady in a hat." He grinned as she frowned.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.


  1. A great way to see Windsor Castle without being there -- if accurate, that is.

    I have my eye on this book, for sure.

  2. What a fun and unique idea,I’d love to think HRH gets involved with this sort of thing!


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