An Audiobook Review by Jackie Houchin
ALL THE QUEEN’S MEN is the second in SJ Bennett’s Queen Elizabeth mysteries (after THE WINDSOR KNOT). Sadly the Queen is no longer with us, but this series keeps her, her wit, her smarts, and her deceptively mild, naive manner alive. (I hope there will be more in the series leading up to the present day. Bennett has a few years. This mystery takes place in 2016.)
Again in this novel, the Queen relies heavily on her trusted aide, Rosie Oshodi, to help her solve not only two murders but art theft, fraud, poison letters, and other crimes in Buckingham Palace. We discover locked tunnels in the bowels of the palace which Rosie bravely explores, and a “narnia-like” wardrobe in which the Queen herself hides for a brief moment to listen to a clandestine conversation.
In all these and more, it almost seems that Bennett herself must surely reside in the Palace and at Balmoral. Otherwise, how could she know such intimacies and idiosycracies of the Queen and her court? Excellent research! It really is fascinating.
The mystery itself is a bit complicated with many loose ends, but by the end, the knitting yarn of facts displays itself in a lovely, if grim pattern. And the Queen demurely allows the police and her staff to get the credit, offering only a tiny conspiratorial glance (and wink?) at Rosie.
I very much enjoyed this cozy mystery, and will remember the Queen fondly through Bennett’s books. Will she one day attempt to give KC3 a chance to solve a mystery?
Also an appreciative nod to Jane Copland for a precise, authentic narration,