Well, this was a fun read.
A whodunnit set inside Buckingham Palace during the Second World War.
Against the backdrop of London during the Blitz, a war hero, who is now a royal courtier, is found dead inside the Palace.
Although everything seems to point to suicide, it is both the undue haste with which Major Brampton’s body is rushed out of the palace and back into his mews cottage, and the instructions for everyone to say nothing about the incident, that raise the suspicions of Guy Harford.
Guy is a new courtier, untutored in the ways and machinations of the Palace, and although he wasn’t particularly close to the late Major, he did share an office with him, and he is a childhood friend of the widowed Mrs. Brampton, so he begins to investigate.
What makes this story so much fun and such an interesting read, is the fact that it involves lots of members of the British royal family, as well as several European royals, deposed or otherwise, who took shelter in London during the war.
From time to time I found myself Googling people or incidents referred to in the book, mainly all that outrageously unpatriotic stuff concerning Henry Gloucester, thinking it couldn’t possibly be true.
But guess what? It’s all true.
Beryl Markham – who knew?
The Duke of Windsor ready to take back the throne he had renounced for Wallis Simpson – surely not?
The late, much-loved Queen Mum flirting…I repeat, who knew?
A light-hearted, easy read, with an almost clichéd cast of characters – the pompous courtiers, the good-hearted, working-class burglar, the pushy Americans.
Sadly, none of the Royals make an appearance, though they are the leitmotiv running through the book, and the link between so many of the characters.
I would have loved to meet the Queen in person, rather than just hearing about her from her courtiers…but who knows, perhaps in a future mystery?
Because, tellingly, this story is called A Guy Harford Mystery #1.
A happy read – and just what I needed in these dark days.