Cover Image: A Murder at Balmoral

A Murder at Balmoral

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Group for this free digital copy in exchange for an honest review. This book is available now! 

I finished this book a couple of weeks ago and have been trying to figure out how I feel about it. What I can say is this: I definitely didn't hate it, but it's not a favorite. I enjoyed the alternate timeline/alternate family tree concept for the British royal family, and I always love a "closed door" mystery. However, I found the book difficult to get into, and while the very last bit felt satisfying, overall the end felt like a let-down. 

I think this story had some interesting things to say on the institution of the monarchy, and it did keep me guessing...so I guess this one is just okay for me! If you enjoy alternate histories, locked room mysteries, and the British monarchy, you might enjoy this one!
Was this review helpful?
A cozy, timely, and twisty novel that will appeal to any reader who enjoys a locked-room mystery. A steadily accelerating plot, gradual reveals, and some big twists toward the end make this a very enjoyable holiday mystery for Agatha Christie fans and royal watchers alike.
Was this review helpful?
3.75 stars!

A Murder at Balmoral is pitched as a Clue like mystery surrounding the death of the (fictional) King of England. I really liked the beginning of this book. I thought it was fun that this was shown as a "Crown"-like rendition of historical events. I loved how the author provided us with a cast of characters, The "detective" figure was the cook, which I found fun, and I liked the clues sprinkled in. Where it felt short for me, unfortunately, was the end of the book. I really did not like any part of the resolution, and was actually disappointed that the book was ended that way. I would read more from this author though!

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
It's a Christmas murder mystery! Fans of Agatha Christie will enjoy this locked-room mystery.

It is set in present day but it is an alternate history to our own as the British family in the book is not the same one that currently sits on the throne. The Windsor on the throne in the book come from the line of Edward VIII. In the book's universe, he did not abdicate the throne to marry Wallis Simpson. There are some similarities and this royal family has plenty of secrets to keep the reader intrigued.

The King has decided he wants to have a family only Christmas Day. He sends all of the staff away except for his head of security and the chef. No one expected there to be a blizzard that knocks out the power and phone lines. Nor do they expect the King to keel over dead. With the head of security nowhere to be found and the family pointing fingers, it is up to the chef to decide who the killer is.

A Murder at Balmoral is a stand-alone novel and a good option for readers looking for a holiday story that isn't a romance. I'm not one to follow the royal family, but I'm sure readers who do enjoy all things royalty will enjoy this mystery involving a royal family. We get glimpses into what Christmas might be like with the Royals as the chef attempts to make the traditional Christmas feast all on his own (he has to serve as well!)

It isn't an easy mystery to figure out. The chef has no investigative skills and he has served this family for a long time so has a hard time believing anyone would want to kill the King. 

My review will be published at Girl Who Reads on Saturday, Dec. 24 - https://www.girl-who-reads.com/2022/12/4-christmas-novels-for-your-holiday.html
Was this review helpful?
A great cozy mystery for Christmas time. I liked that it was an alternate Royal history of the British Monarchy so that the actual Royal Family was not part of it at all. The character of the chef as the narrator was great, and was developed well. The other characters were flawed enough that you really thought that anyone could have done it. There were enough clues sprinkled about that when it was finally revealed, it made sense. It wasn't too complicated or too easy. A short, fun read for Christmas time.
Was this review helpful?
I think the description was right on target with Agatha Christie fans. I enjoyed this - thought the cover was tastefully done as well. The characters were great and to each their own without blending,
Was this review helpful?
This was a fun and quick murder mystery set at Christmas time. It is based on the premise that a different lineage has been atop the British throne. #partner @putnambooks

When the king drops dead from poisoning at Balmoral castle on Christmas day, the only people in the house are The King’s immediate family, the head of security, and the King’s personal chef. This who-dun-it and a quick and fun read that is perfect for the Christmas season.
Was this review helpful?
I didn't finish there was too many characters to focus on and not enough movement in the plot.  disappointing because I loved the premise (huge royals fan and I love Clue) but I couldn't get through it
Was this review helpful?
Loved the idea of this mystery and the setting as I’m fascinated with historical royalty. I found it rather slow and too many characters to keep track of so unfortunately this was a do not finish for me.
Was this review helpful?
The novel opened with a brilliantly mysterious flashforward of the moments leading up to the king's death. The perspective selected by the author, that of the killer's, for this opening scene got me really excited. The rest of the novel, however, switched to the perspective of the chef, Jon. This was fine, and it did parallel the common tendency of mysteries to have the stories be told by outsiders to the tight-knit community/family being investigated. For this narrative, I would have liked to see it told through multiple POVs. I think that would have raised the tension and my own investment, but Jon is a definitely a suitable characters to follow. 

The ending was fascinating in that it raised a lot of questions about the advantages and disadvantages of having a monarchy and a royal family, from various points of view. As someone who grew up in a country that has never had a monarchical government in place, I do feel that I learned some things from McGeorge's characters and themes. I did find the ending a bit expected, but I also can see many people enjoying the mixture of thriller and mystery elements found within this novel. For the right reader, I will be recommending this in the future. And I could see myself picking up another Chris McGeorge book in the future.
Was this review helpful?
This book completely took me by surprise! I enjoyed the behind the scenes descriptions of Balmoral and the work of one chef preparing a major feast on his own.. The downside was that the characters were somewhat hard to grasp and with a few exceptions too crudely defined. The chef was definitely too naive for a man in his position. However, with the current house of Royals and the popularity of "The Crown" this book is so much fun and impossible to put down!
Was this review helpful?
There was a lot going on. I really liked how it started. I liked how we found out what happened. 

Thank you to the author,  publisher,  and NetGalley for my eARC in exchange for an honest review
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this overall! I think the setting was great and helped move the story forward. It felt very Clue-y in terms of the castle setting, which added a fun atmosphere.
Was this review helpful?
A good mystery, fun title, and pretty cover? Count me in. I enjoyed this novel a lot from the pace of the story to the characters.
Was this review helpful?
A Murder at Balmoral was a very cozy murder mystery set at the infamous Balmoral Castle in Scotland. It was very Agatha Christie-esh but I just could not connect or remember any of the characters. I loved the setting and think the author described that part very well. Overall, I enjoyed this book and I would read more from this author!
Was this review helpful?
Fans of shows such as The Crown and those of the Royal Family will likely enjoy this book. Jon, both the chef and the narrator is a compelling character whom I felt sympathy for and rooted for throughout the story. It was difficult to really like any of the Royals as they were each a suspect in the murder which happens early on, and the characters weren't very likable. This murder mystery takes place in a castle, and Jon becomes the investigator kind of by default. He is overwhelmingly loyal "to king and crown" and has difficulty with the assumption that one of the family must have committed the crime.
Was this review helpful?
A Royal murder mystery at Balmoral Castle, set in another timeframe when Edward did not abdicate the throne. The King’s chef is determined to find out why family member killed the king.

I liked the concept of this book, but it was just too slow and the plot and storyline just didn’t work for me. I wasn’t crazy about the ending either. 

I received a review copy from NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
King Eric, age 85, and his family have retreated to Balmoral for Christmas.  It is his favorite place to be.  King Eric has decided that he doesn’t want all of the staff to stay there for Christmas so he sends them home.  In addition, he wants all of the family members to have their cell phones locked up to keep their attention. However, Jon, his long time chef of over 30 years, is there to prepare the Christmas dinner.  In addition to Jon, there is a security person who spends most of his time roaming the grounds.  This year, the weather has turned bad and there is a virtual blizzard outside.

King Eric has spoken privately with several members of his family this morning and has let the family know he will be choosing his successor.

Jon is working hard to prepare a sumptuous feast for the family at noon.  He knows all of the king’s favorite dishes and fixes all of them the way he likes them.  After lunch, the family gathers around the Christmas tree to exchange gifts. They then always toast one another with a particular brand of whiskey ordered especially for the occasion.

Usually, King Eric gives a little speech and everyone then enjoys their glass of whiskey.  This year, when the king takes a sip of his whiskey, he falls over, dead.  The whiskey has obviously been poisoned!  Jon had opened and decanted the bottle earlier in the day to air it.  Could someone have poisoned the whiskey and who could it have been? 

This is a mystery with lots of atmosphere and some really strange characters.  First we suspect one person and then another one appears to be the guilty one.  This is how the author keeps the reader’s attention and makes us closely concentrate on what happens next.  Rather strange in parts, but I really liked Jon and his lifelong dedication to the royal family.  Enjoy!

Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I absolutely loved this book.  Using a fictional royal family within the framework of the english royalty was interesting and having the book be from the chef's perspective was well done.  It was a proper whodunit in the vein of Agatha Christie. I definitely would like to read more.
Was this review helpful?
I struggled to get into this book, which is strange for me because I always love mysteries. Especially ones set in dreary locales with a cast of interesting characters. The description drew me in, but ultimately I wasn't able to finish this book.
Was this review helpful?