Cover Image: A Murder at Balmoral

A Murder at Balmoral

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of A Murder at Balmoral by Chris McGeorge. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks to NetGalley and PENGUIN GROUP Putnam for this ARC.

I was excited to read a murder mystery involving a fictional British King. And the character Johnathan was a great protagonist, as he attempted to solve his boss/friend's murder. I liked the setting and the whole royal murder mystery concept. Sadly, I didn't enjoy any of the suspects. All of the family members were bland and forgettable. I would have preferred more flashbacks involving King Eric, who had personality. It wasn't horrible, but this book did not work for me. I give A Murder at Balmoral 2.5/5 (round to 3).
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A Murder at Balmoral was a fun royal whodunnit with several twists and turns. Royal chef Jon Alleyne is one of only two staff to stay behind on Christmas Day at Balmoral with the royal family. After the king’s sudden death, Jon is tasked with being the detective to solve his murder. Along the way, we find out more of Jon’s story, and many incriminating facts about the royal family. They all have something to hide and therefore all have a motive. But there’s more going on at Balmoral than it seems. Hopefully Jon can catch a killer before it’s too late for the rest of the family. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the advance copy.
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This closed door cozy mystery has several twists and left me guessing throughout. As an American I’ve been obsessed with the Royals as long as I can remember so I was so excited to read this one. 

Chris McGeorge has written an alternate history whereby Edward VII didn’t abdicate and there are a totally new set of royals who are celebrating Christmas at Balmoral. A blizzard moves in and they’re stranded there.  

~King Eric, beloved and respected and intending to announce his successor in his annual Christmas speech. As he is making his toast he dies after taking a sip of his whiskey. 
~Marjorie, Princess Royal- never named Queen and a bit of a lush
~Emmeline, older by a few minutes and engaged but her fiancé Anton was not invited to celebrate at Balmoral
~Maud, the younger twin- married to a commoner and mother to two boys  
 ~Thomas, who the family believes is leaking info to the tv show “Monarch” (think The Crown) 
~Matthew, the likely successor
~Martin, the little helper

King Eric has sent everyone else away from Balmoral for the weekend except for 
~Tony, the security guard, and 
~Jon, the personal chef who is devoted to the royal family and is our narrator. The family elects Jon to be the investigator in the death of King Eric. 

The beginning moved a bit slowly for me but then picked up and the pace was great. Each chapter begins to delve into each character as Jon interviews them and in the last half I didn’t want to stop reading. Amazing twists and so timely! It’s The Crown meets Clue meets Agatha Christie. 

Thanks to NetGalley and GP Putnam for the early review copy!
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A MURDER AT BALMORAL by Chris McGeorge is a twisty-turny whodunnit featuring members of the British royal family.

(Note: this is completely fictional royal family set in an alternate universe where King Edward never abdicated the throne in 1936.)

It’s Christmas Day at Balmoral, and by King Eric’s special request, no one is present but the royal family. The only staff is a security guard and Jon, the king’s chef. But then the king drops dead during the after-dinner toast—was the whisky poisoned? With the security guard missing, chef Jon becomes the only neutral third-party, and is quickly appointed detective, tasked with finding the killer.

This has to be one of the twistiest mysteries I’ve read. It starts slow, but after the 50% mark, it really picks up. By 80% I was reading obsessively, and by 90%, I was shocked. There are so many small clues scattered throughout the book, some that I recognized as clues and some that seemed unimportant, and they all are tied up nicely in the end. Family secrets and thirsts for power and revenge abound, and I never knew who to point the finger at.

I wasn’t a big fan of the writing, which tended to get bogged down by details, and the characters veered on cartoonish. As the protagonist, Jon started off almost pitiful—he’s an immigrant from Barbados, with a difficult childhood before working his way to the top of his career, and yet didn’t have the assertion or confidence I’d expect from a top chef. But by the end of the book, he’s a changed man, and I ended up loving his development.

My advice? Suspend your disbelief and enjoy the ride.

Thank you to G.P. Putnam's Sons and NetGalley for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.
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What a fun and atmospheric murder mystery! It was quickly placed and kept me engaged the entire time. I appreciated the descriptions that really lent to tension the entire story, A fantastic read I recommend to mystery lovers and royal family enthusiasts.
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A wonderful mix of a "what if" different version of history and a cozy, Christmasy murder mystery. McGeorge expertly blends in the backstory of our Chef Jon and the head scratching clues of who in the royal family may have murdered their own kin and King. It really could have been anyone who had done it and McGeorge leaves you guessing right to the end!
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I think the concept was strong, but there was so much here that was so farfetched that I couldn't really lose myself in the mystery. Good for you for finishing a novel. I hope others enjoy it.
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3.5 stars

You can read all of my reviews at Nerd Girl Loves Books.

This is a good locked-door mystery set in an alternative universe England where King Edward VIII did not abdicate and marry an American divorcee. In this story, his lineage sits on the throne. As the story begins, King Eric has required his immediate family attend Christmas as Balmarol and he's sent all of the staff away, except his chef Jonathon and his head security officer. During an after dinner speech, King Eric begins to speak, begins choking, and falls to the ground. Moments later, he's dead. Each member of the family has motive and opportunity, is keeping secrets, and they've elected the chef to investigate the murder.

Jonathon is overwhelmed by the responsibility of the investigation, not to mention trying to question the royal family. I could feel his discomfort as he attempts to do right by the King and discover who poisoned him, all while keeping his own painful secret. As things become progressively worse, and Jonathon begins to worry he'll never solve the mystery, tragedy strikes again.

This was a fun, quick read. The story was fairly well-paced, and Jonathon made a good sleuth, despite his reservations. The royal family were interesting, although they were depicted as more stereotypical archetypes than fully fleshed out characters. The twists and turns were fun, although I have to admit, I wasn't a big fan of the way the mystery turned out. However, the ending was satisfying.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam. All opinions are my own.
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McGeorge did a terrific job with the pacing of the whodunit. I was a bit startled when the murderer was unmasked with about 20% of the book left; however, there were many surprises still to come! It was easy to identify with the reluctant detective, who only accepted the role out of a sense of duty “for King and country,” and then was attacked for his efforts. 
Well done.
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A Murder at Balmoral is a very Agatha Christie-esque whodunnit, featuring a fictional British royal family whose king is murdered one snowy Christmas afternoon. James, the royal family's long-time chef and one of the only staff members present at Balmoral at the time of the murder, not only witnesses the king's death but also becomes the chief investigator. With every family member a suspect, James must delicately get to the bottom of this tragedy while avenging his dear friend, the king's, untimely demise. While I did not actually enjoy this book, I can understand why mystery lovers might like it. I would have liked more "action" -- there were several chapters where everyone is literally standing around talking to one another -- but I did appreciate the dark humor interwoven throughout. A Murder at Balmoral is perfect for fans of cozy mysteries and British royal fiction like Downton Abbey.
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Thanks to Penguin Group Putnam and NetGalley for the ARC! 

This was a super fun murder mystery based around the British royal family….only not as we know them. Edward VIII didn’t abdicate the throne, and the royal house of Windsor looks a little different! The king has been murdered, so obviously, someone needs to figure out who dunnit. 

A closed room/castle mystery set at beautiful Balmoral Castle, where our detective ends up being the king’s personal chef, Jon. I kind of went into this book blind, but it was just overall a fun read with commentary on the royal family, and it’s own spoof of Netflix’s The Crown. Best to go in not knowing much more than what’s in the synopsis!
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Thank you Penguin and NetGalley for providing an arc for an honest review.

I love the concept of a closed door murder mystery. Throw in a cast of royal characters and Christmas time you have yourself a fun Christmassy murder mystery. In this alternative history King Edward VII didn't abdicate and his son Eric is now the ruler. He gathers the family for a traditional Christmas at Balmoral Castle and decides he will name his successor at dinner, when of course he drops dead. It is up to Jon the head chef to find the murderer before the blizzard lets up and everyone can leave. Which I'm sure you can imagine how well a staff member interviewing the royal family for the murder of the king will go. It did move a bit slow in parts, mostly the detailed interviews which were necessary but drug a little bit. All in all I really enjoyed this book. With plenty of intrigue, family secrets, and shocking revelations it is a great Christmas mystery.
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Thank you so much to NetGalley and Chris McGeorge for providing me with a complimentary digital ARC for A Murder at Balmoral coming out October 25, 2022.  The honest opinions expressed in this review are my own. 

The king is murdered. Long live the king? What if the killer is in the family?

It’s Christmastime at Balmoral Castle in Scotland for the royal family. It’s frightfully snowing outside as a scrumptious dinner is cooked and the family gathers around the table for a royal toast. King Eric asks for everyone’s attention. As he’s about to name his successor, he drops dead. They suspect his favorite whiskey has been poisoned. 

The royal family has gathered at their Scottish retreat, Balmoral Castle, for a traditional Christmas. As a blizzard gathers outside and a delicious dinner is prepared, the family circles up for a holiday toast. King Eric has something momentous to say—in fact, he is about to name his successor. But as he raises a glass of his favorite whiskey, he drops dead.

The head chef Jonathan assumes the role of detective to find out which one of them poisoned the king. They all had opportunity and motive. Jon is determined to expose the truth and find the killer. Can he solve the case?

I’ve been to a couple castles in Scotland so I was really interested in reading a Murder at Balmoral. I’ve heard things about it and it seemed like a really fun setting. Overall, I loved this story! I was glad the royal family is fictional rather than based on real people. I did think it would be set further back in time, but I still enjoyed it. The twist wasn’t my favorite. I really don’t like what the mother did. I don’t like it used as a plot in books. I think I was expecting something else from the ending. Maybe a little more closure. I would be interested in reading more books by this author though. 

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys the royals and murder mysteries!
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Very well told story of what if? What if King Edward VIII didn’t abdicate?  What if his son is now King? King Eric has decided to spend Christmas in Balmoral with only the Royal family and trusted chef Jon, also Mr. Speck for security.  Balmoral is fairly secluded and there is a raging blizzard going on, one would think the Royals could enjoy Christmas as a family in peace. But there are secrets abound within the family and some have come to light. The King has individually addressed the family one on one and after Christmas dinner was served the family gathers together in the parlor to toast the King’s traditional Christmas speech. As the King starts speaking he take a sip of his favorite whiskey and before he can continue he falls over dead. Jon his chef and sometimes friend is first to his side. And so starts the mystery, with only 7 Royals and 2 employees in the castle…..whodunnit? 
I was throughly surprised how much I enjoyed reading the make believe Windsor. Yes I did guess how King Eric died, but everyone seem to have a reason to do the deed. The story did move at a fast pace and many times you want to shout what about him? The ending was not what I expected, which is a nice change of pace. Thank you NetGalley for this eARC. I am voluntarily posting an honest review after reading an Advance Reader Copy of this story.  #NetGalley #AMurderatBalmoral
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3.5. This is a fun mystery set within an alternative history (i.e., who would be the ruler of England if King Edward VIII hadn't abdicated the throne?), and I like that a character of color played the main investigator and protagonist; however, poor Jon is absolutely put through the wringer. He works tirelessly for King Eric and meticulously interviews each member of the family about his murder (making the book tedious at times, honestly), and his ending is...tough. I won't spoil it, but I felt like he deserved better and didn't care for the other characters. There are some twists I didn't anticipate, but the villains are also a little...cartoonish and cruel.
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