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A Murder at Balmoral

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A Murder at Balmoral by Chris McGeorge
#fiftyninthbookof2022 #arc

This book details the fictional royal family of the Windsor line and the murder of its king. Not a spoiler, that’s in the summary. The royal chef is tasked with determining who is responsible, as it’s Christmas and only he and the royal family are at the castle.

This book was cute. Sort of a cozy seeming mystery. None of the characters are super well defined, and I would have liked for the ending to have a little more explanation. The reveal was a little rushed but it was a decent story until that point. If you want a simple quick read about made up royalty, this is for you.

I did quite enjoy the inclusion of The Monarch, a TV show that mimics real-life show The Crown and the discussion of its source material and its place in the British culture. I also loved the nod to The Usual Suspects on the cover.

Thank you to @netgalley and @putnambooks for the advance copy. (Pub date 10/25/22.)

#royalreads #balmoral #windsor

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What happens when a fictional King Eric of England decides to have a traditional family Christmas with only family (and the chef) at Balmoral during a blizzard? In the best of British traditions, someone kills him and it is up to Chef Jonathan as the outsider in the group (and frankly the only one with any degree of common sense or brains)to try to find out which of the Royal Family killed the king.

I'm still not sure if I liked this book or not, but the more I think about it, the more I lean towards "not". It had its moments. This was the classic Midsomer Murders aristocratic family where none of them can stand the others, the matriarch is a horrible, completely drunken woman, the uncle is somehow worse, everyone has secrets, everyone has motive, and part of the surprise is that they haven't killed each other before this. Is the King the kindly friend Jonathan has always seen him to be or is he someone completely different? Jonathan is in no way capable as a detective but at least he knows it. He's also the only one we get any level of character development on (such as it was), making it impossible to really get attached to or like any of the characters. Some of the surprises you absolutely see coming, others I was surprised by. The ending was definitely a surprise, but not one that left me happy in any way. It was more of a dark ending than I like, but it might be the kind of twist that appeals to some people. Overall not a book I'm sure I would generally recommend- and definitely one I imagine there are conversations over pushing back the release date on.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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A locked room mystery surrounding the murder of the King of England and the only suspects are all members of the royal family. I really liked the premise of this book and the idea of an alternate lineage of the royal family of Edward VIII if there had been no abdication. This all takes place on Christmas Day with minimal staff on had and the private chef of King Eric Windsor is tasked with finding the killer. This book had a lot of twists and turns that I didn’t see coming wish the end had been a little different in the reveal and what was behind it all but don’t want to give anything away. 3 stars for me on this thank you to NetGalley and PENGUIN GROUP Putnam for the arc of this novel publishing Oct 25, 2022 in exchange for an honest review.

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In this alternate history where Edward VIII didn't abdicate this throne, we have a new host of Windsor royals to follow. In a locked room mystery, the king mysteriously dies just as he is about to name a new heir. Whodunnit?

First 80%? Stellar. Last bit had me reeling. So much for the Crown. Speaking of the Crown, this time the TV show, I like the dodgy nods at it.

Best to go in blind. It's a wild ride.

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"The Crown meets Clue in this delightful locked-room mystery, sure to charm Agatha Christie fans and keep readers guessing to the end.

The king is dead. The killer is in the family. Solving this murder will be a royal pain.

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 king has been poisoned, someone in the family must have done it, and each one of them had opportunity and motive. Eric's beloved head chef, Jonathan, must now play detective. Why would one of the king's own family members want to kill him, and how did they do it? What happens in the castle usually stays in the castle, but this secret might be too big for these battlements. Jon is determined to expose the truth, even if it puts him in a killer’s crosshairs - and shakes the entire monarchy to its core."

Oddly perfect timing I'd say...

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Like a lot of people I enjoy reading about the royal family. Even a fictional royal family, as long as the setting is fairly real or close enough that I can geek out on the descriptions of places and castles. The opening of this novel tells us that it's set in a fictional world where Edward VIII did not abdicate and married someone deemed 'worthy'. Our fictional monarch, King Eric has called his family together, and strictly only his family, to celebrate Christmas 2022 at the very real Balmoral Castle. The rumor is that the King will be announcing his heir and successor to the crown.

Our narrator is the King's personal chef who is also a friend to his King. Jon, having grown up in Barbados, doesn't have family in England and genuinely loves and respects King Eric like family. That's why, when the King falls over dead as he begins his speech to his family, Jon is distraught. Against his protest the Windsors decide that Jon is the most objective person present to investigate what everyone has agreed is the murder, right in front of their eyes, of the late King. Multiple people in attendance are hiding secrets from the others. Some secrets are new and some are decades in the making.

I really enjoyed this novel. I was able to guess the murderer but not the details around why. There are also all the secrets that the family are keeping, the reveals were like mini twists that were also so fun. I enjoyed that this author made the scenes rich and was descriptive enough that I felt I was watching the book instead of reading it.

I can totally see why this was compared to Clue, but I can't agree with the AC association. I admit, AC is on my top 3 list of all time favorite authors, if not my number 1 so it's nothing against the author, and it's more about some huge shoes to fill.

I won't say much more because I don't want to spoil everything but I would definitely recommend this to my mystery and royal loving friends!

Look for A Murder at Balmoral, it will be released October 25th, 2022. A huge thanks to the author Chris McGeorge, publisher GP Putnam's Sons, and NetGalley for providing an e-ARC for my review purposes. This did not influence my review in any way.

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Average, 3-stars. I thought the story was really good until the ending, the whole government thing really just felt rushed, I would've enjoyed a better whodunnit if the storyline was kept between the family members. It had the setup to be a great Christmas Murder mystery, but fell a little short.

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A locked room murder mystery of a royal person at Christmastime? I couldn’t sign up for this ARC fast enough! This book was filled with twists and turns, led by a reliable narrator, longtime chef for the Windsor family, who’s just trying to figure out who killed his friend the King. Ultimately, the ending fell flat for me; it covered all angles and answered every question but I was personally left unsatisfied by it. But if you’re looking for a cozy, holiday murder mystery filled with juicy secrets and an unexpected finale, “A Murder at Balmoral” is the story for you!

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I read about half of an advanced reader copy. I suppose this is a cozy mystery and a closed room mystery. It was just silly to me. The supposition, as written in a note at the beginning of the book, is that instead of Edward Windsor abdicating the throne that he marries “appropriately” and the succession differs, and there is a murder as a result. What we get is not King Edward III but a King Eric and his drunk wife, “slimy” brother, and awful progeny. All set in a a scenario that would never happen with he chef acting as detective. Disappointing read from a decent author.

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This was such a perfect and fun setting. For fans of murder mystery, Knives Out, or the game of Clue! The pacing was great and I felt the story flowed well, but I almost wanted more! I liked the characters but didn’t love any of them. It was a twisty and well crafted who done it for sure!

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A Murder at Balmoral was a fun, who-done-it that kept me guessing through most of the story. The main character is a chef for the Royal Family of England (not the current one - the author uses a few liberties to make this story work), who is spending Christmas at one of their most remote residences, Balmoral Castle. Most of the staff has been dismissed to be with their own families, so only the chef and head of security are there to help out. We see the events unfold through Chef Jonathan's eyes, including the apparent poisoning of King Eric. Everyone's a suspect, and Chef Jonathan is given the ominous task of trying to figure out who the killer is when the head of security goes AWOL. This is a cleverly told story, and there are many twists and turns as you come to know the royal family better, with all of their idiosyncrasies and entitled views. Each person had the opportunity and motive, so there are a lot of possibilities for readers to consider. I was both intrigued and disgusted with the character's in this book, and I was glad that it wasn't too simple of a story to keep me engaged. The ending was perfect, too! Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin for the opportunity to read this delightful book!

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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.

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.

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This is a classic locked room murder mystery with a few twists. The location is remote Balmoral Castle during a raging blizzard and the folks within the castle are the Royal Family...but there is a twist even there: this is the Royal Family of an alternate reality where there was no Wallis Simpson and no abdication. The current King, Eric Tudor, gathers his extended family to the castle for an old fashioned family Christmas with only his long time Chef and one security guard staying with the family. When the King dies quite suddenly from an apparent poisoning, Chef Jon is put in charge of the investigation. There are secrets revealed, family relationships are tested, and a roller coaster ride of twists that will keep the reader guessing until the very satisfying conclusion.

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What an interesting premise! A "locked room" who-dun-it but set in an alternate history with a completely different Royal Family. I really liked Jonathan the chef, who was the unlikely detective here. Quick & fun read. My sincere thanks to Net Galley & the publisher for an advanced copy of this book, which I voluntarily read and reviewed. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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A Murder at Balmoral
Genre: Thriller
Format: Kindle eBook
Date Published: 10/25/22
Author: Chris McGeorge
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Pages: 384
GR: 3.49

I requested a digital advanced readers copy from NetGalley and G.P. Putnam’s Sons and providing my opinion voluntarily and unbiased.

Synopsis: 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 is about to name his successor. But as he raises a glass of his favorite whiskey, he drops dead. The king has been poisoned, someone in the family must have done it, and each one of them had opportunity and motive. Eric's beloved head chef, Jonathan, must now play detective. Why would one of the king's own family members want to kill him, and how did they do it?

My Thoughts: As with any family, this one is not without complete dysfunction. The one person who does not have a grudge against the King, Chef Jonathan, has to investigate as to who could have done this. The pacing was good on this whodunit murder mystery. While I love a good murder mystery, I struggled a little with this one. I think maybe I had a hard time because I could not connect with any of the characters and while the pacing was good, the flow was different as some things was deep dived and other things breezed over. I was a little disappointed for the ending, I was hoping for more. This was not a bad book, I just wanted more. I know this will be a great book for some readers.

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A bit of a lackluster whodunit with a strange twist.

Let's get the obvious out of the way: the timing on this book could be better, through no fault of the author. Currently it's scheduled to be published in October 2022, but I'm sure someone's weighing the pros and cons of moving the release date as I write this. While this book is about the death at Balmoral of the reigning Windsor monarch, it's not exactly the Windsor family you'd recognize. This takes place in an alternate universe in which Edward did not abdicate for Wallis Simpson and instead married an acceptable bride and fathered a line of Windsor royals--of which, the ill-fated King Eric is one. (In other words, the Charles/William/Harry branch of the family likely still exists, just further down in the line of succession.) Yes, in this parallel universe, there is still a Netflix series about the life of the current Windsor on the throne--only it's The Monarchy and not The Crown. And if you are looking for a skeevy black sheep who is reviled for probable criminal acts, well, it turns out this branch of the Windsors has one, too. In other words, it's like your Windsors, but not.

King Eric has decided to have a family Christmas at Balmoral and has sent away all but a few staff members. As he prepares for his annual Christmas speech, he brings his family in one by one for chats that leave them shaken. After Christmas dinner and just as he begins his speech, King Eric takes of sip of whiskey, keels over, and is dead within moments. His loyal chef, Jonathan, suspects he's been poisoned...and with no one around but the king and his family, it's probable that one of the family members is to blame. The family nominates him to begin an investigation, and he become an amateur Poirot.

Likeable as Jon is as the everyman thrust into an unenviable position amongst this cast of potential murderers, he's a terrible detective. Not just because he follows strange red herrings, but it's like he's never once seen or read a mystery to know how to begin to unravel one. The killer (or killers?) is obvious, as is the method, and the twists and turns are a bit outlandish. And the ending is so distasteful--I'm not a monarchist by any stretch, but at a certain point it seems like the point of the book is less the mystery and more the rousing of antimonarchical sentiments.

Anyway, if you're here for the whodunit, you're about to have a "meh" time. If you are here to skewer some royals, well, grab your popcorn and settle in, because you'll be creeped out by them all by the time you hit the final page.

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This was a cozy, locked-room mystery set at Balmoral with an alternative British royal family. Since Queen Elizabeth II had just died, I decided to give it a try. There were better ways to honor the late queen, I’m sure.

As a mystery, it was okay. Not the best I’ve ever read but not the worst. The addition of an alternative royal family, rather than making the book something special, instead tended to make it unrealistic and, at times, silly. Starting with the easily corrected misuse of the term Princess Royal, there were things that made little sense and distracted from the story.

Despite the distractions, I did read the entire book. While the mystery was interesting, the characters were certainly a mixed bag and the writing could have used some help. However, it was the ending that really brought this story down. Not my cup of tea!

My copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to the the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review it.

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True locked room mystery, this time in Balmoral castle and the suspects are the royal family. Interesting reading this the week of Queen Elizabeth II' s death at the scene of the crime. As seen through the perspective of the chef who ends up being the sleuth. this alternate Windsor royal family certainly can be labeled as dysfunctional. Family secrets are an integral part of the story, I enjoyed it and really liked the ending

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overall this reminded me a lot of Agatha Christie's- Death on the Nile. I will sy the book didn't really pick up until half way through and it was slow to get into. I liked the alternative timeline but it was hard to keep all the characters separate since they had the same initial. the ending I thought was good with the twists and turns but I would love to have seen the exposure at the end.

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I received an Advanced Reader copy from Netgalley. The title caught my eye. This was before the Queen died at Balmoral. If you like Agatha Christie mysteries, you will enjoy this book. There are so many red herrings that I was not able to guess who did it. The secrets that are revealed keep you guessing. Jon, the chef, is the main character. I respected his thought process while trying to uncover the murderer. The Royal Family has secrets that need protection. Who is really looking out for the family? Highly recommend that you read this novel.

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