Cover Image: A Murder at Balmoral

A Murder at Balmoral

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Member Reviews

a great 'whodunnit' and the description of 'The Crown' meets "Clue' was very apt. This was an interesting story, especially as it paralleled certain world events taking place currently, but that just drew me into the story more

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An exciting concept of a royal mystery if a few things in the House of Windsor were different. A locked door mystery with royal drama, puzzles a plenty, and plenty of hints to some real life royal scandals. The pacing of the story was a little off for me, and I found myself feeling like entire chapters were a waste of time- but I think for some people this mystery will be the perfect cozy winter read!

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Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for an e-galley in exchange for an honest review. I have to admit, reading this during the mourning period for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was...a bit eerie. Considering she passed away at Balmoral, the book took place at Balmoral, King Eric was in Her place in the story...it was all a bit surreal. All of that said, it was an interesting book!! I found myself mulling over the story and characters and "whodunnit" when I wasn't reading it, which is always a good sign-in my estimation-of a good mystery novel. I was so off base on the answer, but given the juxtaposition of what is currently going on in England...well-McGeorge couldn't have had eerier or more on-the-nose-timing if he had tried, so perhaps that colored my takeaway from this novel. Overall, this was a great locked-room type mystery, with an intriguing cast of characters and a great amateur sleuth at the helm.

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It seems disrespectful to be reviewing this title as the Queen just died at Balmoral.
But this is a fictional monarch(a King)and an imaginary royal family loosely based on the Windsors.
The family has gathered at Balmoral for the Christmas celebration. At the King's request all staff with the exception of Jon, the chef who has served the King for 37 years, has been sent away. When a blizzard sets in the stage is set for the locked-castle mystery.
After dinner the family gathers in the drawing room to open gifts. The wine and whiskey flow freely but everyone sobers up quickly when after a sip of his drink, the
King drops dead!
Jon, as the only non-royal is appointed to lead an investigation. He quickly discovers that everyone has a motive and his job is to pinpoint the killer.
Long-held family resentments and a shocking secret are revealed. In addition, it becomes clear that the King had planned to dissolve the monarchy!
This is a fantastic mystery with lots of wonderfully drawn characters. It will keep you guessing until the end!

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Murder at Balmoral is a fun romp of a murder mystery. It features many of the tropes often found in this genre, including a cast of characters with secrets that are possible motives. red herrings, and a twist at the end (although I did guess "whodunit".) While the plot does bog down at points, the book generally keeps the reader's interest through the unfolding of tantalizing details and clues.

The interesting premise of the story is that the Duke of Windsor never abdicated and England is now ruled by King Eric, a monarch from another branch of the family. King Eric has requested that the entire family join him for Christmas where he plans to make a major announcement (possibly abdication). The plot thickens when a blizzard develops and the family is trapped in the castle along with their head of security and their chef Jon. When Eric is mysteriously murdered, suspicion falls on each family member. Jon is selected to lead the investigation and he questions each family member in turn.

Jon is an interesting protagonist. As chef and friend of the king, he has insights about all the characters and uses these insights to guide his investigation. Additionally, because he is black, and not a family member, he experiences racism and classism as each family member reveals their true personality. This allows for some subtle social commentary.

The book did get slow for me when Jon starts the investigation by separately interviewing each family member. There are a lot of family members, resulting in a lot of chapters devoted to this purpose. I started to feel like the narrative needed to move forward earlier in the book.

There were also aspects of the narrative that stretched credibility: Jon running outside in a blizzard without a coat, the king's secretary suddenly appearing after supposedly leaving the castle, the inability to connect with the outside world in any way, etc. However, in general the author kept all the clues and plot details straight.

The ending did feel rushed as if the author was done. However, I did think the final twist was satisfying.

Fun book that will likely appeal to royal watchers and mystery enthusiasts..

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I was enticed to read A Murder at Balmoral by Chris McGeorge, since it was aimed at fans of Clue, The Crown and Agatha Christie. I love a good puzzling mystery as well as royal fiction, so it sounded like a good fit for me. I was pulled into the early parts of the book where the royal family gathers together for Christmas with minimal staff and a raging blizzard outside. When the king dropped dead during his speech, I was prepared for an intense mystery. My expectations were only partially met.

The short chapters with cliffhanger endings compelled me to read on, and the writing was strong, but things went downhill after the sudden reappearance of one of the characters.

While I enjoyed most of this book, some plot points near the end seemed very out of character. I also think I would have enjoyed it more it if had taken place in a historical period rather than in a contemporary setting. It is hard to believe in this day and age that a royal family of means would ever find themselves completely cut off from the rest of the world.

I will still recommend this to diehard murder mystery buffs who enjoy a locked room mystery.

Thank you to Penguin Group Putnam and NetGalley for the e-arc in exchange for my honest review.

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This is a closed door murder mystery featuring an alternate version of the British royals - these are the folks that would be in charge if the King had not made his proverbial speech (and I am referencing that Colin Firth movie that I did not see here; I don't know any of these people's names, perhaps he was a George?). Anyway, the king is about to announce his successor when he keels over from poisoning. The only person that could've done it was one of the other royals.

Ok, so by that pretty terrible description, you can probably tell that I'm not terribly up to speed on all things royal (I legit didn't realize Balmoral was a real place until the death of the Queen), but I do like books about royals and a good closed door mystery so I was in! Unfortunately the book didn't deliver in quite the way I wanted; though I think your mileage will vary based on your expectations. I was expecting something a little more salacious than what I got. Like, I wanted some hot dishy scandals, y'all, but since the main character was the chef and, you know, rather inept at the whole detective game, we spend a lot of the time wandering around the castle or minding our food timers or traipsing around outside in a blizzard for reasons that didn't make a ton of sense to me. Hot goss aside, the real issue for me was the total lack of character development - the only person who gets developed is the main character who is interesting in theory, but in actuality is quite boring and more than a bit sad (his entire adult life was basically just "chef to the royals" and how sad is that?). The mystery itself was somewhat interesting - I guessed certain aspects immediately and other things were a surprise, but by the end, I still didn't care about any of the characters so the whole thing fell flat.

I think there's a reader for this book, but I am not that reader. I will keep it in my back pocket for adult reader's advisory, though - lots of folks love a mystery. 2 Goodreads stars, 3 Netgalley stars - it was ok, I will recommend it. Thanks to Netgalley and G.P. Putnam's Sons for the eARC which I received in exchange for an unbiased review. A Murder at the Balmoral is out in late October, but you can put your copy on hold now!

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I started reading this right after Queen Elizabeth’s death at Balmoral Castle and thought of the act of reading and reviewing it as a tribute to the queen. Although the mystery of the story involves a totally fictional Windsor family, the question of the value of the monarchy that is raised here has also been a topic in the news.
The story reads like a classic drawing room mystery with a murder — in this case King Eric, 80 year monarch and patriarch of a very dysfunctional family — and a number of potential suspects, all members of the royal family, and each with a specific motive.
The part of the “detective” is reluctantly played by Jonathan, chef and loyal friend to the king for 30 years. He is suffering a double burden of a terminal illness and being disrespected by all the survivors. It is heartbreaking to see his faithful service rewarded with such contempt.
The story takes many twists, (some of them could stand some editing) and the ending was somewhat of a letdown, but overall, I’m glad to have read it. And somehow, I have a sneaking suspicion, many members of this royal family are just as flawed.

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This was a fun concept. I expected a fluffy read, and that is what I got. That is not a bad thing - although I must say it didn't read as quickly or easily as I expected it to, given the type of cozy mystery it was presented as.. It was fine, but not my favorite of the genre. The characters felt a little overdone, even for a locked room cozy, and the plot just didn't quite click along for me the way I thought it would.

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An interesting premise and told from a fun perspective. A good cast of characters though they could have used a little fleshing out— the uncle and wife seemed like caricatures While I couldn’t keep the two sisters straight. Some parts were overly verbose and dragged a little but overall it was a fun intrigue.

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*I received a copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for this opportunity*

As a fellow reviewer put it, this book is a delicious mix of Clue, the crown, and Christie. Set in an alternate modern day, A MURDER AT BALMORAL is set at the beloved Balmoral (where, somewhat ironically, the actual Queen just passed) during a blinding snowstorm. After making the unconventional decision to have Christmas dinner with just the family and two staff members, tragedy (of a calculated sort) strikes when the king winds up dead. What follows afterwards is a classic whodunit of royal proportions.

With the immigrant chef providing the bulk of the narration, BALMORAL provides some social commentary on the role and purpose of the Royal family. However, the book ended up falling flat for me. Perhaps it was the pacing or the dues ex machina ending, but I didn't find myself loving this bok as much as I wanted to.

Overall, this is a good pick for anyone looking to satisfy a royal itch or just settle down with a good mystery on a cold night.

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McGeorge’s premise of an alternate royal family is interesting and the characters where complex and well written, especially the MC, Jon. I also appreciated the commentary on the roles of the monarchy in today’s society. I do have to say the murder mystery setup was intriguing and had my interest piqued but in the end it felt like it was a bit too over-the-top and I really didn’t; like the way it ended. Despite my disappointment in the ending, I am interested in reading more from this author. So, if you looking for a wintery locked-room mystery, with tons of royal drama and a very twisty ending this book might be right up your alley.

I received this eARC thanks to NetGalley and PENGUIN GROUP Putnam, G.P. Putnam's Sons in exchange for an honest review. Publishing dates are subject to change.

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Really enjoyed the cast of characters in this suspenseful novel. The story had a very Agatha Christie feel to it, as all characters had motive and opportunity to commit the murder with very few clues given to point you to any single suspect.

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Set at Balmoral, with the royal family trapped inside by a major snowstorm, McGeorge’s mystery has moments of great entertainment, but is flawed through characters that are flat. The chef “hero” is portrayed as weak, the royal family members are classically flawed and predictable, the villains are no surprise. It’s an entertaining read, just don’t expect too much of it..

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Love closed room or isolated location mysteries? How about a royal castle closed off from the outside world by walls, key-coded gates, and a raging blizzard? Then add in the suspicious death of the king, the fact that only the Royal Family, their head of security and their chef are present, and you have a real problem.

Several things make this mystery harder to solve. The story follows the chef, Jon Alleyne, as he works to singlehandedly prepare the Christmas dinner and winds up trying to figure out what or who caused the king's death. Readers see and hear what Jon does, so we only have the same clues he is working from. The family itself is full of secrets and there is no way to know if any of them have a bearing on the situation. The castle is rumored to be haunted. Could that play a part in the tragedy? And the king had requested that the family be left alone for the holiday, so Jon really is on his own in protecting the family while the security chief patrols the perimeter of the grounds.

This story weaves together family dynamics, the pressure of living out lives in the public eye at all times, the aging king and the need to name a successor, the control of the establishment over the lives of the family, the expectations of the nation, and Jon's status as an outsider. Can someone not originally born in England or a royal himself hope to understand the motivations and desires of this family?

Readers will be as frustrated as Jon at the limits of what he can do with no help from the outside and members of the family unwilling to be honest with him. The fact that he is one of us, the commoners, makes us root for him to succeed.

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This is an overly dramatic murder mystery set at Balmoral Castle in (of course) a blizzard on Christmas Day. The only British non-royal present is the chef, who unfolds the whodunnit (along with a fabulous dinner). The members of the Royal Family have over-the-top personalities, opinions of each other and definite ideas about expected public personas. The conversations, thoughts as well as plot can be construed as silly (to the point humorous) or overly drawn out. Everyone has a secret; some don't even know they do. Will the blizzard ever end?

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4 stars

A Murder at Balmoral, an homage to all things Clue, The Crown, and Christie, is a cozy mystery that feels tailor made to the upcoming holiday season. Imagining a world where Edward VIII didn't abdicate the throne, we are introduced to a royal family not dissimilar to its real-world equivalent and when the king is poisoned on Christmas day, any one of them could be a suspect.

I really enjoyed McGeorge's choice to utilize the palace chef Jonathan as our main perspective as his outsider status both as a commoner and as an immigrant made for both a great viewpoint to the mystery and some interesting social commentary. I can clearly see the Poirot influence as we spend a large portion of the book doing individual interviews, but I personally would have loved some more clues dropped along the way to really make the multiple reveals all the more hard-hitting. That being said, I immensely enjoyed A Murder at Balmoral and I think that it will bring many readers a good deal of joy as we transition into the colder months.

Thank you to NetGalley and G.P. Putnam's Sons for an ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review!

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Thank you G.P. Putnam's Sons for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!

What a fun idea for a book! Going into this I thought it would be based on the real royal Windsor family so I was a bit surprised the characters were actually fictional. I did feel like it was a bit hard to keep track of all the different characters but the list in the front of the book definitely helped.

The plot line is one I felt could be from an Agatha Christie book and I definitely got the Clue vibes talked about in the description. I was kept guessing until the very end which is always nice in mystery books. This is definitely entertaining and enjoyable to read!

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I loved the family drama, the twists and turns, the royal family, the setting, the crime. It was all fabulous and really felt like an Agatha Christie novel. I tried to figure out who the killer was and I had it, at one point, but the way they were discovered was not at all what I expected. I probably had 4 different scenarios at one point.
The ending wasn't as satisfying as I wanted it to be. I even had to go back and reread a bit to make sure I didn't miss anything.
Still a great, quick mystery.

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The description "The Crown meets Clue" had my attention immediately. A locked door mystery at Balmoral at Christmas?!?! Yes, please.

I thought the premise of the book was original, and I liked that the royal family is a fictional one with some minor similarities to the actual royal family. Considering that this book will probably appeal most to cozy mystery fans, or classic mystery readers who are looking for something different, I thought the pacing was great.

I will definitely be suggesting it to readers who enjoy mysteries, especially of the locked door variety.

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