Member Reviews

As Jon the devoted Royal family cook prepares for Christmas dinner, King Eric declares he wants only the royal family members to be present at Balmoral Castle this year and sends the rest of the staff away. Leaving Jon to prepare the exhaustive feast by himself while also being bullied by the Head of Security. A blizzard rages outside, cutting off the castle from the outside world. As each royal family member is introduced, the reader gets a sense of the quirks and failures/follies of the family. Just as King Eric is about to commence his traditional family after dinner speech, he toasts those gathered, drinks his whiskey and promptly falls over dead. It is Jon, the cook, who surmises that the whiskey has been poisoned and is assigned the role of investigator by the family as the Head of Security is nowhere to be found. Lies, secrets and motives abound and when a second body is discovered the game changes drastically. Who has been selling family secrets to the television show, "The Royals?" Which among the family members has the most to lose if King Eric had completed his speech and named his successor? Which is more important, finding the killer(s) or maintaining the monarchy? A fun romp through the private lives of the royal family navigated by the ever stoic and loyal cook, Jon who may just have to lay down his life to protect "King and Crown." For fans of murder mysteries and the British Royal Family.

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I received an ARC of this title from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I have to say I love the premise of the book using an alternative English Royal Family in a modern-day setting including the existence of "The Crown" -like TV novella playing in the background. This novel has the feel of an Agatha Christie setting and characters. The murder at Balmoral is a classic who done it with the quirky set of characters and relationships. The cook, the entrusted employee of the King is thrown into serving as the detective in the midst of family Christmas, a blizzard, a disappearing security guard, and a lot of family disfunction. The problem I had was the relentless twist and turns that just plain tire you out. The mystery could have been solved in less time with less plot twists.

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I loved this unique mystery for its plot, characters, red herrings and the authors wonderful style of writing. Christmas Day at Balmoral and the King has sent everyone away except for family, his friend and Chef Jon and one security agent. There is a murder and logic says it’s one of the royal family. Jon is asked to act as impartial detective to find out the truth. But the truth as in all good murder mysteries is convoluted. I recommend this book for all mystery lovers, it’s the perfect red herring mystery.

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It's Christmas Day, and the fictional royal family of England, headed by King Eric, have gathered at Balmoral to celebrate the holiday, as they do every year. But this year, the king has dismissed everyone except his chef, Jon, and the security head, in order to have a real family holiday. Poor Jon! He has to do all the cooking, the serving, and the cleaning up afterwards. He didn't expect to have to solve a murder, too. With a blizzard raging outside, the family are trapped in their castle, and when murder strikes, it is up to Jon to discover which royal is also a royal murderer. I enjoyed the book, although I'm not sure I liked anyone in it. I sympathized with Jon and his circumstances, both private and re: his relationships with the royal family, but I'm not sure I cared for his blind devotion to the king. It also felt that some scenes dragged on a little too much, even though the book takes places over just 36 hours or so. However, kudos to Mr. McGeorge for giving me an ending I was not expecting at all, and which therefore delighted me. And all the descriptions of swirling snow and blinding wind certainly helped me escape these hot desert summer nights. An enjoyable and fairly quick read with a surprise ending that should entertain mystery readers who like locked door mysteries set in English country estates, and those still yearning for more Downton Abbey.

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This book has an interesting premise set in an alternate universe where the royal family is descended from a different branch. The book started out very slow and it took about to the halfway point for me to become interested. Then set up was good and characters well developed but ultimately it was a bit disappointing. The middle of the book is the best part. The beginning is slow and confusing and the end feels unnatural. The narrator uses a metaphor of a Russian doll when uncovering the secrets and motives and it feels like there was one or two more layers than necessary. Instead of feeling surprising in a good way it just gets convoluted.

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It would be easy enough, and fairly accurate, to sum this up as a mix of downton abbey and the crown if, perhaps, written by a not quite at the tippy top of her game Agatha Christie. To do so, however, would do no justice to the charm it has, something entirely its own.

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Wow wow wow! what a complex murder mystery. This story appeals to so many people- Agatha Christie lovers, cozy armchair mystery lovers, people who enjoy reading “historical(ish)” fiction- especially about the British royal family.., it keeps on giving. From the very first few pages where the characters in the books are described in short blurbs like they would be in a play, movie, or tv show script- I knew I was going to be very invested in this book. There is the perfect balance of clues for the readers to pick up on which at times are just red herrings while other factors are in play, Several times I found myself yelling at Jon to do something that seemed to obvious to me that wouldn’t be resolved until the last few pages. I will also say, I would have never ever guessed the ending to this mystery nor do I think I would have answered the King’s question correctly within 100 days. I loved how the story was told from the point of view of Jon. I cannot imagine this book being told any other way. Absolutely the perfect mystery to read by the fire during the winter, or in Texas in July apparently. This was such a good mystery novel and I will give major props to anyone who is able to guess what’s happening before the last 90% of the book.

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Thank you NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam for my copy of A Murder at Balmoral.
What's the best side course of a very merry Christmas feast? Murder, of course. When the Windsors, the royal family, find themselves locked in one of their many estates in the middle of a blizzard the worse thing on their mind was boredom at the extreme. What plays out in reality is the actual worse thing when the crown proves too heavy for the king. With secrets and mistrust also lying between the family it is up to Chef Jonathan to figure out who done it.
I will admit it was hard for me to get into the story at the beginning but once the murder takes place the pace and story get way better for me. I ended up spending all my night just devouring it.I would definitely recommend this to fans of Knives Out it has the same mystery element and family generation trauma. But overall, really did enjoy this read.

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This is a dysfunctional family on steroids with an unlikely detective and hero. I read this in an afternoon and was almost surprised by the ending. Really fun read.

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Overall, I really enjoyed this story. I do think it may struggle to find the right niche audience as I am fan of all British lit and the royal family so I understood and thoroughly enjoyed the different perspective offered in the story. With the addition of a snow storm and a ' locked room" format I was hooked. I think this book may need careful marketing to find the audience that will appreciate its unique story line and character portrayals.

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A Murder at Balmoral has so many things I love: murders, blizzards, castles, secrets, red herrings, family dysfunction, locked room, royalty, references to the Holmes canon, and Christmas. Everything is meticulously plotted.

We have alternate reality Windsors gathered at Balmoral for the Christmas holiday. No servants or protective service are there except for the chef and head of secret service. The King has private interviews with his family members then gathers them together for his Christmas Speech. Poisoned whiskey puts an end to that, and Jon Alleyne is left to investigate as the security man is also missing.

This book reminds me so much of Knives Out - and is just as good.

Highly recommend 4.4/5

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I am not familiar with the kings and queens of England, so this book confused me as to who was who. As a mystery, it seemed average with few twists and surprises. I might have enjoyed it more if I was British. The ending was disappointing.

I received a complimentary copy of this book to review.

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I just finished A Murder at Balmoral. It was a clever “who dun it” with all the fun twists and turns. I thought I had it figured out and could not put it down. I wanted to be right. (I was, kinda). I highly recommend for a cozy mysytery quick read.

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In this alternative universe where the Duke of Windsor married someone appropriate and didn’t abdicate, his son is now an elderly king surrounded by his family at Balmoral.

Jon Alleyne, personal chef to the king, is the only staff aside from the head of security who is at Balmoral with the royal family at Christmas. The king has ordered everyone gone but family, security has taken their cellphones to keep their isolation a secret, there’s a blizzard outside, and that’s what leads to this locked door murder mystery when the king’s whiskey is poisoned and he dies.

The premise relies on a new rule to succession where the current monarch can help to choose his successor along with input from the government. His oldest child isn’t automatically heir apparent. Once this is made clear—and accepted by the reader—it’s easier to proceed.

The king, his bitter alcoholic wife, his younger brother who has always skirted the law, his twin daughters, his commoner son in law, and his two young grandsons along with the chef, our protagonist, and the head of security are the only ones at Balmoral.

Jon is a loyal retainer, with the patience and diligence you’d expect from someone who’s served the royals for thirty years. He’s a likable character, although some of his observations stretch out of his point of view. He quickly realizes all of the family had the opportunity to poison the whisky and is voted to lead the investigation when the head of security is missing.

It’s very descriptive and the castle itself and the tension come alive. Jon does his best with the twisted family dynamics and everyone’s secrets, but he’s not a detective. If you’re expecting an Under Siege sort of thing, Jon is not Steven Segal, but I think that’s better. He walks the line between more than employee but not a family member.

Unfortunately, the conclusion to this enjoyable mystery felt a bit like a deus ex machina. Jon and the royal family kept my interest, but it felt more implausible as new elements came into play and the villain finally showed themselves.
3.5. I received an arc from NetGalley

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A Royal murder mystery. This book is set in an alternate timeline where Edward did not abdicate the throne for Wallace Simpson. The current king, Eric, and his family are at Balmoral for the Christmas holidays. However, things turn deadly when the king dies. The king’s chef, Jon, is determined to find out who killed the king, especially since it appears to be another member of the royal family.

I liked this book at first but then it became slow for me. I also didn’t like the ending at all - it felt very deus ex machina for this type of mystery.

I received my copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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The Royal family is alone at Balmoral for Christmas excepting two staff member, Chef Jon and head of security, Speck. In this locked room mystery, King Eric dies a sudden and suspicious death early in the book. Chef Jon must solve the mystery while simultaneously managing the needs and expectations of the royal family when Speck goes missing. Was it the King's unpopular and sometimes banned brother David, the king's wife Princess Marjorie who is holding a big secret, spoiled twins Princesses Emeline and Maud, overlooked son-in-law Thomas or one of the King's ambitious grandsons?

The book unfolds in chapters with alternating viewpoints and you learn quickly that almost everyone has secrets that he/she is hiding and no one is telling the whole truth. This book is full of surprises, humor and some spoiled unlikable royals that you will enjoy hating. I definitely did not see the ending coming!

4 stars for a delightfully fun cozy mystery. Thank you Penguin & NetGalley for this early review copy.

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4 stars. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Thanks for the opportunity to read this book!! I've been on a roll with my enjoying the books read and this one is no exception.

How to convey how much you had fun reading without giving away spoilers. This was a VERY solid fun, quick read. I manage to read in a day. I enjoyed the characters, the premise of the story was very different, which allowed me to have fun. This was the first time I've read this author and I guarantee it won't be my last.

Thanks for allowing me to read an advanced copy.

#AMurderatBalmoral #NetGalley

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this novel. I am rating this book based the stars due to lack of time to leave a full review. #NetGalley #AMurderatBalmoral

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A crowd-pleaser for sure. This book should be popular with a large variety of readers, plus it’s Christmas setting will make for a great holiday gift.

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I was expecting this to be a bit cozier than it ended up being. It ended up being just a tad bit of a thriller, I enjoyed it and it kept me guessing.

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