cover image All the Queen’s Men

All the Queen’s Men

SJ Bennett. Morrow, $27.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-305114-0

In Bennett’s enjoyable, good-natured sequel to 2020’s The Windsor Knot, Queen Elizabeth II once again assumes a Nero Wolfe–like role while her faithful assistant private secretary, former army officer Rozie Oshodi, handles the legwork and any necessary fisticuffs. What starts off as an investigation into how a favorite painting belonging to Her Majesty has ended up in the Ministry of Defence’s collection of maritime art soon leads to the discovery of an insidious poison pen campaign against female palace employees and a long-standing fraud scheme. Murder inevitably follows. Set in the autumn of 2016, the brouhaha surrounding Brexit and the U.S. presidential race provides an invigorating backdrop, allowing for appearances by Prime Minister Theresa May and commentary on the intrusive nature of the press. Highlights include the breakfast table talk between the queen and Prince Philip and, of course, references to the monarch’s beloved corgis. Bennett respectfully portrays the queen while providing edifying details of palace life. Dog lovers and Anglophiles will rejoice. Agent: Grainne Fox, Fletcher & Co. (Mar.)