This is the first book in a series where Queen Elizabeth secretly solves crimes whilst being royal and carrying our her queenly duties. I heard about it from a Harper Collins promotional email that included a blurb by Ruth Ware. (Speaking of royalty!) If anyone can name drop, it would be Her Majesty. Apart from the various Sirs and Ladies, the Obamas get a mention and so does Putin. Wow! Nobody likes Putin, least of all the Queen. There is so much charm in this book. “They saved the Bentley for special occasions, so it still smelled of fresh leather, rather than old dog and the cleaning fluid they used to disguise the smell of dog- with limited success.” Oh, how I wish that entry had come from my journal! Then there’s this, “The young man had had enough enough of that downstairs and there were only so many unorthodox lovers one could take at Windsor Castle in one night. Even Philip would think so, surely?”
Windsor Castle is definitely a character here. I visited Windsor on Sunday, August 17, 1986. I’m sure I enjoyed the tour, but I don’t have many memories, so I tried to find a book with a floor plan so that I could track Her Majesty’s comings and goings. The first book I got was a brief history, with tiny print and few pictures. I’m waiting on another that will hopefully have a floor plan. I’d like to track the geographic logistics of the movements of the suspects in the murder. Oh, I didn’t mention the murder yet? The royal couple hosted a “dine and sleep” in the early spring of 2016. Charles had added Yuri Peyrovski, a wealthy Russian whose support Charles was seeking for one of his pet projects, and Yuri’s beautiful wife, Masha to the guest list. For entertainment, Maksim Brodsky, a young Russian pianist performed, and unfortuantely became the murder victim. Law enforcement officials marveled at the audacity of one who would commit such a crime at Windsor Castle. But the Queen knew better, and proceeded to work quietly in the background with the help of her assistant private secretary, Rozie Oshodi, to direct the investigation in the right direction.
One last charming thing. The Queen was to perform an investiture in the Waterloo Chamber of the castle with the Queen’s Gurkha Orderly Officers in attendance. She had reintroduced the practice in 1954 by commanding that two Gurkha officers be nominated annually, requiring them to attend Her at official functions from time to time. Gurkhas were of Nepalese nationality recruited for the British Army. Gurkhas are synonymous with Nepal, the term derived from “Protector of Cows.” Am I alone in seeing the irony here?
THE BEAUTY: The attic corridors above the Visitors Apartments housed the Edwardian etchings which were deemed unsuitable for the downstars rooms.
THE FOOD: If the journlists can be believed, The Queen drinks 4 cocktails a day, the first one, shortly before lunch, is the Dubonnet Cocktail below. The others are, a dry gin martini at lunch, with a glass of wine and chocolate to end the meal. The last drink is at bedtime, a glass of champagne.
- 1 ½ ounce Dubonnet
- 1 ½ ounce London dry gin, preferably Beefeater
- Orange twist, for garnish
In a mixing glass half filled with ice, combine the Dubonnet and gin, and stir until well chilled, about 30 seconds. Strain into a coupe glass. Squeeze the orange twist over the surface of the drink and drop it into the glass.