by Rhys Bowen
Series: Royal Spyness #15
Publication Date: October 7, 2021
Genre: Fiction, Historical, Mystery
What to say? This is one of Bowen’s books that has layers. On the one hand, it’s very Christmassy, so it ticks that box; on the other hand, I was ready to say that the mystery really wasn’t much of a mystery.
The first half of the book focuses on Christmas at Sandringham, with casual mentions of accidental deaths that took place the year before on Boxing day. Another death occurs half-way through the book that smacks of accidental death, even though readers know it won’t be. But it’s not until the final 25% that the story gets really interesting. The author takes the story in a direction I wouldn’t have said most cozy writers had the courage to go, and ends it in much the same way. I liked it, and it bumped my rating .5 star.
It might have been a higher rating but the book wraps up with cliched character development. I suppose it’s part of the natural order of things for most people, but I’ve rarely read murder mysteries that make procreation work to the advantage of the series. I say rarely, but I can’t think of one mystery series that brought babies into the mix that I can do more than tolerate.
The author, as usual, involves a note at the end, detailing the parts of the story that are historically accurate and the parts where she mixed the real people with fictional events – I always appreciate these clarifications, because sometimes fact is stranger than fiction.