Rating: 3 out of 5.

This is a good locked-door mystery set in an alternative universe England where King Edward VIII did not abdicate and marry an American divorcee. In this story, his lineage sits on the throne. As the story begins, King Eric has required his immediate family attend Christmas as Balmarol and he’s sent all of the staff away, except his chef Jonathon and his head security officer. During an after dinner speech, King Eric begins to speak, begins choking, and falls to the ground. Moments later, he’s dead. Each member of the family has motive and opportunity, is keeping secrets, and they’ve elected the chef to investigate the murder.

Jonathon is overwhelmed by the responsibility of the investigation, not to mention trying to question the royal family. I could feel his discomfort as he attempts to do right by the King and discover who poisoned him, all while keeping his own painful secret. As things become progressively worse, and Jonathon begins to worry he’ll never solve the mystery, tragedy strikes again.

This was a fun, quick read. The story was fairly well-paced, and Jonathon made a good sleuth, despite his reservations. The royal family were interesting, although they were depicted as more stereotypical archetypes than fully fleshed out characters. The twists and turns were fun, although I have to admit, I wasn’t a big fan of the way the mystery turned out. However, the ending was satisfying.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam. All opinions are my own.