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All the Queen's Men: Her Majesty the Queen Investigates #2    by SJ Bennett order for
All the Queen's Men
by SJ Bennett
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2022 (2022)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Rheta Van Winkle

When Queen Elizabeth saw the small painting of Brittania hanging at an exhibition of maritime art in Portsmouth, she knew that it was her own, a personal gift from the artist that used to hang outside her bedroom. The painting had disappeared at some point.

Although Philip didn't think much of it, she liked it and wanted it back in its place, and she thought that this relatively easy task would be no problem for her Assistant Private Secretary Rozie Oshodi. Rozie was extremely capable, so the Queen asked her to find out how the painting had gone from the Royal Collection Trust to Portsmouth as well as making sure it was returned. This seemingly small request turned out to endanger several people who worked in the palace and turned up mysteries that at first seemed totally unrelated.

Unpleasant poison pen notes were received by several of her employees even before she saw the painting. The death of head housekeeper Cynthia Harris, who had gotten several of these nasty messages, seemed to be accidental, but Elizabeth wasn't convinced of this and called in Detective Chief Inspector David Strong to look into it. Harris was not a pleasant person, so any number of people might have wanted to get rid of her. It just didn't seem possible that she had actually been murdered on the palace grounds.

Rozie was able to help the Queen ferret out the complicated route to solving the mysteries surrounding the painting and Cynthia's death. Rozie is a wonderful character, tall, strong, and intelligent with an excellent education and a background that included time in the army in Afghanistan. She had a positive attitude that allowed her to ignore the slights that she perceived being directed at her because of her status as a racial minority among the mostly white employees of the Queen.

All the Queen's Men offers a complicated and interesting look inside British royalty. American readers would be advised to make lists of characters and their places in the castle hierarchy as they read. There are a lot of initials used when referring to the Queen's men or government departments, such as QPS for Queen's Private Secretary and MOD for Ministry of Defence and even places such as BP for Buckingham Palace. I referred to my list frequently, but enjoyed the book thoroughly in spite of this. I highly recommend this delightful, entertaining book.

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