Title- A Three Dog Problem
Author- S. J. Bennett
Publication Date- 11 Nov 2021
Genre- Mystery Crime
Comments- I received a copy from Netgalley and Bonnier Books. With Thanks to S. J. Bennett and Victoria Joss at Bonnier books. I voluntarily leave a review and am in no way influenced by poison pen letters, thieves or corgis.
Queen Elizabeth II is having a royal nightmare.
A referendum divides the nation, a tumultuous election grips the United States – and the body of a staff member is found dead beside Buckingham Palace swimming pool.
Is it a tragic accident, as the police think? Or is something more sinister going on?
As Her Majesty looks for answers, her trusted assistant, Rozie, is on the trail of a treasured painting that once hung outside the Queen’s bedroom.
But when Rozie receives a threatening anonymous letter, Elizabeth knows dark forces are at work – and far too close to home. After all, though the staff and public may not realise it, she is the keenest sleuth among them. Sometimes, it takes a Queen’s eye to see connections where no one else can . . .
In the wake of the referendum which has divided the nation, the last thing the Queen needs is any more problems to deal with. But when a painting given to the Queen years ago turns up at the Royal Navy Exhibition, she knows there is something going on and is determined to get to the bottom of it.
As her able assistant Rozie starts to ask questions it seems that more than a small painting is at stake and it’s not long before the first body is found.
Now it’s up to Her Majesty to uncover the truth, all the while juggling her duties, her family, and the reputation of her great nation.
Taking place during that long-ago year of 2016 (Gosh, where has the time gone?) when we were all young, free, and innocent of the horrors to come, this book settles on our own Queen Elizabeth II and her sleuthing skills. This is the second book in the Queen Investigates series and I think these books are a true delight.
First of all the plot is nicely twisted and complicated without being too far-fetched and ridiculous. It is entirely possible that nefarious things are going on in Buckingham Palace and across the courts unnoticed. With the age of the buildings and all of the history, it’s not a stretch to expect secrets and mysteries beneath the surface.
There is such lovely attention to detail without forcing you to read gore or racist slander which is so prevalent in other crime books. This makes this series a really cosy mystery and I think this book would actually appeal to all ages. It puts me in mind of Agatha Christie; it’s gentle without ever becoming dull.
However, my favourite part of these books are the characters. And, as much as I love Rozie and her stalwart devotion to the Queen, it is the monarch herself who is the shiny star.
I wouldn’t call myself a royalist or even much of an interested bystander but these books made me adore our royal Regent. She comes across as so smart and capable but with an understanding of her own limitations as well as of those around her. I liked the little nods to an impish personality and her affectionate relationship with her husband (This takes place before his passing). She has endless compassion and insight where others see only the surface of a person.
Obviously, as the ever-ready monarch (who I am convinced is going to live forever), she has a wealth of human experience to look back on and use when she is detecting.
She pools all of her resources in order to get the job done but in such a way as not to come across as controlling, in fact, she lets others take the credit for her own deductions.
I love how she pulls at the threads, getting her closest companions to surreptitiously pass her information so that she can piece the crime together.
As much as I adored how subtly she manipulated events so that no one suspected her, I couldn’t help grow increasingly angry at the mansplaining, misogyny, and patronizing of her by others.
I swear if I had to deal with the condescending attitudes of those men for more than one day I would have beaten them all to death with the crown jewels and fed them to the Corgis.
I think, as someone who has only a passing knowledge of the intricacies of the royal household it might have been nice to have a family tree or guide to who’s who is the front of the book. Obviously, I know Charles and the Princes but the larger extended family of the Queen is a bit of a blur. I would have liked to have a list of servants or maybe even a map of the palace and locations.
Unless that is against some official secrets act or something.
In addition, the title harkens to Sherlock Holmes “A three Pipe problem,” so I think “A three pup problem” would have been a better title, but that’s just me. I love alliteration.
Other than that I found this such a great read, it was hard to put down and genuinely left me smiling at the end.
Well worth a read.