I have a dozen subjects in mind but some require research or other effort and others are simply not suitable. Sorry about that.
I finished a book last night, which is why this is a book review. Book Reviews are worthy subjects for blogging but don’t require much work or research, just reading a book and remembering a bit about it.
That, I find, is one of the difficult things about a book review. Someone has just spent a year or so sweating over this but after a few hours reading and half an hour typing, I feel qualified to pass judgement on it. That’s one of the reasons I don’t write many reviews, because I find it hard to offer criticism of somebody who has just done something I can’t do. On the other hand, as I normally only review books I enjoyed, I don’t do much criticising.
In a world where books need a gimmick, and there are plenty of novelty sleuths about, it must be difficult to com up with another variation. That’s all taken care of with this book – the investigator is Queen Elizabeth II, This is handled well, with plenty of great characterisation, a lot of detail and the feeling that S J Bennett (a) knows and loves the subject and (b) could write first class fiction in an y genre.
So – writing – good. Characterisation – excellent. Atmosphere – brilliant.
The pacing is acceptable, but it does seem to slow a little in places as the book progresses. This around the time when we seem to be bombarded with a few too many characters, who aren’t always well differentiated.
What about the plot? . It could do with being tightened up and I was left with a feeling that if I examined it too closely the whole thing would fall apart. There were just a couple of places where it seemed weak.
The ending – which is important in most mystery novels, has a fault that can’t be fully overcome. The Queen must remain in the background at all times and part of the tension in the book is that she is constrained taher than assisted by her position as monarch. That means the credit for solving the crime goes to another person, who explains it to the Queen. This is unsatisfactory, but it’s a logical part of the way the book works and would be hard to work round. Foe this reason, I’ll accept this fault.
I don’t feel quite as forgiving about the patchy pacing, the slight excess of slightly samey characters and my reservations over the plot. I will read the next one in the series, and am sure I will enjoy it, but it’s only four stars.
If there was no crime in the book I would still enjoy this as a comic novel featuring the Royal Family, which tends to indicate that the crime element needs a bit of a boost. It’s a great read but it’s not, unfortunately, a great whodunnit.