The Balmoral Incident

Written by Alanna Knight
Review by Jen Black

When Rose McQuinn holidays on the Balmoral Estate with her stepdaughter Meg and her deerhound Thane, she soon senses all is not as it should be. Two deaths occur, but she is told they are accidents and she must not worry. The protocols that surround the royal family make life difficult for Rose. Her step-brother forbids her to do any sleuthing, and poor Thane has little of the freedom he enjoys on Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh. Relationships within the cottage are difficult. Step-brother Vince is often on duty as resident medic at the Castle. Olivia, his wife, invites an old school friend, Mabel Penby Worth, to stay at the cottage, and Rose finds Mabel rather disagreeable not only because she refers disparagingly to Thane as That Dog, but because of her general attitude that things are below her expectations.

The story unfolds slowly, interspersed with glowing descriptions of the countryside around Balmoral in Edwardian times. The appearance of a young man who reminds Rose of her first husband becomes a regular occurrence, and Rose must decide if he is a force for good or evil. Some readers might wish for more detail of the actual murder mystery and the plot behind it. Though there are red herrings aplenty, not all of them are related to the murder, so the reader must beware of leaping to conclusions. The mystery of Thane, who, like Peter Pan, fails to grow old, is never explained – and perhaps that is as it should be.