From the king of the locked room mystery, Chris McGeorge, comes a cosy crime that is THE WINDSOR KNOT meets KNIVES OUT.
Christmas Day 2022.
During a violent snowstorm, the Royal Family gather at Balmoral Castle for a traditional Christmas. As per King Eric's wishes, almost all of the servants have been dismissed. The large castle is inhabited by only eight people - King Eric, his wife Princess Marjorie, his brother Prince David, his two daughters Princesses Emeline and Maud, Maud's husband Thomas Crockley, Maud's sons Princes Matthew and Martin, the royal chef Jonathan Alleyne, and head of security Tony Speck.
Jonathan Alleyne is incredibly busy handling a royal Christmas dinner all by himself, juggling not only his job but the job of a servant as well. Tony Speck does not seem interested in helping him, disappearing at intervals into the blizzard to patrol the grounds. As Jon juggles all responsibilities himself, the King is preparing for the day. At 80 years old, and with new succession rules in effect, he has decided to step down as ruler and recommend a successor. He will announce it to the family in a speech after dinner. He knows that his speech will not please everyone but he knows it is the right thing to do, and they will all see that in time. It is to be the end of an era. And it will be. Although not necessarily in the way Eric intends.
As the day continues and Jonathan Alleyne looks over a contented and full Royal Family in the drawing room, the King rises to make his speech. He raises a glass of his favourite whiskey from a bottle that has just been unsealed. He takes a sip and drops dead.
The remaining Royal Family panic as the possibility of murder is introduced. The blizzard outside is rampant with no hope of any rescue. There is no phone signal and no wi-fi. Tony Speck is missing. The whiskey has been poisoned and it was only one of the Royal Family who had the opportunity to do the deed. They reluctantly appoint Jonathan to investigate the matter and find out which one of them could be capable of such a horrible crime.
Jon is confronted with a hopeless case, challenging all he's come to know of the royals. The King is dead. Why would one of his own family want to kill him? The answer will shake the monarchy, and the entire British Empire, to its very core.
Chris McGeorge studied MA Creative Writing (Crime/Thriller) at City University London where he wrote his first novel as his thesis. His interests are broad - spanning film, books, theatre and video games. He is a member of the Northern Crime Syndicate, a supergroup of writers from Northern England. He lives in County Durham with his partner and many, many animals.
He can be found on Twitter at @crmcgeorge.