A local hiker slips down a hillside near Scotland’s Balmoral Estate and accidentally discovers a partially buried skull. Aberdeen’s Metropolitan Police force must discover who the victim is and under what circumstances the death has occurred. Former royal aide and now Detective Inspector Vanessa Fiske and Detective Sergeant Colin MacNee are put in charge of the investigation. Under the watchful eye of Detective Chief Superintendent Campbell Esslemont – who prefers to keep things as low-key and make as few waves as possible – Fiske and MacNee uncover a long-hidden conspiracy that can be traced back to the mid-1960s and the Bloody Royals.
Vanessa Fiske’s unfortunate history with a member of the royal household soon complicates matters and threatens the outcome of the case. UK and Scotland politics clash, further complicating matters, yet DI Fiske’s dogged determination to bring those responsible for a decades-old murder pays off in a climactic and satisfying ending.
There are quite a number of characters in Bloody Royals, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it certainly kept me on my toes. This is certainly not a quick poolside read. As someone unfamiliar with Scotland/UK politics and British law enforcement procedures I was worried I’d have trouble following the storyline. Fortunately, Alan Alexander’s writing is such that he has a way of explaining the story without stopping to discuss the particulars of a political system that might be foreign to some readers. This allowed the plot to progress nicely without any disruptions or unnecessary distractions.
Alan Alexander has written a wonderfully entertaining thriller, full of twists, turns and surprises. I especially appreciated the manner in which Mr. Alexander portrayed DI Vanessa Fiske. She’s a strong, independent and intelligent woman – a highly likeable character that readers will want to seek out in future series installments.
I would highly recommend Bloody Royals to anyone looking for a clever crime fiction novel that has readers guessing until the very end.