There are few things more intriguing than a closed door—especially one that guards a world shrouded in secrecy. Buckingham Palace is such a place. I’ve never been inside those walls, never walked in the footsteps of monarchs and courtiers. And yet, reading TP Fielden’s Stealing the Crown, I felt instantly transported there, to Buckingham Palace in 1941. While a tourist might want to bask in history or take in the sights, however, in Fielden’s world, Buckingham Palace is also the location of a murder.
The royal court is thrown into disarray when Major Edgar Brampton is found dead in his palace office. Palace courtier Guy Harford knows something strange is afoot. The body is quickly hurried away, and the staff are ordered not to say a word. Downstairs, his colleagues whisper rumors of foul play, while upstairs courtiers continue to curry favor with the King and Queen, pretending that the terrible incident never even happened.
Blood stains the royal carpets, and Harford is asked to brush the incident under the rug. But the farther his investigation goes, the deeper into dangerous territory Harford travels to discover why someone would kill Brampton.
With such well-drawn characters I was swept up in Fielden’s intricate world, and the glimpse it offered of court life was so convincing that I almost felt as if I were watching from behind a curtain in the palace itself.
— Jack Butler, Senior Editor