Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn

Queen Elizabeth II is feeling a bit mopey, so she decides to go visit the royal yacht at its new home in Edinburgh. This is all fine and dandy, but she does not tell anyone that she is leaving, and her sudden disappearance causes a panic amongst her attendants. Desperate to avoid a scandal, various members of the palace staff join forces to determine the Queen’s whereabouts and bring her back to safety before her absence is discovered by anyone else.

This book is strange. Don’t get me wrong – it is certainly entertaining to imagine England’s monarch using Twitter and attending yoga class – it just feel uncomfortable since the woman is alive, and probably not perfecting her chair pose.

Sometimes, Kuhn wants his novel to be a somewhat political biopic along the lines of 2006’s The Queen. Kuhn discusses the impact of the Diana scandal, the Queen’s relationship with the Prime Minister, and the questionable role of an archaic monarchy in modern times. However, the rest of the time, Kuhn’s story more closely resembles that of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. I am pretty sure that Abraham Lincoln did not spend his free time slaying the undead. Similarly, I sincerely doubt that the Queen would ever just slip out of Buckingham palace and be on her merry way. My point is that with this sort of endeavor, an author’s safest bet is to choose a primary genre for the book, and then carefully incorporate elements of the secondary style. Mrs. Queen Takes the Train is evenly split between sobriety and comedy, which makes it simply a mediocre noel. Had Kuhn firmly chosen one of those two very different realms, I suspect this would have been a more favorable review.


One thought on “Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn”

  1. Dear Dana,

    Thank you for posting about my book. It’s always interesting to read the criticism of people who take the trouble to read and write about it. So I appreciate your review.



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