The Dead Queen Detectives is a comic about some of the UK‘s most famous dead queens solving various mysteries from the afterlife, or at least attempting to. The comic is both written and drawn by Bevis Musson. From the name alone, I expected the comic to be a thrilling epic featuring dead queens finding out the secrets of their own lives long after their death. However, the comic has a fairly young reading level and consists of an anthology of quick stories that are more fitting for bedtime than an epic of history.
It features full-page pin-ups for children (and adults) of all ages that are meant to be potentially be colored. The comic heavily relies on humor to tell one-off stories featuring various figures throughout history. The first volume specifically features United Kingdom royalty: Queen Elizabeth, Queen Anne, Queen Victoria, and Queen Mary. While the following volumes feature queens from other countries. Musson’s British roots are showcased in the book through his dry humor and various historical jokes shared between the women.
There are comedic references to Queen Mary’s burning of the Protestants, a reference that will more than likely go over children’s heads, and Queen Elizabeth’s bizarre skin routine. I actually enjoyed the volumes with the international queens including Marie-Antoinette and Hatshepsut more than the volumes featuring just the UK queens.
The art and lettering in this book are reminiscent of the Sunday morning funny pages. It is very cartoony with old school oversized word bubbles. While the comic is in black and white it can double as a coloring book which is a great feature considering its young reading level. The comic is fairly wordy and does feature a lot of long dialogue moments outside of the panels.
Overall, I wanted to like this book more than I did. The concept is exceptionally fun and I love the idea of these women working together in the afterlife. The crimes they solve are silly. The first story finds the queens hunting down whoever is eating all of the cookies. While the book is cute, for me, it is too childish. It does not offer enough story-wise to keep me entertained. However, I do think young children could find it very entertaining.
If you are looking for some strong female role models and a lighter, more childlike read, The Dead Queen Detectives may be for you. Currently, you can pick up the PDF copy of the comic through Musson’s online site as well as the Coloring Book which also doubles as volume four.
Overall, I wanted to like this book more than I did. The concept is exceptionally fun and I love the idea of these women working together in the afterlife. However, if you are looking for some strong female role models and a lighter, more childlike read, The Dead Queen Detectives may be for you.