Mrs Queen Takes The Train is the first novel by American biographer, historian, author and self-confessed Anglophile, William Kuhn. Not feeling quite her usual self, The Queen pops down to the Mews to check on Elizabeth, the mare born on her own birthday. Then, in a hoodie borrowed from Rebecca, the young stable lass, she sets off to Paxton and Whitfield to get some of the mare’s favourite cheddar, before heading to King’s Cross station. The Royal Yacht Britannia is moored up in Leith, and she feels maybe a visit to one of her “happy” places might improve her mood. And seeing as that irritating Prime Minister is telling her the Royal Train is too costly to maintain, she’ll take the Great North Eastern Railway to Edinburgh Waverley. When the Palace staff realise she’s missing, their first concern is for her safety. They do, however, want to minimise any sensationalist tabloid headlines, so a loyal young equerry joins forces with a senior butler, a lady in waiting, The Queen’s Dresser, Rebecca from the Mews and budding poet and cheese seller, Etonian Rajiv Laroia, to track her down whilst keeping an aggressive MI5 at bay. Kuhn’s narrative jumps from the present to past events as The Queen reminisces, and as the other major characters are fleshed out. Kuhn touches on some topical subjects: racial prejudice, the relevance of the monarchy, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, ageing, the cost of rail travel, homosexuality in the forces, fox hunting and the cost of maintaining tradition. Yoga, cheddar cheese, a blind couple, an Alsatian named Hohenzollern, a much-pierced youth, Julie Andrews, a social worker, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Shakespeare’s Henry V, a late-night tea van and a Hermes scarf all play a part. This novel has plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, much dry wit and also the odd lump-in-the-throat moment. Kuhn’s characters are easy to like and more than one-dimensional; Kuhn’s version of The Queen is wholly credible. This novel is an absolute pleasure to read, and readers will be hoping for more from Kuhn soon.