The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths
The Postscript Murders, Book 2 in the Harbinder Kaur mystery series, is not only a great whodunit, but the author’s love letter to books.
Harbinder Kaur is an officer with the West Sussex police department, and she’s got a doozy of a murder investigation on her hands. Peggy Smith, an elderly woman with a penchant for thinking up ways to kill people, has been instrumental in helping a number of authors craft unique ways to murder characters in their books. Those authors, grateful for her assistance, have dedicated books to her and thanked her countless times in back-of-the-book acknowledgements.
But now Peggy is dead, and the question is this: was hers a natural death, or was it murder? When her demise is followed rather quickly by the deaths of authors who have used her “murder consultant” services, signs begin to point toward murder.
Harbinder is drawn into the mystery when a trio of Peggy’s friends reach out to her with their suspicions about Peggy’s demise. Natalka, Peggy’s nurse, found Peggy’s body. Her friends Benedict, a former monk who owns a seaside coffee shop, and Edwin, a retired BBC radio presenter who lives in the same sheltered living facility as Peggy, are convinced that Peggy did not die by natural means and they are determined to figure out who killed her and why.
Harbinder Kaur is a fabulous main character. She’s thirty-something, gay (but single), Sikh, and still lives with her parents. She has the complexity to carry a series, and though she was not as major a character in the first book in the series (The Stranger Diaries, see my review here), I hope readers will see more of her as the series progresses.
The story is told from the point of view of Harbinder and her three new friends, all of whom fancy themselves amateur sleuths and have backstories of their own which unfold gradually throughout the book. The relationships among all the characters are compelling and intricate, and I enjoyed getting to know each of them.
I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but I delighted at the literary festival in Aberdeen, the friends’ stay at a safe house, Harbinder’s partner (and the hilarious ways he is described), and the easy pace of the plot. There are plenty of juicy turns, and I loved the conclusion, which came as a series of shocking twists at the very end of the book. Each and every thread in the story is tied up neatly, and left me eager for the next book in the series.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a great crime mystery, a book about books, and a companionable group of friends who team up to solve a puzzle.