P.S. It was Murder

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.

Reading Round-Up: December Edition

It’s almost 2021! This is my last reading round-up for 2020, and pretty soon this year will be just a memory. Though 2020 brought lots of changes and more than a few blessings to my family, I know that’s not the case for millions of people all over the world.

Reading has always been a great escape, and my belief is that books have been more important than ever during the past nine tumultuous months. I hope you’ve enjoyed my reviews and that you’ve been inspired to read and review a few books of your own. I look forward to continuing my reviews in 2021 and I hope you’ll join me.

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A Noël Killing (A Provençal Mystery Book 8) by [M. L. Longworth]

The first book I read this month was A Noël Killing by M.L. Longworth. I was looking for a Christmas mystery, and though I hadn’t read the first 7 books in the Provençal Mystery Series, I took a chance on this one. I enjoyed it. It’s a traditional mystery, as opposed to a cozy mystery or a thriller, and the setting in the south of France made it feel exotic. You can read my four-star review here.

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The Getaway: A Magical Christmas Story by [Bibiana Krall]

Next up was The Getaway: A Short Read Christmas Romance by Bibiana Krall. If you know someone with a humbuggy heart this year, give them this book to read. If it doesn’t bring a smile to their face, nothing will. It’s a quick read (as the title suggests), it’s got everything I look for in a Christmas story, and it wraps up with a note from the author that makes the tale even more endearing. Read my review here.

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Two books down, five to go in the Harry Potter series! Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was a great read, and my husband grabbed it up as soon as I finished it. There was really only one thing I didn’t understand in the story, and that was the presence of one particular character. But as I say in my very short review, that really didn’t matter, because the book was a treat to read. Why did I wait so long to start this series?? Read my review here.

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Mistletoe and Mayhem: Yuletide at Castlewood Manor by [Veronica Cline Barton]

Mistletoe and Mayhem: Yuletide at Castlewood Manor, Book 4 in the My American Almost-Royal Cousin Series by Veronica Cline Barton, was a fun Christmas read that I devoured in a few hours. If you are a royal watcher and you like cozy mysteries, this is one for you. Read my review here.

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The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding: A Hercule Poirot Short Story (Hercule Poirot Series Book 33) by [Agatha Christie]

It seems there are two versions of Agatha Christie’s Christmas short story The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, a shorter one and a longer one, and I have to say I don’t know which one I read. Whichever one it was, it was throroughly enjoyable. I love a good Hercule Poirot mystery, and this one was fun. Poirot is hired to (discreetly, as always) spend Christmas at an English manor house where he hopes to recover a ruby that was stolen from a prince who had placed himself in a, ahem, compromising situation. What ensues is a mystery that is finally solved after a key clue is found in the Christmas pudding. Read my review here.

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Menace at the Christmas Market: An English Village Murder Mystery (Murder on Location Book 5) by [Sara Rosett]

Menace at the Christmas Market by Sara Rosett was a great short mystery. Though it’s not the first book in the Murder on Location series, I found that it was easy to follow. I was brought up to speed instantly with the main character and her job as a location scout in England for a Jane Austen documentary series (I want that job!) and her relationship with Alex, another recurring character in the series. This is a quick read that has all the satisfying elements of a longer novel—murder, red herrings, and a great setting. Highly recommend! Read my review here.

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A LITTLE TASTE OF MURDER: A Brightwater Bay Cozy Mystery (book 1) (Brightwater Bay Cozy Mysteries) by [Carolyn L. Dean]

This was the 60th book I read this year, and my goal was to read 59 books. So…mission accomplished! And bonus—it was a great book AND the first in a series! A Little Taste of Murder by Carolyn L. Dean was an intriguing Christmas mystery with a gorgeous setting (the Pacific Northwest), wonderful and well-drawn characters, and some engaging red herrings. I didn’t figure out whodunit, and I love that in a mystery. Read my review here and put this on your TBR list if you love a good cozy!

That’s all, folks! Happy New Year!

Until next time,

Amy