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The Postcript Murders by Elly Griffiths - Review

Sunday, September 20, 2020

I'm thrilled to be reviewing Elly Griffiths' new book, The Postcript Murders. I was granted an electronic copy for review, so thank you very much to Quercus Books for letting me read the book. I was not otherwise compensated for this review, and all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

This book is the second in the Harbinder Kaur series. I reviewed the first, The Stranger Diaries, here on this blog. In it, I said that I thought Elly would write another book starring Harbinder, so I'm pleased to have been proven right. I like Harbinder a lot - she's mid 30s, a detective but not yet a DI, is gay, and lives with her parents. As a dutiful Sikh daughter, she's often left to cook and clean for the family. In this book her mother Bibi has an accident and needs a carer to come in each day - which comes in later. 

So, at the beginning of the book an elderly woman called Peggy Smith is found dead in her sheltered accomadation in Shoreham-by-Sea. She is found by one of her carers, Natalka, a young woman from Ukraine with a bit of a shady past. A heart attack is suspected, and her body is quickly cremated and all seems fine. However, her friend in the accomadation, Edwin, suspects something else has happened, as does Natalka. They learn that Peggy often helped out crime writers in thinking up ways to murder someone, and they learn there might be a clue in an old novel. They enlist the help of their friend Benedict, who owns a coffee shack on the seafront that they both frequent.

Authors including Dex Challoner and J D Monroe have given thanks to Peggy in their novels. Natalka goes to Harbinder with her suspicions over Peggy's death, and Harbinder questions Dex about the old lady. The next morning, Dex is found dead in his house on Millionaire's Row, shot in the head. The police think the two deaths are related.

Natalka, Edwin, and Benedict then all head off to Aberdeen, because J D Monroe and another off Peggy's authors, Lance Foster, are appearing at a literary festival there. Natalka has been followed by two mysterious men, who may be linked to her past. 

I loved the main characters. Natalka remained the most mysterious to me, but I really liked her spirit and the kind of person she was. Edwin used to work for the BBC and is gay, and there's some great storytelling around that. Benedict is an ex-monk and I loved him as a character - he was so interesting. I could have read a whole book about him.

As the book is about books and authors, it gets a bit meta in places. There's a lot of digs at authors and festivals and book bloggers and so on, all of which made it really funny to me. It's quite self-aware in that way which I liked. I raced through it, even though I broke off to read Death Sets Sail. I really hope Harbinder turns up again - and I hope that the friends she made in this book do too. I'm giving this four out of five.

The Postcript Murders will be published on 1st October 2020. 

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