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The Last Word by Elly Griffiths - Review

Wednesday, January 3, 2024


So this book is the second one to star characters who first appeared in The Postscript Murders which I read back in 2020. In that book Harbinder Kaur was the investigating detective, but she met Edwin and Benedict and Natalka in the course of the investigation into the death of Peggy, who lived in Edwin's sheltered housing and who Natalka was a carer for, and those three are the main characters in this book. Harbinder does feature, but not very much, but still, it was nice to read her cameo!

So Edwin and Natalka are now running a private detective agency. Natalka is still doing care work and her mum Valentyna has moved over from Ukraine to live with her and Benedict. Edwin is eighty something but very sprightly and very sharp. He likes the agency but wishes they had something more interesting to investigate than cheating husbands and such as the like. Benedict still runs the coffee shack on Shoreham sea front but he still does help the agency out if needed. 

Natalka is contacted by a woman called Minnie who thinks that her mother has been killed by her current husband, Alan. Alan is a pharmacist but the death seemed natural enough, but Minnie and her sister Harmony think Alan has killed their mother in order to inherit her house. Melody was a writer. Edwin notices the obituary of a man he vaguely knew, too, who was also a writer. A couple more mysterious deaths come in, and it turns out that all the victims were writers and that some of them had been on a writer's course nearby. Edwin and Benedict go undercover at the retreat and meet some people who may have been involved in the deaths. 

Then one of the other participants on the course is found dead. Basically everyone there, including the tutors, are suspects. Two detectives - one of whom has Harbinder has a bit of a hero of hers - arrive and the detective agency basically get under their feet, but Harbinder encourages them to give Edwin and co some leeway. 

I really liked Edwin in this book, he's sweet and sharp and I liked the way he was thinking throughout. I liked Benedict but was a bit over the whole 'used to be a monk' thing. Natalka was an odder one but I would give her another go. She's struggling as her brother is at war in Ukraine and she's worried for her safety. I did think the ending of the book was a bit too nice, a bit too happy ever after. That does make me think that we won't see these characters again, but honestly I don't know, maybe we will. But in all I liked this book and am giving it four out of five. 

I was provided with an electronic copy of this book for review purposes but was not otherwise compensated for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Quercus Books for providing me with this ebook!

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