I would have loved to have seen more of Peggy…
The Postscript Murders is the second in Elly Griffiths’ new series with Detective Sergeant Harbinder Kaur as the protagonist – although in this enjoyable read, the focus is actually just as much on an unlikely trio of amateur sleuths as it is on DS Kaur. As the story opens, “murder consultant” Peggy Smith dies, and frankly, no one gets too excited when an elderly lady dies of what seem to be natural causes. No one, that is, except her Ukrainian caregiver, Natalka, who thinks the death seems suspicious. And although Natalka tries to get the police interested in Peggy’s death, at first the only people she can convince are her friend Benedict, an ex-monk who is now running a coffee shop; and Edwin, an elderly friend of Peggy’s. Soon however, a mysterious gunman makes an appearance, another death (this one definitely murder) occurs, and all of the sudden DS Kaur is interested after all.
The rest of the story is a nice blend of a cozy for the trio, complete with a trip to a book festival in Aberdeen; and a police procedural for DS Kaur, who gets a trip to Aberdeen too. Author Griffiths has set The Postscript Murders in the world of mystery writing/publishing, which provides some fun shout-outs about real authors and books, but includes a made-up author too. (I had to google the made-up author, just to verify that she was, in fact, made-up…) After some nice twists and turns, and a couple of moments of suspense, all the murders are wrapped up, and some progress has been made on a couple of personal fronts as well.
Griffiths’ writing is crisp and bits of sly humor peek through to lighten things up. I had more than a couple out-loud chuckles that prompted quizzical looks from my husband. My biggest regret about The Postscript Murders is that I would have liked to see more of Peggy Smith, who was quite an engaging character, even in death. Perhaps someday Griffiths can write a prequel… My only other small issue with The Postscript Murders is that it is written in the present tense, which is not my favorite style for a murder mystery. But Griffiths does it well, and after a while, I quit noticing. Please note that I don’t give many 5-star ratings (maybe one in thirty or forty books that I read), so a 4-star rating from me is a solid “read” recommendation. I haven’t read the first book in the series, but enjoyed this one enough to now go back and do so. I’ll be looking out for the next one too. And my thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the advance review copy.