EXCERPT: Natalka turns back to Peggy. She looks at peace, that’s what Patricia will say to Nigel. Passed away peacefully. There’s a book open on the arm of Peggy’s chair. ‘Highrise Murder’ by Dex Challoner. Peggy’s binoculars are on the table beside her. There’s also a pen,completed crossword and a pill dispenser, the sort that has the days of the week on it. There’s something else too, a piece of paper just poking out from under the crossword. Natalka slides it out. It’s a business card, very official, with black, curly writing.
Mrs M. Smith, it says. Murder Consultant
ABOUT ‘THE POSTSCRIPT MURDERS’: PS: thanks for the murders.
The death of a ninety-year-old woman with a heart condition should absolutely not be suspicious. DS Harbinder Kaur certainly sees nothing to concern her in carer Natalka’s account of Peggy Smith’s death.
But when Natalka reveals that Peggy lied about her heart condition and that she had been sure someone was following her…
And that Peggy Smith had been a ‘murder consultant’ who plotted deaths for authors, and knew more about murder than anyone has any right to…
And when clearing out Peggy’s flat ends in Natalka being held at gunpoint by a masked figure…
Well then DS Harbinder Kaur thinks that maybe there is no such thing as an unsuspicious death after all.
MY THOUGHTS: ‘No one knows the hour,not even the angels in heaven, or the Son himself…’ – Matthew 24
There is something almost Christiesque about The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths. It has that feel of a Christie murder-mystery. The slow buildup, rather like a steam train pulling out of the station, the multiple suspects, the red herrings. But Griffiths murders and characters perhaps have a few more teeth than Christie’s, and she is not above a bit of sarcasm, which I enjoy.
Although this is #2 in the Harbinder Kaur series, unusually for a series, the detective is not the focus of the book. The murder/s are firmly front and centre, with an ill assorted cast of amateur detectives playing the major role.
Natalka, carer for Peggy and a few of the other elderly residents of Seaview Manor, a residential care complex, has a past, one that she fears is catching up with her. Benedict, ex-Monk, now barista. He left because he fell out of love with God, although his faith is as strong as ever. And Edwin, in his eighties, ex BBC and a gentleman to the core, gay, and very observant. Convinced that Peggy’s death was not natural, and that the police aren’t taking it seriously enough, these three set out to investigate on their own. Although they do DS (who would love to be DI) Harbinder Kaur the courtesy of keeping in touch by text.
DS Kaur, who is almost 40 and still lives at home with her parents, is in turn frustrated and impressed by the skills and dedication of this group. Kaur is also gay, still hiding it from her parents, and disappointingly single. She has a nice line in sarcasm, and often thinks of her partner, Neil, as a little woodland animal, a cute squirrel who often nibbles at nuts somewhat larger than he is. Neil himself would have preferred to live in the times where detectives trampled all over the crime scene, pausing only to beat up suspects and drink beer, rather than having to worry about all the intricacies of forensics.
Although this series is immensely different to Elly Griffiths Ruth Galloway series, she still holds me spellbound with her use of words, both in her character and scenery descriptions, and her setting of atmosphere . . . ‘…the spaces beneath them. Old mining tunnels. Caverns measureless to man. Death and dread.’ and ‘ghost cottages with the gardens still in flower.’
I loved The Postscript Murders. I loved the characters. I loved the plot with its red herrings and twists. I loved the solution. It was something that I had not even considered! An altogether wonderful read.
‘It’s such a civilised world; books, libraries, tea and cake.’
THE AUTHOR: Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway novels take for their inspiration Elly’s husband, who gave up a city job to train as an archaeologist, and her aunt who lives on the Norfolk coast and who filled her niece’s head with the myths and legends of that area. Elly has two children and lives near Brighton.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Quercus via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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