“The death of a ninety-year-old woman with a heart condition should not be suspicious. Detective Sergeant Harbinder Kaur certainly sees nothing out of the ordinary when Peggy Smith’s caretaker, Natalka, begins to recount Peggy’s passing. But Natalka has a reason to be at the police station: while clearing out Peggy’s flat, she noticed an unusual number of crime novels, all dedicated to Peggy. And each psychological thriller included a mysterious postscript: PS: for PS. When a gunman breaks into the flat to steal a book and its author is found dead shortly thereafter, Detective Kaur begins to think that perhaps there is no such thing as an unsuspicious death after all. And then things escalate: from an Aberdeen literary festival to the streets of Edinburg, writers are being targeted. DS Kaur embarks on a road trip across Europe and reckons with how exactly authors can think up such realistic crimes…”
-Synopsis from inside front cover
The Postscript Murders is book two in the Harbinder Kaur series by Elly Griffiths. I read book one, The Stranger Diaries earlier this year and loved it. The sequel was a highly anticipated read for me, and I may have built it up a bit too much in my head prior to reading it.
When a carer comes to Harbinder and says that she thinks an elderly woman has been murdered, her suspicions seem a little far-fetched at first. Then as the synopsis mentions, a gunman breaks into the victim’s home and steals a book, indicating to Harbinder that there may be more at play here than she originally thought.
The trio of Edwin, Benedict, and Natalka simultaneously entertained me and got on my nerves; towards the second half of the book, it was more the latter. At first I enjoyed their rotating perspectives each chapter, where we learned about each of their connections to Peggy and also their individual backgrounds. But each chapter seemed to move the story in different directions that were not related, or maybe even relevant, to the crime and investigation.
While their antics did serve to move the plot along at times, what it comes down to is that I wanted to see that coming from Harbinder. I feel bad saying this but I did not like Natalka and found her to be the biggest distraction of all.
The parts with Harbinder were the most enjoyable. She is quick-witted, funny, and very observant. I liked reading about her interviews with the various people in Peggy’s circle. I didn’t think she would get pulled into the trio’s wild adventures but the fact that she did disappointed me a little.
There were three twists at the end that I will admit had me open-mouthed in surprise. Since I love a surprise ending, it really worked for me. However, I still had many unanswered questions about Peggy. The information revealed about her at the end wasn’t enough to satisfy my curiosity and I wish it had been a bigger part of the rest of the story.
I hope to read more of Elly Griffiths’ work next year, and if there are more Harbinder Kaur books I will still plan to read them since I like her character so much.