From GoodReads: 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’s caretaker, Natalka, begins to recount Peggy Smith’s passing. But Natalka had 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 Edinburgh, 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…
A couple years back, I read The Stranger Diaries, which led me to Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway series. Griffiths has become one of my favorite authors and I look forward to all her releases. I didn’t expect a sequel(ish) to The Stranger Diaries, though. It was fully standalone, without even any cliffhangers or teasers. And really, this isn’t a sequel. It’s more of a sidestep, with one of the detectives in TSD as one of the main narrators of this book. The odd thing is, as much as I like DS Harbinder Kaur, I barely remember her from the first book. Maybe I’m just mis-remembering the book – it has been a few years – but I thought of her as a very minor character. It felt weird to shift sideways to Kaur as the primary character, with the series named after her.
I think this is why it took me so long to get into the book. I kept wondering if I should go back and revisit TSD, but this new book had literally nothing to do with the former, other than a shared character. And Kaur wasn’t the only narrator. Three others shift around as main narrators/characters, a sort of ragtag bunch that get in the way of solving a series of murders as much as they help to solve them. They were all new, and it took me awhile to warm up to everyone. Once I finally gave myself some dedicated listening time, though, I got swept up pretty quickly.
The best thing about Griffiths’ mysteries is that they are multifaceted and not so easy to solve. I’ve read so many mysteries and thrillers, both adult and YA, that lay down one of two stories: Either there is a set list of killer candidates, and you’re supposed to guess which one is the true killer (each are equally possible), or there are sudden crazy “twists” that you aren’t supposed to see coming (and are often really obvious). Griffiths dives deeper. This book, for instance, goes into the Crimean war, cryptocurrency fraud, book blogging, the horrid working conditions for recent immigrants in Britain, the history of homophobia, Alzheimer’s, and the publishing industry, to name a few. Mistakes are made, accusations proved wrong, and some bits never fully cleared up – just as would happen in real life. This is what I love so much about Griffiths’ mysteries. They have more substance and messiness. It makes me happy to know there will be more forthcoming in the series, even if it took me ages to properly start reading this one!
Performance: The Postscript Murders is narrated by Nina Wadia. It was my first experience with her and I have no real complaints. The only time I struggled was entirely due to my own issues. There’s a particular high-pitched frequency that hurts my ears, and when I tried to listen to this audiobook in the car, many of Wadia’s words would lilt up to that frequency. So I just couldn’t listen in the car. Not her fault. So not the best performance for me personally, purely by circumstance, but Wadia did a good job narrating anyway.