MYSTERY

The Postscript Murders

Houghton Harcourt. Mar. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9780358418610. $25. M
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When 90-year-old Peggy Smith dies in Shoreham, England, it’s considered a natural death. Her Ukrainian caretaker, Natalka, believes it was too sudden, and she takes her suspicions to Detective Sergeant Harbinder Kaur. Natalka finds all kinds of mystery novels dedicated to Peggy, aka “PS,” along with a business card that says “Mrs. M. Smith, Murder Consultant.” DS Kaur thinks there might be something to it when Natalka and one of Peggy’s neighbors, Edwin, encounter a gunman who steals a book from Peggy’s collection. Next, Edwin finds a postcard: “We are coming for you.” When the trio, now joined by former monk Benedict, realize other authors have received the postcard, it’s time to investigate. Then another author, the most famous writer to thank Peggy, is murdered. Harbinder likes the small group of amateurs, but she’s appalled when they head to Scotland, chasing authors to a literary festival.
VERDICT Readers of Griffiths’s Edgar Award–winning The Stranger Diaries, or her “Ruth Galloway” mysteries, will welcome this book with a diverse cast of well-developed characters. However, the story drags at times. Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club is a stronger pick for those looking for unusual amateur sleuths.

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