The Postscript Murders

In The Postscript Murders, Detective Sergeant Harbinder Kaur of the West Sussex Police is moved to ask someone who's skeptical of the crime novel's literary value, "Don't intelligent people read crime fiction?" It's one of many winking meta moments threaded through Elly Griffiths's witty paragon of the mystery genre.

When care worker Natalka Kolisnyk arrives at the home of client Peggy Smith, she finds the 90-year-old dead in her chair. It's not an extraordinary turn, given Peggy's age, but Natalka is unsettled when she comes across the woman's business card, which reads "murder consultant." While helping Peggy's son pack up his mother's crime novels, Natalka discovers that in a significant number of them Peggy is the dedicatee or mentioned in the acknowledgments. Natalka reports these findings to DS Kaur, along with the fact that Peggy believed she was being watched. Faster than Kaur to accept Natalka's murder diagnosis are a pair of Peggy's friends, and the three become as determined to play detective as they are unqualified to do so.

Griffiths (Now You See Them) splits the narrative duties among The Postscript Murders' four sleuths, including the amusingly sulky Kaur, whose return fans of the Edgar Award-winning The Stranger Diaries will cheer. Various criminal and suspicious developments ultimately lead all investigating parties to a literary festival in Scotland, where the question of whether smart people read crime fiction resurfaces. The answer: they do, but they would have to be of superior intellect to solve Griffiths's unusually clever puzzle. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

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