Harbinder Kaur #2 by: Elly Griffiths
Narrated by: Nina Wadia
Published on: March 2, 2021
Before picking up The Postscript Murders, I had come to the conclusion that it was just not practical or possible for some of the main elements from The Stranger Diaries to carry over. This was mostly true with the story within a story format since the short story, The Stranger, was very unique to Clare, the first book’s main character. The short story not only introduced the gothic atmosphere, but the fictional author as well, both of which had a distinct presence throughout the book.
I mention this in hopes that no one goes in and is immediately disappointed. The Postscript Murders is a terrific murder mystery, but it does not carry over several elements that made The Stranger Diaries unique and memorable. It can be jarring. Once or twice, I thought to myself that it almost felt as if it were written by a different author, or was part of a different series.
As I listened to the story on audio, I realized the tie that binds the two books together isn’t the story within a story format. Instead it is the writing process that is the central theme. In The Postscript Murders, when an elderly woman, Peggy, is found deceased in her flat no one thinks anything of it. What they found unsettling were the books upon books which all had authors acknowledging her. “Thanks for the help Peggy!” or “Couldn’t have done it without you!” Things become even more unsettling when our investigators learn that she was considered to be a ‘Murder Consultant’. This starts a journey where Harbinder learns more about the writing and publishing world than she could possibly have ever wanted to know. It was quite humorous at times when she would ponder over what a book blogger was or a beta reader.
But while there are differences between the two Harbinder stories, there are some similarities. Most importantly – Harbinder is still not the main character. That belongs to Natalka, Peggy’s caregiver, Benedict, who owns a local coffee shop, and Edwin – Peggy’s elderly neighbor. We know they are main characters, because they actually tell us so at the end of the book! When Natalka learns that more than one author received a note saying “We are coming for you”, the three amateur sleuths decide to help Harbinder out and go to a crime writing festival and start asking questions.
I had the pleasure of listening to this on audio. It was wonderful. The narrator, Nina Wadia, did an absolutely fantastic job. In fact, going forward I will be listening to the stories instead of reading them because she was able to give Harbinder and the others personality that I wasn’t able to get from just reading alone. But more importantly, I really enjoyed the mystery and story in general. The characters were quirky, but also fleshed out with stories and issues of their own. Plus, there were lots of red herrings for me to fall trap to.
Rating: 4.5 stars