Author: Elly Griffiths
Publication: Houghton Mifflin, hardcover, 2022
Setting: Present-day LondonDescription: Harbinder Kaur, now a Detective Inspector for the CID, newly arrived in London and sharing a flat with two strangers, is ready for her first big homicide case. One of her officers, Cassie Fitzherbert, is at a reunion for her secondary school, Manor Park, when one of her former friends, an MP, is found dead of an apparent overdose. As this death is labeled a murder, Cassie begins to wonder if it is related to a horrific incident from her teen years and whether her group of friends – or she – is in danger. It is up to Harbinder to lead the investigation as she also navigates her new job and first experience of London as a resident.
My Impression: Griffiths is best known for her series about archeologist Ruth Galloway and a historical series set in Brighton. The Stranger Diaries was the first book featuring Harbinder Kaur and was a modern gothic, almost an homage to that genre of literature. I suspect it was planned as a standalone and the author (and readers) really enjoyed her heroine, who is a gay detective from a traditional Sikh family, and she decided to turn it into a series. Harbinder’s sense of humor and ironic response to the world around her is what really makes this series work.
The first two books were extremely different from each other. As I mentioned, the first one was a bit over the top but enjoyable and the second was more traditional – Harbinder was investigating the death of an elderly murder consultant and the deceased’s octogenarian friends wind up assisting in the investigation. Those who have enjoyed the Richard Osman books will like this even if they did not read the first book. Harbinder was living with her parents in the previous books but by moving her to London, Griffiths is able to surround her with a quirky team of detectives, a possible romantic interest and, for readers who do not know London well, it is entertaining to observe Harbinder’s reactions as a newcomer to the city.
To her non-so-secret delight she’s in charge of a Murder Investigation Team (MIT) based in West Kensington, W10, an area mysteriously called Dalgarno. She still can’t quite believe the speed with which all this happened. One minute she was living with her parents in Shoreham, West Sussex, complaining about work and her colleagues, especially Neil, watching reruns of Bones ever night and playing games on her phone. The next, she had passed her detective exam, applied for a new job, piled her few belongings into Neil’s brother’s van, and moved into the front bedroom of No 45 Barlby Road.As always, there are plenty of intriguing secondary characters and an annoying use of the present tense (Griffiths’ one flaw).Source: Library. This is my twenty-second book for Carol's 2022 Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge.
Off the Blog: The Prince and Princess of Wales are visiting Boston to present the Earthshot Prize on Friday night and visited Boston City Hall last night. My office is not in City Hall but I scheduled a meeting there in the afternoon so I would be conveniently located for the outdoor event they did with Mayor Wu and Governor-Elect Maura Healey. It was raining hard by the time the Royals appeared but it was great fun to see them close up. After the event at City Hall, they attended a Celtics game and had so much fun they stayed for the entire game, so my niece and brother-in-law got to see them.
They look very serious in these photos because most of the discussion was about climate change or about how honored we were to have them visit Boston! They did smile and wave at the end. The Princess did not speak - a pity she couldn't simply say, "I am delighted to be here," so we could hear her voice.
|Governor-Elect Maura Healey in blue|
|The Prince of Wales flatteringly explained |
why Boston was chosen for the visit