Published by Quercus,
1st October 2022.
ISBN: 978-1-52940-995-6 (HB)
Harbinder Kaur has joined the Met. After solving a couple of tricky cases as a detective sergeant in her hometown on the south coast, she has earned herself a new rank, a new job, a new office and a new flat. A whole new life, in fact, and she’s determined to enjoy it. She’s discovered she likes having an office big enough to pace around in. She quite likes being a Londoner, sharing a flat with a teacher and an architect. And she really likes being called boss. Even better, ma’am.
She hasn’t been in London long when she’s plunged into the deep end: the unexplained death of a prominent MP at a school reunion. Twenty years ago in the sixth form, he was part of an elite crowd called The Group – and so, it turns out, was one of the detective sergeants in her team.
Every former member of The Group is at the reunion, and they all have their own story to tell, including a version of a tragedy that happened twenty years ago, when a fellow pupil was lured to a disused Tube station and fell (or was he pushed?) under a train. Cassie, the DS, is still haunted by her own part in the incident. Gary, the dead man, saw what happened. Izzy, now a glamorous actress, wasn’t there, but was still affected. Anna, back for the reunion from her home in Italy, worries that she can’t remember what happened. Henry, also an MP, and Chris, now a famous pop star, remember all too well. And Harbinder has to untangle all the complex relationships and decide if the earlier incident and Gary’s murder at the reunion are connected.
And then there’s another murder.
Elly Griffiths’s newest protagonist is shaping up to be as interesting as Ruth Galloway, her best known one. Harbinder is not only Sikh, she’s lesbian as well, so part of two minorities in the Met. Her large, noisy family and eccentric friends back in Shoreham-on-Sea, are less in evidence here than in her previous two cases; instead, there’s a whole new family of detectives: Jake the self-important northerner, Kim the cheerful, friendly Cockney, Tory the wide-eyed Sloane, and of course Cassie, who is sure she’s in trouble.
London, too, comes to life as vividly as Norfolk’s bleak landscape and 1960s Brighton in Griffiths’s other two series. There are scaffolding-clad buildings, run-down streets cheek by jowl with affluence, and always too much traffic; even the arctic bathroom which flat-sharers the country over will recognize.
If there’s any justice – and
there usually is in crime fiction – Harbinder Kaur is set fair to feature in a
series which will run and run and gather even more fans for Elly Griffiths. I
for one can’t wait to see what she does next.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives in Oxfordshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.