This is the third installment of Elly Griffiths' Harbinder Kaur series and I've to admit I'm addicted to this series since book one. While each book can be read as a standalone, I'd recommend reading them in order for the characters developments.
The story begins with Harbinder now serving in the Met as a DI in the Homicide and Serious Crimes Unit and her first case involved a prominent MP who is found dead during a school reunion party at Manor Park School. At first glance, Garfield Rice's death seems likely to link with drug overdose with the syringes found at the crime scene but forensic later claims that this isn't the case.
To complicate matters, Harbinder's subordinate, DS Cassie Fitzgerald, is present at the same reunion party. She and Garfield were schoolmates alongside with a few others who are known as "The group" back during their school days twenty one years ago. While this group of seven members differ in characteristics, status and moral values, they've one secret which they've shared within themselves - the murder of a schoolmate named David Moore and they're all complicit in the crime, though it is also stated early on in the story that Cassie was directly involved. As the story progresses, Harbinder couldn't shun the feelings that these two cases might be related despite the years apart. Is Garfield's death simply a political motive given his upcoming campaign and some enemies he'd met along the way? Or is it Cassie or one of "The group" who wouldn't mind killing again for some reason?
The story was told in three narratives with present and past timeline: Harbinder, Cassie and Anna (one of the group members) and each of their voices add intrigue and depth to the story. Harbinder has become one of my favourite female detectives and I loved her calm, competence and meticulous mind in her investigations. She's family oriented (she's single but she's close with her parents) and I enjoyed reading her relationship with her two flatmates and her two other invaluable subordinates, DS Kim Manning and DS Jake Barker (both whom I hope we'll see more of in this series). Also, the London setting and Bleeding Heart Yard (a courtyard in Holborn. Read more here) add intrigue and atmosphere to the suspense and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. Overall a good read if you love police procedural and a strong female character.
Harbinder Kaur Books in order:
#1 - The Stranger Diaries
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