A high school reunion turns deadly

I’ve been thinking of Bleeding Heart Yard (2022) as the third book in Griffiths’ series featuring Detective Inspector Harbinder Kaur of London CID, following on The Stranger Diaries (in which Kaur has a very small part) and The Postscript Murders (in which she plays second banana to a motley crew of amateur detectives). But the bibliography printed in the back of this book lists the previous two books as standalone novels, making me wonder if Griffiths thinks she’s started a third series or not?

Leaving aside that question for the moment, I’m happy to say that whether it’s a series entry or a standalone, Bleeding Heart Yard more than meets the standard of quality that Griffiths has established in her previous novels. Here, the newly promoted DI Kaur is in charge of a murder squad investigating the murder of a prominent politician at his high school reunion. The case is complicated by the fact that one of Kaur’s most capable officers attended the reunion, so must be recused from investigating the case. And as information leaks out in drips and drabs, she may turn out to be a suspect as well.

Griffiths’ plotting is fine, but it’s her characters who make her books so engaging for me. That’s true of Ruth Galloway and the rest of the characters in that series, and it’s true of Harbinder Kaur as well. She portrays Kaur, a gay first-generation Sikh woman, with sensitivity but also a great deal of humor. She manages to inform her readers about the customs and traditions of the Sikh without ever slipping into sermonizing or pedantry.

Normally, I would give some advice about whether a particular series should be read in order to get the full benefit of the character development. But since I’m not clear about whether this actually is a series, I think it’s safe to jump in here if it sounds appealing without being overly spoiled about previous events. But if you like this one, and I suspect you will, you will want to go back and read the other two at some point. You’ve likely got at least a year to do so before the next standalone/series entry is published.

Published by Julia

I learned to read before I started kindergarten, and I haven't stopped yet.

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