Elly Griffiths: The Last Word

Harbinder Kaur #4

There is really nothing better than a great cast of characters, and Elly Griffiths always delivers one. In the fourth instalment of her Harbinder Kaur series, The Last Word, Griffiths revisits one of my all time favorite casts in Benedict, Natalka, and Edwin. The trio has been living happily in Shoreham since we last saw them, and Natalka and Edwin have even started their own PI business, while Benedict continues to run his coffee shop, the Shack. Their PI firm generally deals with cheating spouses, but both are excited when a murder accusation falls into their lap.

The clients, a pair of sisters named Harmony and Minnie, are convinced their recently deceased mother was actually murdered by their stepfather, Alan. Of course, said stepfather also inherited his wife’s house, and the sisters are less than pleased about it. Though neither investigator believes that Alan is a murderer, and they aren’t even sure that Melody was killed at all, they’re excited for a new case. It isn’t too long before Benedict is pulled in, too, as he and Edwin go undercover.

Delightfully, they go undercover as writers to a retreat in the beautiful countryside. Not only did Melody attend in the past, but so did their second client, Benedict’s friend Richard. Richard knew someone who died recently, too: Don Parsons, who wrote for years as Donna Parsons. Naturally, he also attended the writer’s retreat. As things unfold, there are more and more paths that lead back to the writer’s group. Edwin and Benedict find themselves having a good time on the retreat and getting to know their fellow writers. However, the case quickly turns out to be more than they’d planned. Things turn south at their peaceful getaway, and it seems like, maybe, someone has been murdered after all.

 The Last Word is simply a lot of fun from start to finish. Ukrainian Natalka adds some somber notes, as current events do make an appearance, and her brother is overseas fighting. However, her mother is now living with her and Benedict, providing support to both as they investigate what may have happened to Melody. Long time fans of Griffiths will not be disappointed, and new readers can absolutely start here and get a good mystery with a blast of a cast. – Margaret Agnew