On the Bookshelf...

Bleeding Heart Yard

Elly Griffiths

DS Cassie Fitzgerald has a secret - but it's one she's deleted from her memory. In the 1990s when she was at school, she and her friends killed a fellow pupil. Thirty years later, Cassie is happily married and loves her job as a police officer. One day her husband persuades her to go to a school reunion and another ex-pupil, Garfield Rice, is found dead, supposedly from a drug overdose. As Garfield was an eminent MP and the investigation is high profile, it's headed by Cassie's new boss, DI Harbinder Kaur. The trouble is, Cassie can't shake the feeling that one of her old friends has killed again. Is Cassie right, or was Garfield murdered by one of his political cronies? It's in Cassie's interest to skew the investigation so that it looks like the latter and she seems to be succeeding. Until someone else is killed...

We're really lucky in the crime/mystery genre to be blessed with so many great writers. Liz Mistry, Peter James, MW Craven to name just a few of the greats. Then there's Elly Griffiths. More known for her Ruth Galloway and Brighton Murders series, she's also blessed us with another series, the Harbinder Kauf crime series. I remember reading the first one, The Stranger Diaries. It was brilliant. It was the Christmas book I bought everyone I knew. Now it's a series, and we're on the third instalment of a series I hope goes as far as Ruth Galloway.

Bleeding Heart Yard starts with Harbinder moving to London and the Met police. She must make new friends, forge a new team of detectives, as well as remember her family. Straight away she's into a murder. One of her detectives is at the scene when it happens. A school library, scene of the 21st anniversary of the class of students. The victim is a controversial Tory MP, found in the bathroom with cocaine on his nose. Is it a simple overdose or is it a murder? Harbinder and her team must find out as time ticks down.

The book starts with a murder confession, but as is always the case this might be a gigantic swerve ball or perhaps it's true? The book is told by many characters from the story. This way you get their points of view and their inner thoughts. It's a wonderful way to tell this tale of rivalry between former students. Sometimes it can be confusing, but in this case the author has excelled herself. The story flows with no lull in the middle. In some ways it's a closed room mystery as you know all the suspects, yet is it ?

I'm used to Elly Griffith's style of writing through her previous works, yet this book seems different from the rest. Don't get me wrong, it's good, but it seems Elly has adopted a fresh style of writing. It works really well. I loved the hesitation in Harbinder's character, the doubt in Cassies mind. A group of former friends thrown together, and what a stellar group it is. A BAFTA winning actress, a pop star (I had him pegged as Chris Martin of Coldplay), two MP's, the headmistress of their former school, a police officer, and a teacher. The story unfurls before your eyes and hits a frenetic finale.

A five star book and Elly Griffiths go together. Yep she's managed it again.

Thanks to Netgallery and Quercus books for the advance eARC of Bleeding Heart Yard in exchange for an unbiased review.

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Review by
AJ Steel
April 14, 2023

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