Better than the Scandi set: Death Can’t Take a Joke

Death Can't Take a JokeDeath Can’t Take a Joke by Anya Lipska

I must confess that I don’t read as much crime as I would like. However, I do have an affinity with the Scandi crime novels and in my opinion I think that both the Kiszka and Kershaw novels I have read easily trump a lot of the bleak noir from the north.

The Second Kiszka and Kershaw novel: When one of his best friends is stabbed to death outside his home, Janusz Kiszka – ‘fixer’ to East London’s Polish community – begins a search to discover who is responsible for the crime. Meanwhile, Natalie Kershaw is trying to discover the identity of a man who jumped to his death from a Canary Wharf office block. Kiszka and Kershaw agree to tolerate each other enough to travel to a remote part of Poland together, each with the hope of solving their crime.

First Impressions: Just as much as a page turner as the first novel in the series. I liked the crimes being solved, particularly the jumper (if you can say that…) and I also liked the fact that some time had passed since the first novel as it feels more realistic. Kiszka and Kershaw really do have their own lives and don’t just keep bumping into each other in ‘here we go again’ scenarios.

Highlights: In addition to the mystery of the Canary Wharf jumper, I loved the bleakness of the trip to Poland, the links to other places beyond the former Iron Curtain and the superb historical context that Lipska has researched. Then again, I am a history buff!

If I was an editor: I would say that I wasn’t too fussed with Kershaw’s boyfriend’s problems but everything else kept rolling along so well it didn’t really bother me if I am being honest. Most importantly, there was a point to this part of the story so it did have to be included.

Overall: I have already pre-ordered book 3 in the series – the first pre-order I have ever made!

Death Can’t Take a Joke: 5 stars

Thank you to Harper Collins (The Friday Project) for a copy of the title to review.

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